You may already be familiar with the publisher network concept through other platforms like Google or Facebook, but LinkedIn has a unique and specific power in this aspect – its career-oriented data set. If you’re a marketer looking to reach people with a certain job title, employer, or decision maker in an industry, LinkedIn can help you find those people, no matter where they’re spending their time online.
First, let’s define the LinkedIn Audience Network, then we’ll get into how it works, where and how ads appear, how to launch a campaign, and finally, how to report and optimize.
What is the LinkedIn Audience Network
LinkedIn Audience Network is an advertising feature that helps you improve the reach of your campaign and get more impressions by serving up your ads beyond the LinkedIn feed on third-party apps and sites. It lets marketers reach their audience in places outside of just LinkedIn’s feed.
When LinkedIn launched Audience Network launched in 2017, six thousand LinkedIn advertisers had participated in the Audience Network beta program. On average, LinkedIn said those advertisers saw a 3-13% increase in unique impressions served, and up to an 80% increase in unique clicks. Those numbers certainly speak to LinkedIn Audience Network’s ability to reach the right people in the right place, and in this case, brand new people.
How content appears on the LinkedIn Ad Network
The LinkedIn Audience Network currently supports single image ad and video ad formats only. The Network is also only available for Sponsored Content campaigns that have CPC selected as the bid type. If you’ve set up a campaign around CPM, you won’t see an option to have your ads delivered in the LinkedIn Audience Network.
When using the LinkedIn Audience Network, Sponsored Content may appear on any of the premium brand-safe publisher apps and sites LinkedIn has approved as part of their quality and brand safety check. LinkedIn’s quality checklist includes:
- Anything considered controversial or offensive is excluded from the LinkedIn Audience Network
- A manually curated whitelist of suitable partner properties
- Regular engagement monitoring to combat fraud and prioritize delivery on higher-quality placements
Ads appear in a native format on partner sites and apps and may look slightly different than what you uploaded depending on the ad size and format on the site where it's displayed. Be aware that your image could be cropped, or your text truncated. Pro tip: use videos or images with branding or other text overlaid. LinkedIn does not provide a preview tool for how your ad might appear on third-party sites, so do everything you can to set yourself up for success.
LinkedIn shares some best practices for creating Sponsored Content ads here, but the most relevant tips for ads on the Audience Network are:
- Write ad headlines that are under 150 characters. Concise headlines lead to more engagement
- Keep descriptive copy under 70 characters. Note that anything over 100 characters could be truncated on desktop
- Feature a clear CTA, so your audience knows how to act on their interest
Getting started with LinkedIn Audience Network
Again, the LinkedIn Audience Network is only available for Sponsored Content campaigns that have CPC selected as the bid type, so be sure you’re planning on using the feature for a campaign where CPC makes sense. Also, the LinkedIn Audience Network is only available to marketers who are targeting audiences in the United States, the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.
To set up a new LinkedIn Audience Network campaign, or extend an existing CPC Sponsored Content campaign, navigate to the Audience page in Campaign Manager and look for the Audience Network selection at the bottom of the page. Make sure it’s toggled on.
In that same section, you’ll see two options that give you even more control over where your ad shows up. You can use category-level block lists provided by LinkedIn, or upload your own block list. The block list option allows marketers to upload up to 20,000 domains, iTunes App Store URLs or Android Play Store URLs in .CSV or .TXT format.
There’s nothing tricky about budgets for LinkedIn Audience Network. It’s the same as a regular campaign in that LinkedIn honors the bids and budgets that are set at the campaign level. But of course, keep in mind you may reach your budget faster than expected as your impressions will likely increase with the expanded audience.
Reporting and optimizing with LinkedIn Audience Network
Once your LinkedIn Audience Network-enabled campaign has had time to run and accrue data, you can export reports that display your campaign performance by channel: in the LinkedIn newsfeed, on the LinkedIn Audience Network, or combined. At this point, you can make your life a lot easier with AdStage’s LinkedIn integration, which allows for seamless reporting and automation. Quickly analyze your LinkedIn campaign performance with custom dashboards and reports with drop-in tables, graphs, text, or images widgets to share with the team and send to clients.
LinkedIn has well over 500 million members, but they’re not always logged in, and they’re definitely not always in front of their feed scrolling. But no worries, with LinkedIn Audience Network’s audience extending capabilities, marketers can catch the right person at the right time in the right place, no matter where they are.