Setting up LinkedIn Conversation Ads

Ooh, LinkedIn has launched ‘Conversation Ads’. But what the heck are they, and how do you go about using them?

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Over the past year or so, LinkedIn has really stepped up its advertising offerings. One of its latest features is ‘Conversation Ads’. But what the heck are they, and how do you go about using them?

What is a LinkedIn Conversation Ad?

Delivered via LinkedIn Messenger, Conversation Ads are a snazzy new version of the sponsored InMail offering (known as Messaging Ads since December 2019). When setting up these ads, you can choose from two objectives: Website Visits, or Lead Generation.

Now here’s where it gets interesting. Unlike InMail, Conversation Ads can take users on a little journey that goes far beyond the realms of ‘Hello it’s me from this company and do you want to download our eBook? Here it is if you do. OK, bye’.

But how, I hear you ask? Well, Conversation Ads use flow-based options, allowing for personalised, scripted exchanges with active LinkedIn users (making it more difficult for them to ignore you, mwah haha).

It does this by enabling clickable calls-to-action (CTA) within the messaging stream. Depending on what option the user clicks, they will be taken on a different, new and exciting path. A bit like those ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ books, but probably a lot less fun.

How do I set up LinkedIn Conversation Ads?

Before you just dive in, it’s really important to map out your objectives and the paths you want users to take before you begin even thinking about setting up Conversation Ads. Make sure the content you link to is tailored for each target audience, too.

When you create a new campaign, choose either Website Visits or Lead Generation as the objective, set up your audience, and then scroll down to select the Conversation Ad option. Now it’s time to create an ad.

You’ll need a name for the ad, and a banner image. And then you’ll have to appoint someone within your business to be the sender. Depending on where the prospect is in the funnel, or the goal of the campaign, one employee might be more likely to get a good response over another (i.e Head of Sales is more appropriate than Marketing Intern if you are trying to build a relationship with the end goal of flogging something).

Next, you’ll be presented with some ad templates you can use. Or, you can be a maverick and create an ad completely from scratch; up to you.

Now for the fun part – copy creation. As mentioned before, these ads are flow-based. This means you will have to come up with the following:

An opening gambit. You get up to 500 characters to play with. Make sure you cut to the chase.

Hi NAME,

My name is Jimbob and I work for Jim and Billy’s Big Balloons. We have just launched a section of our website dedicated to helping event planners like you. Would you like to find out more about our balloon-tastic offerings?

And then, some CTAs (up to 25 characters, up to five different CTAs):

[Tell me more]
[I need more info]
[Not interested]

Now then, depending on what the user selects, they are then presented with some further options to choose from:

  • Tell me more
    • Cool! We are glad you love balloons as much as we do. Would you like to arrange a call back with one of our balloon specialists?
  • I need more info
    • That’s great news. We have some wonderful information on balloons over on our blog. Would this be helpful?
  • Not interested
    • Not a problem. If we’re being honest, all sane people hate balloons. Despite that, perhaps one day you’ll decide that you do, in fact, love balloons. If you like, you can sign up to our mailing list to keep up to date so you don’t miss out on all the latest exciting balloon news?

You can continue adding to the flow as necessary, or add a link to a page on your website. Just make sure the flow sounds natural and relatively informal to help users feel more comfortable with engaging.

The interface for creating these ads is pretty intuitive and if you go wrong, you’ll be presented with an error message telling you why. Choose between Preview or Flow Chart views depending on what you find easier.

Before you go live, you can send a test, which will appear in your LinkedIn Messenger:

Things to remember when setting up Conversation Ads

Profiles matter

Whoever you end up choosing to be the sender, make sure their profile is up to date, and has a decent image of them, not a generic egg or a tiny pixelated mess.

Lead generation gonna need lead gen forms

If you selected the Lead Generation objective, you’ll be prompted to add an existing lead gen form to your ad, or create a new one.

Personalise your messaging

The personal touch works. So use it. LinkedIn macros allow you to add the following:

  • First name
  • Last name
  • Job title
  • Company name
  • Industry

And that’s about it. Still want to find out more? Check out this webinar from LinkedIn: ‘Messaging Strategies for the Modern Marketer: Turning Conversations into Conversions’, or contact the team at Browser Media.

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