6 Tips for Decreasing Costs in LinkedIn Ads

Change being put into a piggy bank

My B2B clients are always searching for ways to decrease cost per lead in LinkedIn.

Given the introduction of additional advertising features in recent years coupled with the fact that LinkedIn has a floor bid to enter auctions, the costs have continued to rise.

Especially when there is a smaller budget involved, we’re always on the hunt to find a way to decrease overall costs.

Here are my biggest tips for decreasing costs and increasing potential success in LinkedIn Ads.

1. Lead Gen Forms

When it comes to driving down cost per lead in LinkedIn, this is my number one suggestion.

The ability to generate leads directly within the LinkedIn platform is one of the quickest ways I have found to cut costs for cost per lead. The lead form allows the user’s information to auto-populate into the form, eliminating the need to send users to a landing page where there are a number of variables that can impact conversion rates.

For larger advertisers with more potential demand, it’s likely worth finding a way to integrate LinkedIn forms into your backend systems, so that leads flow in automatically. Tools like Salesforce, Marketo, Eloqua and Hubspot offer easy integration solutions.

For smaller advertisers, manually pulling lead form data directly from the LinkedIn platform is possible. Zapier also offers a lead form integration that can connect with 42 different apps, including ActiveCampaign, PipeDrive, Zoho, Formstack and more.

For more tips on how to improve quality from your LinkedIn lead gen forms, check out this post from the Clix blog.

2. Go Beyond Job Title Targeting

When advertisers start thinking of utilizing LinkedIn, they often automatically start thinking of all of the job titles they’d like to target.

A few years ago, job title targeting was a great starting game plan until you could garner more insights about your audience(s).

Today in 2021, you have to get more creative. Job titles are some of the most expensive targeting options in this platform.

These days, I always recommend identifying a job function and seniority level you’d like to target. A job function layer will allow you to cast a wide net. Since many advertisers are going after C-suite level decision-makers, those will often be some of the most expensive clicks. I’d recommend going after the lowest level decision-maker you can to begin.

Another targeting option that I have had success with is group targeting. We have seen 31% lower CPAs and 51% increase in conversion rates by targeting relevant groups vs. relying on “traditional targeting” like job title targeting. My theory behind some of the success here is that folks in LinkedIn groups tend to be more involved and active on LinkedIn.

3. Test Text Ads

This ad option sometimes gets overlooked for it’s bigger, sexier counterpart, Direct Sponsored Content.

But don’t let LinkedIn’s text ad option fool you: this placement option can still generate leads at a lower cost despite being less visible.

Text ads require a 100×100 image which is very small. I’d recommend simply a logo here. Anything too detailed won’t look right.

Additionally, the text portions allow a headline of up to 25 characters and a description of up to 75 characters. As PPC pros are accustomed, this means you need to make every part of the ad count!

At Clix, we’ve seen text ad CPCs be as much as 37% lower than direct sponsored content CPCs! That’s a significant difference! Even if these ads don’t drive a large number of leads, they’re still worth testing as an additional tool in your B2B toolbox.

4. Test Optimization Goals & Bids

When setting up a new campaign, the campaign objective you select impacts which ad formats, bidding strategies, and optimization goals are available. Since the objective has to be made when the campaign is created, you can’t change that after the fact. You can change the optimization goal and/or bidding strategy.

This change can be made within the campaign under Bidding.

Dropdown menu with options for the optimization goals of: Leads (recommended) — Deliver ads to the members most likely to submit a LinkedIn lead gen form, Clicks — Deliver ads to members msot likely to click on your ads, and Impressions — Deliver as many impressions as possible.

I like to optimize for leads or clicks, rarely impressions.

For bidding, I recommend testing manual bidding with a medium level bid. As your campaigns gain traction, you can adjust bids up and down to see the lowest bid that can still get the level of traffic you want.

Selection of either Maximum delivery (automated) - Get the most results possible with your full budget, or Manual bidding (enhanced) - Get the most results possible with your bid.

For a full list of which bidding strategies and optimization goals are available by objective, check out this table from LinkedIn.

5. Test Larger Campaign Sizes

As marketers, we’re often taught that we should keep all campaigns as granular as possible to account for the best opportunity to track and optimize.

However, in channels like LinkedIn, getting too granular can impact delivery and split your budgets TOO much.

For one client, we were separating several different contact lists into their own campaigns. Our daily budgets were being fully spent after just a few clicks. We finally combined all of our lists into one campaign, and we have seen increases in conversion rates, lower CPAs and better delivery rates.

Sometimes too much of a good thing is a bad thing.

6. Test New Ad Creative

No offense B2B advertisers, but I suffer from “writer’s block” or “designer’s block” more often with B2B ads.

Text character limits and harder-to-visualize products can create the perfect storm of boring ads. So how can you spice it up? A few ideas I have had success within LinkedIn include:

  • Graphs and chart images as the ad image. This can be a great way to visualize reports.
  • Longer text on the image. Since there are no limitations on how much text can be on a single image in LinkedIn, this is worth testing. You can try utilizing a header with supporting text of varying lengths.
  • Adding a button to your image. A button is included in the LinkedIn Direct Sponsored Content, but adding a button on the image itself is another way to engage users a little more.
  • Reaching beyond the stock images. I know there are times that design resources are limited, and it’s tempting to use a stock image, but in my experience, these have a much shorter shelf-life than other ad creatives on LinkedIn. Remember that there are always free design resources like Canva that can spruce up your ads quickly and for free!


LinkedIn is the Wild West of expensive B2B leads, but there is also a good reason for that: the lead quality is great! It’s worth testing additional campaign settings, ad creative, lead forms, and targeting to find the sweet spot for your business!