What Publishers Can Learn from LinkedIn Conversation Ads

Jane O'Hara
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LinkedIn is bringing more interaction to its Message Ads. On March 17, 2020, the professional networking platform announced the public beta launch of their new Conversation Ads.

In the coming weeks, advertisers will be able to start real-time, interactive conversations directly in LinkedIn Messaging.

This article will outline what LinkedIn Conversation Ads are, why they’re an innovative new offering, and the key takeaways for publishers looking to create new ad units of their own.

What they are

LinkedIn introduced their new Conversation Ads to “turn conversations into quality conversions.” Unlike LinkedIn’s standard ad units, Conversation Ads are limited to two different campaign objectives: website visits and lead generation.

LinkedIn campaign objectives options
LinkedIn campaign objectives options

The new units offer personalized, scripted exchanges with active LinkedIn users by enabling clickable calls-to-action (CTA) within the messaging stream — making it easy for users to choose to interact or not interact with the advertiser.

CTAs can include:

  • Learn more
  • Sign up (newsletter, demo, etc.)
  • Visit website
  • Tell me more

Advertisers can create additional flows and CTAs based on how users respond to the questions.

LinkedIn message ads vs. conversation ads
LinkedIn message ads vs. conversation ads

Conversation Ads expand on the current Message Ads (previously Sponsored InMail) with more choices and response options to increase customer interaction, engagement, and conversion.

Why they’re innovative

They allow users to choose their own adventure

LinkedIn Conversation Ads offer B2B advertisers “choose-your-own-path” experiences — complete with prompts and responses based on the customer journey.

LinkedIn Conversation Ads
LinkedIn Conversation ads

The ads offer real-time, personalized interactions based on workflows the advertiser sets up.

LinkedIn Conversation Ad template
LinkedIn Conversation Ad template

In the above example, one of the paths of the Conversation Ad from FixDex Capital Credit Union ends with the user booking a demo — right from the LinkedIn conversation.

Advertisers can create a variety of clickable CTAs and scripted messages to guide LinkedIn users through the sales funnel in ways that encourage more brand connection than static display ads or standard InMail ads — and with clearly disclosed “sponsored” labels that ensure FTC compliance.

LinkedIn users can ‘converse’ with brands following the scripted exchanges but they cannot send direct messages back to advertisers.

They offer advertisers detailed reporting

Like with their other ad units, LinkedIn offers detailed reporting for Conversation Ads. Using the Campaign Manager interface, advertisers can access detailed click and demographic reporting for their sponsored messages.

LinkedIn Campaign Manager dashboard
LinkedIn Campaign Manager dashboard

They can analyze their click reports to gauge conversion performance and demographic reports to optimize their targeting — such as specific locations, industries, or company sizes.

What you can learn from them

As the leading professional social network, LinkedIn has a relatively unique use case that would be hard to copy — but their docs on the new ad unit may prove useful as you brainstorm the creation, tweaking, and launch of your own native ad product.

Here are three resources LinkedIn offers:

  • Best practices guide for ad creation, reporting, and optimization
  • Sponsored messaging playbook, complete with best-in-class case studies from J.P. Morgan, Samsung, and others
  • Ad templates with suggested advertising messages for:
    • Increasing event and webinar registrations
    • Sharing free trials and product demos
    • Driving site visits
    • Increasing asset downloads
    • Boosting program enrollments
LinkedIn Conversation Ad template for opening message
LinkedIn Conversation Ad template for opening message

Start a conversation with the Ad.Product community

Do you have thoughts on LinkedIn’s new ad units or insights on your own building process? Are you looking for community input or advice? We’d love to hear from you.

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Jane O'Hara

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