Zach Dulla

Zach Dulla

Director of Digital Strategy

When you bring up LinkedIn ads to most in the marketing industry, the usual response you hear is “aren’t they really expensive?” 

Yes they’re expensive… But they should be! Where else can you pinpoint your ads to an exact list of companies? Where else can you lock in on c-level execs within an industry and city? 

LinkedIn is harvesting a gold mine of advertising information… Most businesses just aren’t sure how to use it.

When you create a personal LinkedIn profile, you essentially build an online resume. You type in where you went to college, what you studied, your job experience, how long you worked there, what your title was… Then you move into skills and say if you’re proficient in “event management”, “Adobe Photoshop”, or maybe something like “gift baskets”. Then you join member groups related to your industry… follow companies of similar interest… and go on with your scrolling life.

All of this information can now be combined into a LinkedIn Audience that companies can use to target you on the platform. Possibly a business out there wants to reach Chicagoland C.E.O’s/Presidents working in the Finance industry who are skilled in “Gift Baskets”… (I don’t know… You get the point! 😂)

Last month, I had the pleasure of listening to one of the best in the game, AJ Wilcox at Social Media Marketing World 2019. AJ has spent over $110 million in LinkedIn Ads and in his presentation he highlighted each available ad placement on the platform and their pros/cons. He was highest on the in-feed sponsored content and noted that when running this placement, he looks for a .4% click-through rate (CTR) and at least a 12% conversion rate as signals on whether to refresh creative or not. AJ said to stay as far away as possible from those dynamic spotlight ads due to high cost per clicks and high CPMs.

In the past year, LinkedIn was the #3 platform in spend for Doola (Behind Facebook/Instagram and just ahead of YouTube). We ran a variety of campaign objectives in 9 different industries and saw great success in some cases and a flop or two in others.

Most of our wins on LinkedIn have come from leveraging in-platform Lead Generation forms. Here’s a few examples of strategies we’ve deployed… 

💻 Webinars: Build a webinar attendee list without ever leaving LinkedIn. Lead Gen Ads can integrate into most webinar platforms (i.e. GoToWebinar) so consumers can sign up directly from the ad. The lead forms auto-populate the user’s contact information so it only takes a few clicks to be registered into the webinar. We target these ads to employees of certain companies, people with relevant skills, job titles, etc.

💵 B2B Sales: Taking advantage of LinkedIn’s targeting is an intelligent way to build a lead list for B2B sales. We use Lead Gen ads to offer relevant incentives or value-driven content (like an E-Book or Guide) in return for lead information. LinkedIn forms can integrate to flow directly into a CRM like Salesforce, into a sales rep’s Google Sheets document, and into an automated email follow up funnel.

🎯 Client Awareness: Use LinkedIn ads to strategically stay in front of past clients, contractors, and customers. By locking in on specific companies and job titles, we put company updates, industry news, and positive brand messaging in front of the right faces on LinkedIn. You can get very creative here with the messaging, timing (think holidays), and overall approach when knowing you’re only reaching a familiar audience.

👨🏽‍💼 Sneaky Recruiting: Target your competitors by company name and put powerful recruitment messages in front of their employees. (you didn’t hear it from me 🤭)

🍸 Corporate Events: I love this example because I think it forecasts how different industries can start to use LinkedIn with creative strategy angles… Last November, we worked with a restaurant group to drive corporate holiday party bookings through LinkedIn ads. With a few combinations of job title/industry/skill targeting, we were able to lock in on the “party planners” within Chicagoland companies of 10-1000 employees. The ads offered a free appetizer incentive and the forms were set up to automatically email and text lead information to the sales team anytime the offer was claimed. 

While these were all examples of the Sponsored Content placement, I get asked a lot about LinkedIn InMail Campaigns and how they fit in. The biggest downfall to this placement is that you’re charged on a pay-per-send basis as opposed to an impression or open basis. AJ Wilcox pointed out that he sees pay-per-sends range between $0.35-$0.85 and is looking for around a 50% open rate. When designing the InMail message, you can add a call-to-action button that links to a lead gen form or to a link on your website. AJ said the industry needs to expect $12-$22 cost per clicks and a 0.3% click thru rate with InMail campaigns (crazy right?), however, these campaigns can result in some of the highest quality leads to come off the platform. 

Alike 6 of the 7 Core Social Platforms, LinkedIn offers the ability to upload your email list and target sponsored content or InMail specifically to your past customers (LinkedIn calls them Matched Audiences). At the very least, I would recommend every business to go and upload their list to get a corresponding match % of emails to LinkedIn profiles. This will give you an idea of how many of your current customer base is reachable on the platform!

To wrap this up, LinkedIn has made tremendous moves in the advertising game within just this past year. Whether it’s to recruit, develop leads, or stay on top of the right minds, every business should be thinking of how they can start to leverage LinkedIn’s gold mine of information.

Thanks for reading! 

P.S. LinkedIn doesn’t let you use emojis when running ads! I know, right? 😔😥😭

For more information on LinkedIn Ads, visit or contact me directly at

Zach Dulla | Director of Digital Strategy @ Doola