What are LinkedIn Conversation Ads and Why Should I Use Them?

Mobile messaging apps saw a surge during the 2010s and the 2020s look no different. With more than 3 billion users as of 2022, mobile messaging applications are used by many people as their main source of communication. In March 2020, LinkedIn introduced a feature called “LinkedIn Conversation Ads.”

This paid-for service allows businesses and brands to take advantage of the popular direct messaging of LinkedIn and use it to create new leads.

In this article, we’ll be taking a look at what Conversation Ads are, how they work, how they’d benefit you and your business, and how you can maximize their features to boost lead generation and conversion rates.

What are LinkedIn conversation ads?

Over the years, LinkedIn has tried their hands at expanding avenues in which businesses can use the platform to monetize their brands. Similar to Facebook’s Messenger Ads, LinkedIn’s Conversation Ads allows a brand to send customized ads to people on their connected accounts list.

This paid-for service is something you might have come across before, especially if you use LinkedIn a lot.

These messages will appear with a “sponsored” badge, but look organic nonetheless.

These Conversation Ads are not the same as LinkedIn InMail, which is a premium subscription, where businesses can contact a person on LinkedIn without them being connected at all.

Tell me the purpose of LinkedIn conversation ads?

A lot of businesses have turned to selling products online over the last couple of years, many finding a lot of success on the internet.

Featured Image for: What are LinkedIn Conversation Ads and Why Should I Use Them?

It can be difficult to start selling online, with many shops competing for the same customers. Using LinkedIn conversation ads might just give you the edge over your competitors.

LinkedIn Conversation Ads allows the brand or business to curate their messages in a way that creates multiple branching conversations, similar to a choose-your-own-adventure from the 80s.

In practice it allows you to select multiple objectives, allowing you to get the most out of the ad.

UPDATE: Our new favorite freelancing tool, Hectic is now completely FREE. 🎉 Proposals, CRM, invoicing, calendar, client portal, and lots more. Join for FREE with no catch or hidden fees.

It’s also great for the participants since these ads happen in real-time. This sort of engagement helps create stronger leads and yields higher conversion rates.

The way the participant answers will determine what the next part of the ad is. If they’re not interested in purchasing a product, it might still be worth it to get them to subscribe to a newsletter.

Not only that, but if you keep track of the conversations, you can analyze users’ answers, and how they interact with the ad, and customize it to suit them even better next time.

LinkedIn already has a large amount of personal information stored on it like a person’s skills, working history, and even interests. Combine all of that with the information from LinkedIn Conversation Ads, and you’ve got yourself a large set of analytics to work from.

LinkedIn does use that data to your benefit, combining it all to create an excellent data targeting system that will help you get the right ads to the right people.

Setting up LinkedIn Conversation Ads

Unfortunately, you cannot run any Conversation Ads in combination with any other LinkedIn ads. So, you’ll have to create a separate campaign for each Conversation Ad you want to run.

To create a Conversation Ad, simply create a new campaign, and select Conversation Ad in the format selector.

Conversation ads can then be set to do a variety of objectives, whether it is to use Lead generation forms to create more leads, or to send users to a website URL for more website conversions. It all depends on what you’re selling, and how you plan on selling it! Linkedin conversation ads

How can I customize LinkedIn Conversation ads?

There is a decent amount of ad customization built into Conversation ads. Each one of these parts of the ad can be customized to help refine your ad to suit the tastes and expectations of your audience.

  • Buttons – Conversation Ads provide buttons for users to choose from. The main form of engagement comes through these buttons. A button can be customized to open a form, open a URL or even send another message.
  • Sender – A sender is a user profile that you create specifically for the ad. This unique user profile is what the reader will see when they get the message. Testing out different sender profiles to find the one with the highest conversion rate or lead generation should be of high priority.

When it comes to senders, the most successful profiles are usually those of high-level employees like executives. Users tend to trust profiles from these employees more than those that are in lower positions within the company.

The high customizability of buttons, allows you to create a user experience that always leads somewhere and can fit within your marketing strategy.

For optimal use of LinkedIn Conversation Ads, you should create two funnels within the ad. Firstly, there should be a funnel that leads to a call-to-action for users that are ready to take action. This could range from signing up for a subscription, purchasing a product, joining your newsletter, or following a social media page or event.

Secondly, another funnel should be set up for users who might not be interested in what you are selling now, or feel like they might need more information. This funnel should lead the user down slowly, offering up more information for a deeper form of engagement.

Limitations of LinkedIn Conversation Ads

There are limitations to Conversation ads, similar to the limitations found on other messaging platforms and Sponsored Content Ads.

You are not allowed to isolate single individuals for your ads, due to privacy laws.

Another difference is how LinkedIn charges you for the Conversation Ads. LinkedIn charges you for every message sent, which means as your ad gets sent to more users, the more your ad will cost.

This can make it difficult to create an ad that is wide and not as specific since you’ll be paying a lot more for an ad that might have fewer conversions. This means if you do decide to use LinkedIn Conversation Ads, you will have to create a well-thought-out strategy and target audience since every ad that goes out, you’re paying for.

Top tips and practices for using conversation ads on LinkedIn

Tip 1: Never use the brand or company as the sender. Instead use a real person at the company, preferably someone in a high position like an executive. People generally trust real people more, especially those in a higher position. Do take note of who your key audience is though. Also make sure that the profile of the person looks professional, with a good picture and a well-written profile. The picture will be the first thing users see, and first impressions are everything.

Tip 2: Write an engaging opening message. Just like the profile picture, the first thing users will read will be the reason they either continue or discard the message. The first message users read will also set the tone for the rest of the experience. Make sure to keep your tone the same throughout. Make sure the user knows what company or brand you represent, as well as state the intent of the message. Stating the purpose of the message within the first sentence or so should allow those who aren’t interested at all to exit, without wasting their time. It also allows your customized pathways to be more efficient since they will be read by users who show interest.

Tip 3: Don’t forget to keep optimizing your ad messages. Getting the right tone can be difficult, but having a tone that matches your audience will only help generate more leads and conversions. Most ads do well when kept friendly, and interactive. It should feel like a real person is writing these messages, instead of a computer. Also, make use of macros to make messages more personalized. Lastly, don’t forget to use call-to-action buttons where necessary.

Tip 4: CTAs should be used strategically. With the high customization present, don’t repeat the same buttons over and over again. If you have plenty of options for your user to choose from, keep them diverse, but also don’t offer so much it confuses or overwhelms your audience. Another thing to never add is a negative call to action. Avoid adding buttons like “not interested” in your Conversation Ad. This kind of button will only give users who aren’t interested a quick exit from your ad. Instead, users who aren’t interested should be provided other options.

Tip 5: Don’t forget banner images. A banner image can only be seen by desktop users, but it’s still a great way to keep the business on the user’s mind as they’re navigating the ad.

Conversation Ad Macros: Customize Your Messages Based on Audience Information

As we’ve mentioned above, you can do a lot of customization to your ad. One of the most important customizations to add is macros.

Macro rules are added to make ads more personal. These short pieces of code can be added so that a user’s name can be added to the message, or call out their job title or company name.

To do this, short snippet codes like %FIRSTNAME% or JOBTITLE% can be added to your message.

Your ads will customize the text in real-time for the user.

Here’s an example:

“Salutations, %FIRSTNAME%.

There has never been a better time, as a %JOBTITLE% you know how hard it can be…”

or,

“Hi %FIRSTNAME% %LAST NAME%,

As %JOBTITLE% at %COMPANYNAME%, you know that customer service is everything…”

LinkedIn even offers a default set of messages, in case a user on LinkedIn does not have that information in their profile.

Customizing your ads with these personal touches is important for improving your user engagement. LinkedIn has shown that just adding a “job title” macro can increase the open rate of your ad by 48%. Adding the company’s name increased CTR by 21%.

Examples of LinkedIn Conversation Ads

Companies have been using Conversation Ads for a while now, and some have perfected the art of Conversation Ads. Here are 3 excellent examples of Conversation Ads!

#1 J.P. and Morgan

J.P. and Morgan has a simple, effective conversation ad that showcases a real-life example to entice users to click and read further.

Apart from that, the simple, yet effective design and image are part of this excellent design and flow.

#2 Zapier

Zapier makes use of LinkedIn’s lead gen forms which are paid ads that prefills a form with existing data from the user viewing the ad.

It’s a great way to get users’ emails, but difficult to convince them at first.

Your ad needs to promise something good in return for a user’s email, although they might already be more willing since it is prefilled. In this case, Zapier is promising a deal of a lifetime when allowing them this information through the ad.

#3 LaunchDarkly

LaunchDarkly uses its sales representative’s LinkedIn profile. It has a professional photograph attached, giving the ad a more personal feel. To add to that it also addresses the user by their name.

They also promise interested users a $50 DoorDash gift card. Who doesn’t love free stuff?

Let’s get messaging

Using LinkedIn Conversation Ads can help you build a large number of new leads. If customized correctly, you’ll also see a larger percentage of those leads actually convert.

LinkedIn Conversation Ads should not be overlooked, although they can be more expensive than other Sponsored Ads, the customization and macro rules allow you to truly make the ads feel like a personalized experience for the user. There’s never been a better time to get advertising on Conversation Ads.

Keep the conversation going...

Over 10,000 of us are having daily conversations over in our free Facebook group and we'd love to see you there. Join us!

Millo Articles by Shane Barker

Shane Barker is a digital marketing consultant who specializes in influencer marketing, content marketing, and SEO. He is also the Founder and CEO of Content Solutions, a digital marketing agency. He has consulted with Fortune 500 companies, influencers with digital products, and a number of A-List celebrities.
Read more from Shane.