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MARKETING

A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

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A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

Although often underrated or reduced to a “networking platform,” LinkedIn has the potential to help you drive traffic to your website, increase brand awareness, and boost your revenue. How? Through LinkedIn sponsored updates or ads.

Download Now: How to Run LinkedIn Ads

In this comprehensive guide to LinkedIn sponsored updates, we’ll tackle the big questions — what are LinkedIn sponsored updates, how do they work, and how much do they cost?

We’ll also offer a list of sponsored updates best practices to help your brand make the most of this social content solution.

What are LinkedIn sponsored updates?

Also called sponsored content, the official LinkedIn help page says a sponsored update is “a LinkedIn Page update that is sponsored as an advertisement and is delivered to the LinkedIn feed of members beyond those who follow your company.”

LinkedIn sponsored updates are advertisements created by your company or marketing team. These are then served to LinkedIn users who either follow your page or follow pages in similar content space.

Users can find these ads on their native LinkedIn feed. The sponsored updates typically include a combination of relevant text and contextual images or videos. This helps them blend in with similar user content rather than standing out as paid-for advertisements.

When designed and deployed well, LinkedIn sponsored updates can help drive organic interest in your brand from current followers and a wider audience of LinkedIn members.

Worth noting? While these posts are designed to follow the format of familiar user updates, they’re always labeled as “sponsored content” to ensure there is no misleading or confusing users.

What types of sponsored updates are available?

Brands can create four types of direct sponsored updates.

Single Image Ads

Single image ads include one image with text displayed directly in targeted members’ LinkedIn feeds.

LinkedIn sponsored update, single image adImage Source

Carousel Image Ads

Carousel ads contain multiple images in succession that users can scroll through to get a better sense of your products or services.

LinkedIn sponsored updates, carousel image ads

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Video Ads

Video ads offer a way to include multimedia marketing with in-feed videos that users can watch on demand.

LinkedIn sponsored content, video ad example with a video ad campaign on screen

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Single Job Ads

If you want to expand your team, you can create single job ads for your targeted audience. They must promote a single job opportunity and be linked to an active LinkedIn post.

LinkedIn sponsored content, single job ad example showing a single job ad on a computer screen and a mobile screenImage Source

Document Ads

Use document ads to share relevant content with users in the form of ebooks, whitepapers, testimonials, or case studies.

You can collect lead information before they open or download your document, and you can track user engagement through the number of downloads and how much of your document is read.

LinkedIn sponsored updates, document ad with lead gen form example

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Event Ads

Event ads allow you to promote events you’re organizing through an ad campaign. You must create the event through LinkedIn first, then turn it into sponsored content to target your desired audience.

LinkedIn sponsored content, event ad

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You can also create what’s known as “direct sponsored content.” These ads won’t display on your LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page before being served as advertisements.

As a result, companies often use them to test several marketing approaches, see which one produces the best results, and use them as the basis for more robust sponsored content updates.

How much do LinkedIn sponsored updates cost?

The short answer is that more resource-intensive ads — such as videos or carousels — will cost more than their single-image counterparts.

The long answer is slightly more complicated.

First, it’s essential to understand that LinkedIn uses a bidding model for sponsored ads.

You select and create your ad type and then specify how much you’re willing to pay — a minimum price exists to ensure advertisers are fairly paid. Still, you’ll never be charged more than your maximum upper limit.

Differing ad providers then bid on the service, and the lowest price wins.

Your target audience and relevance score also determine ad price. For example, if your target audience is in high demand, you’ll be charged more because there’s greater competition to capture user interest.

You can also lower your ad costs by creating relevant ads. The more relevant and content-rich your ad, the less you’ll pay — because there’s a better chance of engaging LinkedIn users.

It’s also worth considering the best cost model for your ad: Cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM). CPC means you only pay when users click on your ad and visit your site, while CPM means you pay for every 1,000 views or “impressions” of your ad.

If your goal is generating brand awareness, opt for CPM. Choose CPC if you have an established audience and want to drive click-throughs and conversions.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates Best Practices

Want to get the most from your LinkedIn sponsored updates? Keep these best practices in mind.

1. Follow LinkedIn sponsored update specs.

Each type of sponsored content comes with its own specifications.

Single image ads require the following:

  • Up to 255 characters for the ad name.
  • 150 characters of intro text to avoid truncation.
  • URLs with “http://” or “https://”.
  • JPG, GIF, or PNG files that are 5 MB or smaller.
  • Up to 255 characters for the ad name.
  • 150 characters of intro text to avoid truncation.
  • URLs with “http://” or “https://”.
  • JPG, GIF, or PNG files that are 5 MB or smaller.

Carousel ads require the following:

  • A minimum of two cards and a maximum of ten.
  • Each card has a maximum file size of 10 MB and dimensions of 6012 x 6012px.
  • JPG, PNG, and non-animated GIF files.

Video ads must be:

  • Between 3 seconds to 30 minutes long.
  • Between 75 KB and 200 MB.
  • In MP4 format.
  • Less than 30 frames per second (FPS).

Single job ads should be concise, relevant, and clear. They must have:

Document ads require the following formatting:

  • A PDF format under 100 MB.
  • Accessible fonts and colors are accessible.

When it comes to event ads, be sure to consider the following:

  • The ad image will be drawn from the LinkedIn event page with a 4:1 ratio.
  • Event names can use up to 255 characters with 600 characters of intro text.
  • Use URLs with “http://” or “https://” from LinkedIn events page.

Failure to follow these guidelines may result in ads being rejected. In addition, if ads contain misleading or inappropriate content, LinkedIn may choose to remove the ads or terminate your LinkedIn account.

The service also clarifies that “spam” posts are not permitted. According to their Best Practices for Sponsored Content page, “Businesses that post updates excessively are subject to review by LinkedIn and could risk having their LinkedIn Page deleted.”

2. Don’t overshare.

While targeted, relevant content can help drive user interest, too many ads too quickly can result in over-saturation.

LinkedIn recommends regularly tweaking your content strategy to deliver analysis rather than simply news, including curated content (with credit) from other sources and repurposing older content where applicable.

3. Test, test, test.

As noted above, direct sponsored content is a great way to try out new advertising efforts and see what sticks.

With the social media market continually evolving, it’s worth evaluating ad performance every few weeks to see what’s working, what isn’t, and where specific changes can help.

4. Spend wisely.

Sponsored updates can get expensive as you incorporate new advertisements and use multiple ad types.

Here, it’s worth tracking your ad spend and switching from CPC to CPM models once click-through rates start to rise. If ads lose steam, consider moving back to CPM to generate increased awareness.

5. Find new markets.

While engaging your target market is critical, diversifying ad objectives is also important to expand your overall impact. LinkedIn recommends using tools such as Lead Gen Forms to find better leads, assess ROI, and manage your advertisements at scale.

Start Creating LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

LinkedIn’s sponsored update model offers a streamlined solution to help brands reach their target market, expand brand awareness, and boost ROI.

Best bet? Start with direct sponsored content to see what sticks, then choose the cost model that makes the most sense — CPC or CPM — and adjust as needed to reach the largest LinkedIn audience.

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MARKETING

YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples [2024 Update]

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YouTube Ad Specs, Sizes, and Examples

Introduction

With billions of users each month, YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and top website for video content. This makes it a great place for advertising. To succeed, advertisers need to follow the correct YouTube ad specifications. These rules help your ad reach more viewers, increasing the chance of gaining new customers and boosting brand awareness.

Types of YouTube Ads

Video Ads

  • Description: These play before, during, or after a YouTube video on computers or mobile devices.
  • Types:
    • In-stream ads: Can be skippable or non-skippable.
    • Bumper ads: Non-skippable, short ads that play before, during, or after a video.

Display Ads

  • Description: These appear in different spots on YouTube and usually use text or static images.
  • Note: YouTube does not support display image ads directly on its app, but these can be targeted to YouTube.com through Google Display Network (GDN).

Companion Banners

  • Description: Appears to the right of the YouTube player on desktop.
  • Requirement: Must be purchased alongside In-stream ads, Bumper ads, or In-feed ads.

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Resemble videos with images, headlines, and text. They link to a public or unlisted YouTube video.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that play outside of YouTube, on websites and apps within the Google video partner network.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: Premium, high-visibility banner ads displayed at the top of the YouTube homepage for both desktop and mobile users.

YouTube Ad Specs by Type

Skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Placement: Before, during, or after a YouTube video.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
    • Action: 15-20 seconds

Non-skippable In-stream Video Ads

  • Description: Must be watched completely before the main video.
  • Length: 15 seconds (or 20 seconds in certain markets).
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Vertical: 9:16
    • Square: 1:1

Bumper Ads

  • Length: Maximum 6 seconds.
  • File Format: MP4, Quicktime, AVI, ASF, Windows Media, or MPEG.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 640 x 360px
    • Vertical: 480 x 360px

In-feed Ads

  • Description: Show alongside YouTube content, like search results or the Home feed.
  • Resolution:
    • Horizontal: 1920 x 1080px
    • Vertical: 1080 x 1920px
    • Square: 1080 x 1080px
  • Aspect Ratio:
    • Horizontal: 16:9
    • Square: 1:1
  • Length:
    • Awareness: 15-20 seconds
    • Consideration: 2-3 minutes
  • Headline/Description:
    • Headline: Up to 2 lines, 40 characters per line
    • Description: Up to 2 lines, 35 characters per line

Display Ads

  • Description: Static images or animated media that appear on YouTube next to video suggestions, in search results, or on the homepage.
  • Image Size: 300×60 pixels.
  • File Type: GIF, JPG, PNG.
  • File Size: Max 150KB.
  • Max Animation Length: 30 seconds.

Outstream Ads

  • Description: Mobile-only video ads that appear on websites and apps within the Google video partner network, not on YouTube itself.
  • Logo Specs:
    • Square: 1:1 (200 x 200px).
    • File Type: JPG, GIF, PNG.
    • Max Size: 200KB.

Masthead Ads

  • Description: High-visibility ads at the top of the YouTube homepage.
  • Resolution: 1920 x 1080 or higher.
  • File Type: JPG or PNG (without transparency).

Conclusion

YouTube offers a variety of ad formats to reach audiences effectively in 2024. Whether you want to build brand awareness, drive conversions, or target specific demographics, YouTube provides a dynamic platform for your advertising needs. Always follow Google’s advertising policies and the technical ad specs to ensure your ads perform their best. Ready to start using YouTube ads? Contact us today to get started!

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Why We Are Always ‘Clicking to Buy’, According to Psychologists

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Why We Are Always 'Clicking to Buy', According to Psychologists

Amazon pillows.

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

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A deeper dive into data, personalization and Copilots

Salesforce launched a collection of new, generative AI-related products at Connections in Chicago this week. They included new Einstein Copilots for marketers and merchants and Einstein Personalization.

To better understand, not only the potential impact of the new products, but the evolving Salesforce architecture, we sat down with Bobby Jania, CMO, Marketing Cloud.

Dig deeper: Salesforce piles on the Einstein Copilots

Salesforce’s evolving architecture

It’s hard to deny that Salesforce likes coming up with new names for platforms and products (what happened to Customer 360?) and this can sometimes make the observer wonder if something is brand new, or old but with a brand new name. In particular, what exactly is Einstein 1 and how is it related to Salesforce Data Cloud?

“Data Cloud is built on the Einstein 1 platform,” Jania explained. “The Einstein 1 platform is our entire Salesforce platform and that includes products like Sales Cloud, Service Cloud — that it includes the original idea of Salesforce not just being in the cloud, but being multi-tenancy.”

Data Cloud — not an acquisition, of course — was built natively on that platform. It was the first product built on Hyperforce, Salesforce’s new cloud infrastructure architecture. “Since Data Cloud was on what we now call the Einstein 1 platform from Day One, it has always natively connected to, and been able to read anything in Sales Cloud, Service Cloud [and so on]. On top of that, we can now bring in, not only structured but unstructured data.”

That’s a significant progression from the position, several years ago, when Salesforce had stitched together a platform around various acquisitions (ExactTarget, for example) that didn’t necessarily talk to each other.

“At times, what we would do is have a kind of behind-the-scenes flow where data from one product could be moved into another product,” said Jania, “but in many of those cases the data would then be in both, whereas now the data is in Data Cloud. Tableau will run natively off Data Cloud; Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud — they’re all going to the same operational customer profile.” They’re not copying the data from Data Cloud, Jania confirmed.

Another thing to know is tit’s possible for Salesforce customers to import their own datasets into Data Cloud. “We wanted to create a federated data model,” said Jania. “If you’re using Snowflake, for example, we more or less virtually sit on your data lake. The value we add is that we will look at all your data and help you form these operational customer profiles.”

Let’s learn more about Einstein Copilot

“Copilot means that I have an assistant with me in the tool where I need to be working that contextually knows what I am trying to do and helps me at every step of the process,” Jania said.

For marketers, this might begin with a campaign brief developed with Copilot’s assistance, the identification of an audience based on the brief, and then the development of email or other content. “What’s really cool is the idea of Einstein Studio where our customers will create actions [for Copilot] that we hadn’t even thought about.”

Here’s a key insight (back to nomenclature). We reported on Copilot for markets, Copilot for merchants, Copilot for shoppers. It turns out, however, that there is just one Copilot, Einstein Copilot, and these are use cases. “There’s just one Copilot, we just add these for a little clarity; we’re going to talk about marketing use cases, about shoppers’ use cases. These are actions for the marketing use cases we built out of the box; you can build your own.”

It’s surely going to take a little time for marketers to learn to work easily with Copilot. “There’s always time for adoption,” Jania agreed. “What is directly connected with this is, this is my ninth Connections and this one has the most hands-on training that I’ve seen since 2014 — and a lot of that is getting people using Data Cloud, using these tools rather than just being given a demo.”

What’s new about Einstein Personalization

Salesforce Einstein has been around since 2016 and many of the use cases seem to have involved personalization in various forms. What’s new?

“Einstein Personalization is a real-time decision engine and it’s going to choose next-best-action, next-best-offer. What is new is that it’s a service now that runs natively on top of Data Cloud.” A lot of real-time decision engines need their own set of data that might actually be a subset of data. “Einstein Personalization is going to look holistically at a customer and recommend a next-best-action that could be natively surfaced in Service Cloud, Sales Cloud or Marketing Cloud.”

Finally, trust

One feature of the presentations at Connections was the reassurance that, although public LLMs like ChatGPT could be selected for application to customer data, none of that data would be retained by the LLMs. Is this just a matter of written agreements? No, not just that, said Jania.

“In the Einstein Trust Layer, all of the data, when it connects to an LLM, runs through our gateway. If there was a prompt that had personally identifiable information — a credit card number, an email address — at a mimum, all that is stripped out. The LLMs do not store the output; we store the output for auditing back in Salesforce. Any output that comes back through our gateway is logged in our system; it runs through a toxicity model; and only at the end do we put PII data back into the answer. There are real pieces beyond a handshake that this data is safe.”

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