Creating, executing and reporting on the digital marketing strategies in the pharma and biotech space every day, you could say we know a thing or two about digital marketing in the B2B space.

When it comes to leveraging social media as part of your digital marketing strategy, LinkedIn is the ultimate platform for outsourcing and contract service companies to raise more awareness amongst the right buyers, whilst positively influencing inbound lead generation efforts.

So, how can LinkedIn advertising add value to companies within the supply chain?

Amongst LinkedIn’s 690 million+ members, four in five members can impact business decisions. LinkedIn paid advertising (LinkedIn Ads) can help you reach important decision makers in a measurable way to meet business objectives. Can you imagine? Marketing to your niche list of buyers and no one else. This method literally allows you to segment and track your marketing message (e.g by big pharma, biotech and then the types of people within those organisations).

In this post, we guide you through LinkedIn Ad campaign creation, targeting options and ad types.

LinkedIn Ads – where to start?

To create a LinkedIn Ad campaign, all you need is a company LinkedIn page; the advertising tool is completely free to set up. However, before you dive straight in, it is important to clarify what you want to get out of it. LinkedIn Ad campaigns are configured based on business objectives, so it is best practice to consider your objectives and desired outcomes before setting anything up.

Each campaign provides objectives to choose from, based on a typical sales funnel:

  • Awareness
    Brand awareness
  • Consideration
    Website visits
    Engagement
    Video views
  • Conversions
    Lead generation
    Website conversions
    Job applicants

Target audience(s)

Once you have chosen an objective, it is time to select your target audience.

LinkedIn’s target audience feature is like the holy grail for paid B2B advertising. Alongside the standard continent, country, and language targeting options, you have a range of professional traits to select, including:

  • Job title for example Head of Chemistry or Head of Translational Research
  • Job level/seniority for example Director, VP, President
  • Company name
  • Industry type for example biotechnology, pharmaceuticals
  • Professional and personal interests

Targeting LinkedIn Ads based on professional traits not only allows your ads to be seen by people at specific companies; it also places ads in front of key decision-makers or gatekeepers who are most likely to take action – whether that’s to visit your website, fill out an enquiry form or follow your company LinkedIn page.

Best practice tip: When selecting your target audience, refer to the Forecasted Results column. This provides 1-day, 7-day and 30-day estimated ad reach data based on your campaign’s daily budget, audience targeting, campaign start/end dates and more.

Customise your audience with retargeting

Your LinkedIn Ads campaign might already seem super-targeted towards high quality traffic and leads, but the Matched Audiences option takes audience targeting to an even more granular level.

With Matched Audiences, you can upload a list of email addresses via file upload or third-party CRM systems to retarget with custom ad messaging. This is a great way to target the mid to low-end of the sales funnel with conversion-focused campaigns.

Best practice tip: Third-party integrated contact lists must have 300 members minimum to launch. For uploaded contact lists, the minimum is 1,000 members. All email addresses used must be GDRP compliant.

Matched Audiences can be used to retarget visitors to your website, LinkedIn company profile or those who RSVP’d to your LinkedIn event (for example a webinar). Using retargeting alone or in combination with the other targeting methods means you can get really creative with how you reach your buyers – no matter how niche they may seem.

LinkedIn ad types

Compared with standard text or image-based Google Ads, LinkedIn’s ad formats are more varied, with more opportunities for your buyers to interact and engage with your content.

Below is a run-down of the different ad types and how each one could compliment your campaign objectives.

1) Sponsored content
Sponsored content appears in users’ LinkedIn feeds in a similar way to organic posts. The difference is that you choose your audience, a daily budget and pay a small fee to LinkedIn every time someone interacts with the ad.

Sponsoring content about a new blog, service, e-book or event are effective ways to promote your company “highlights” and encourage engagement. This works especially well when the post has already had good levels of engagement on LinkedIn, as it’s more likely to perform well when sponsored.

Single image adA single image accompanied by a headline, introductory text, and a call-to-action button.
Carousel ad
A scrollable series of 2-10 image cards, accompanied by headlines and an introduction, to showcase products or services.
Video ad
A video accompanied by a headline introductory text and a call-to-action button.

2) Sponsored Message ads
Previously known as Sponsored InMail ads, these will appear directly in users’ LinkedIn inboxes and will look like an organic message to them. As 89% of consumers prefer that businesses stay in touch via messaging, Sponsored Messages are a fantastic way to capture your audience’s interest.

3) Lead gen forms
Studies show that 80% of B2B leads on social media come from LinkedIn, so if your objective is to generate leads then lead gen forms are worth experimenting with. They integrate seamlessly into your ad to collect enquiries directly from LinkedIn.

Form fields can be customised to capture the personal information you need, including email address, phone number, company name, job title and up to three custom questions.

This ad type is suited to generating webinar sign ups and resource downloads.

4) Text ads
Similar to standard text-based paid advertising, LinkedIn text ads work on a pay-per-click basis – great for advertisers on a limited budget who want to promote their services ,technologies or products in a simple and concise way.

Text ads consist of a headline, description and call-to-action button and appear in the right-hand column of the desktop LinkedIn feed. They can be customised to suit a range of business objectives including brand awareness, website traffic and website conversions.


5) Dynamic ads
Dynamic Ads also appear on the right-hand side of the LinkedIn feed. They dynamically populate information from your target audience’s LinkedIn profiles to deliver a short, personalised message that often includes a member’s photo, employer name and job title.

FollowerThis type of dynamic ad pulls a LinkedIn member’s name and photos into the ad messaging, prompting them to follow your company page.


Spotlight
As the name suggests, these ads shine a light on your products and services with a personalised message. When the ad is clicked, it will take users directly to a page on your website.

Job – Job ads are a highly effective way to boost your recruitment efforts. They leverage a LinkedIn member’s network and personal details to alert them that your company is hiring.

So, there you have it. An introduction into LinkedIn Ads and its various targeting and campaign options when working inside the outsourcing space. In summary, it’s about getting as niche as you can with the audiences you are targeting, trying different content types to encourage engagement and over time, understanding what your buyers engage well with and what adds the most value.

If you would like a more detailed refresher, or advice about campaign optimisation and best practice, or you simply don’t have the time to commit to running LinkedIn Ads internally, contact the expert digital marketing team