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Testing LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content Ads

By March 14, 2017March 17th, 2020No Comments

Advertising on LinkedIn — the world’s top social media platform for content distribution — puts your content and brand in front of a targeted audience seeking thought leadership, news, and insights in their field. If you’re new to LinkedIn advertising, you have a few options to get started. If you’ve dabbled in LinkedIn ads before but are looking for ways to improve campaign performance, we’ve got tips for you, too. Continue reading to see our test results.

Getting Started with LinkedIn Ads: Which Program to Choose?

LinkedIn Sponsored Content Advertising Tips

Sponsored Content

LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Advertising Tips

Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn Advertising Tips

Text Ads

As a LinkedIn advertiser, you can choose from three primary ad programs based on your goals and content.

  • Sponsored Content: A larger photo, link to your content, and descriptive text — all shown within the newsfeed.
  • Sponsored InMail: Personalized messages delivered through LinkedIn Messenger.
  • Text Ads: A headline, short description, and small 50×50 image displayed in the right column, not within the newsfeed.

In this post, we will take a closer look at your options within the Sponsored Content program and give you tips to optimize your Sponsored Content campaigns.

Your Options for LinkedIn Sponsored Content Ads

Within the Sponsored Content program, you have two similar, but different, options:

Sponsored Content (SC) is the paid promotion of a post published on a LinkedIn Company Page. With SC, you can target your ads to a defined audience using either cost per click (CPC) or cost per thousand impressions (CPM) bidding.

Direct Sponsored Content (DSC) is similar to SC, but you do not have to promote an existing Company Page post. Instead, you can create a new post designed specifically to serve as your ad content. DSC allows you to tailor messages to each of your target audiences.

Results: Improve Performance with Direct Sponsored Content

Over the course of several months, we assessed the performance of LinkedIn Sponsored Content (SC) for a company in the pharmaceutical and technology space and measured the impact of switching to Direct Sponsored Content (DSC).

With DSC, we created ad content on a per company basis, instead of using the same ad language to target a large group of companies.

Use #LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content to tailor ads to specific audiences. Learn how: Click To Tweet


  • More than quadrupled ad impressions
  • Nearly tripled click-through rates

Give Direct Sponsored Content a try! These ads were effective in our tests above and could be effective for your company, too. Be sure to measure the performance of your new DSC ads and compare to your previous LinkedIn ad formats or other digital advertising efforts. Let us know your results in the comments below!

Other Notes on LinkedIn Advertising

  • Because DSC ads do not have to use existing Company Page posts, you can tailor your message to specific audiences without posting duplicate content to your Page.
  • Although increased clicks and click-through rates were our goals when switching to DSC, we also experienced a significant jump in ad impressions, helping to increase brand visibility.
  • Both SC and DSC ads appear across all device types (desktop, tablet and mobile), which is optimal to reach busy professionals as they move throughout their day. Text ads, on the other hand, only appear on desktop devices.

Need help with LinkedIn ads or other pay-per-click advertising campaigns? Contact our marketing experts today.

Brian Shilling

Author Brian Shilling

Brian is our Executive Vice President of Client Operations with experience leading diverse teams of marketers and designers in strategic marketing, content creation, and crafting comprehensive messaging and positioning platforms for our healthcare and tech clients. To learn more about Brian's experiences and qualifications, visit our leadership team page.

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