Ever wonder which ad format is most effective on LinkedIn? Well, today I'm going to summarize my experience with one of the most discussed ad formats LinkedIn has to offer – InMail, or should I say the newly renamed message ad. I will refer to these ads in this blog as InMails because I am sure this is the term you are all still familiar with. I hope to give you an insight until the end of the reading that you can think about the next time you create a LinkedIn campaign.

The benefits of LinkedIn Message Ads

I am someone who likes to hear the good news before I hear the bad news. In fact, we will first look at the "good news" when it comes to these ads. InMail ads offer some nice personalization features like B. Messages that may include the first and last name, job title and / or company name and industry of the recipient. These fields are dynamically inserted into your message to give your ad a touch of personal flair. This turns a typical advertisement into a personalized invitation.

InMails are perfect for highly specialized, unique offers and achieve an average opening rate of 50%. Let's take a look at these three LinkedIn campaigns. All of these campaigns used the same audience targeting and bid strategies. The difference? The ad format.

The red underlined is the InMail campaign and the two below are a single image or video ad. With InMails, I found that if your message reaches the right audience, it will most likely open. Because you deliver content directly to the inbox of a user who is actually active on the platform, your chance of engagement is much higher compared to other ad types. For example, the clicks for the InMail campaign (the button clicks in the first screenshot) are 1.5 to 1.75 times higher than for the individual image and video ad clicks in the last two campaigns, which can be seen in the following screenshots are

The disadvantages

Linkedin inmail campaign metrics versus single image and video advertising campaigns

Now we will examine the areas where InMails have problems. In our example, we use the same campaigns as before. InMail campaigns are known to be expensive, and that's true. With InMails, you pay whenever a message is sent, not when someone clicks on your ad. As you can see, the most spent InMail campaign so far is the poorest of the three campaigns when it comes to conversions. What does that tell us? Just because a user opens your message, there is no guarantee that they will take action beyond that.

Note that the "Average Click Rate" metric can be a little misleading because it does not measure the actual number of link clicks, but the frequency with which the InMail was opened. If you compare the two images above, the second screenshot shows that the opening rate of the InMail campaign matches the click rate of the InMail campaign. This also leads to a discrepancy when comparing the average cost per click of InMail ads with other ad types, since the average. The cost / clicks for InMail ads are also calculated based on the number of ads opened.

Comparison of reach metrics for LinkedIn campaigns

Another disadvantage of InMail campaigns is that they have a fixed frequency limit. LinkedIn members only get the same message display once every 45 days, which means that your target group can be addressed quickly depending on their size. One way to get around the frequency cap is to create multiple ads within the same campaign. This way, a user can receive multiple variations of the same message within 45 days, and your audience won't dry out as quickly. It's also a great way to test subject lines or other elements of your ad against each other.

No option to edit LinkedIn news ads in the UI

InMail ads themselves are also difficult to edit once they're active. As you can see, there is no way to edit here. So if you've discovered a typo or want your brand to send users to another landing page, there's no quick way to do it. To fix the problem, you need to duplicate the display, make the necessary changes, and stop the old one when you're done. The reason why I say "pause" rather than "delete" is that deleting an active ad again is not an option. This mechanism is less an exclusive problem for InMail ads than it is for all LinkedIn ad formats as a whole.

Close thoughts

When is the right time to use an InMail campaign? My bottom line is that it depends on the product / service being offered and whether you have strong news to work with a hyper-target audience. I would almost always use this ad format for a B2B audience because I think it's an effective way to generate leads more than anything.

In my opinion, I tried to use an InMail campaign for a potential audience that was not particularly familiar with the brand or product offered. I think this resulted in a large proportion of users opening the ad and not bothering to read the message or take any further action. My next step will be to use the message ad format for my remarketing audience to see if it's more receptive to it.

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