How Direct Sponsored Content Has Completely Changed LinkedIn Ads

Posted by Ryan Farrell in Uncategorized

Direct Sponsored Content allows advertisers on LinkedIn to promote dark (hidden) posts to their selected audience. This gives the advertiser power to create sponsored updates that will show up in the news feed's of their targeted ad audience.

Being able to decide whether or not your post will be seen by your network has two huge benefits by allowing advertisers to:

1. Adjust your ad copy and image to fit your audience.

We have noticed a sharp increase in click-through-rates (CTR) and conversion rates when our ad copy and landing page are specifically tailored to our audience.

For example, we recently ran a webinar that targeted prospects in the UK. By using direct sponsored content we were able to segment our campaign to different industries in the United Kingdom that would most benefit from our business offerings.

We decided to focus our campaign on two segments:  business coaches/consultants & financial advisors. Since we were able to tailor the ad copy and the ad image, we were able to get our clicks at a price that works for us.

From the screenshots below, you can see that we were able to get roughly $1.56 per click.



And at a 30-40% conversion rate, we were able to get our conversions for slightly under $4.5 per lead. This is a number that works very well for us and one that was not possible to get before direct sponsored content.

2. Create different ad variants.

Previously LinkedIn made it tough to test different ad variants because all of the sponsored updates were posted on the company page. So if you wanted to test 4-5 different variants, your company page would be flooded with different variations.

This looks unprofessional and odd to anyone that visits or follows your page- it’s NOT the best practice to post the same thing over and over again on a company page.

Below are two examples of ads that are essentially the same but are targeted to 2 different segments.ry 3


With direct sponsored content we were able to run different variations of the same ad to different industries. The ads above show how we slightly altered our ad created to grab the attention of both bankers and accounting firms, which, as I mentioned earlier, has greatly lowered our ad cost.

But that is not the only benefit.

We also ran different ads to the same audience. This allowed us to see what copy and images resonated the most with our audience.

Below is an example of an ad that we ran to the exact same accounting audience above.ry 5
Being able to test different ads to the same audience is a much needed tool to allow you to control your ads and customize the experience for the audience. Facebook has offered dark posts for quite some time now and it’s about time that LinkedIn caught up.

Here's a short video put out by LinkedIn on how to get your direct sponsored content set up:

Now I want to hear from you- Have you had success with LinkedIn direct sponsored content?

  • I’ve had much less success so far. I’m currently running a campaign for a segment of people we want to engage with, an audience of 217,000 LinkedIn members. So far, we’ve only had 10 clicks between the 3 updates I’m running. One of the ads even offers a free whitepaper written directly for our audience. Each click has cost us $3.50 which seems ridiculously high. We paid at least that amount on another recent campaign targeted at our Canadian demographic. I’m going to adjust our messages to see if that helps a bit, but I’m not quite sure why we’re struggling so much or why we’re paying so much.