How to Setup LinkedIn Sponsored InMail Campaigns

When most people think of advertising on LinkedIn, they think of traditional Direct Sponsored Content. While Direct Sponsored Content is still the bread and butter of LinkedIn, it’s worth taking a look at one of the other campaign options: Sponsored InMail.

Let’s hop into what InMail campaigns are and how to set them up.

What Is Sponsored InMail?

Released in November 2016, this allows advertisers to send personalized messages to people who are most important to your business. While this started as a very basic option to reach customers, conversion tracking is now available as well as the option to add a lead gen form to the InMail.

If you’re on LinkedIn, chances are you have gotten one of these messages in your inbox.

These ads feature a headline, body text, image, button and the ability to add links, bold text, and personalize messages to make these ads more of a conversation than traditional Sponsored Content.

Below is an example of one I have received from LinkedIn.

A Few Things to Note About Sponsored InMail

Before we dive into setting up these campaigns, here are a few things that are handy to know.

  • It’s important to note that these messages are only delivered when members are active on LinkedIn.
  • You will pay per send, but in my experience, these bids are usually lower than other LinkedIn campaign bids.
  • Be picky with the ad variants you test – there are strict frequency rules on Sponsored InMail, so it’s unlikely that members will receive multiple messages from you in a short period of time. Members only receive 1 Sponsored InMail every 45 days (recently updated from 1 every 60 days). Testing is worth it but will be different than other A/B ad tests.

Setting Up Sponsored InMail Campaigns

Click the “Create Campaign” button, then “Select” beside the Sponsored InMail product.

Name your campaign, select the Campaign Group, select the language and choose what ad type you will use – traditional landing page or Lead Gen Forms. For this example, we’ll be setting up a campaign for a traditional landing page. Click Next.

The next step will require you to choose a sender for your Sponsored InMail. You’ll want to select someone who is credible and relevant to the message you’re sending.

You will need Account Manager access in order to request additional senders.

You can select a sender who is a first-degree connection to you and these requests can only be sent once for each account. The requested sender will need to accept or reject the request. Please note that if the sender accepts but later rejects it (or rejects it from the beginning), the campaigns with those messages will be automatically paused. You will need to re-add a sender before the campaigns can run again. More information on sender requests is available.

LinkedIn recommends that the person the InMail message is being sent from has a public profile image so that it can be seen with the message. Without the public image, the profile image associated with the message will be the gray silhouette and will not seem as personal.

These ads can be edited after setup, so you can select yourself as a placeholder until your requested senders have approved your request.

Choose your sender and select Next.

Now it’s time to set up your ad variants.

Sponsored InMail Ad Variants

For the subject line, you can have a maximum of 60 characters.

For the body copy, you can have a maximum of 1,500 characters. I would recommend adding the custom salutation by utilizing the %FIRSTNAME% feature.

You can also include bullet points, bold and italics and links in the body portion of your message. You can use a max of 3 links. More information on the specs here.

You can also add a custom footer with terms, conditions or disclaimers if needed. Whether or not you include a footer, LinkedIn will include a standard footer and allow users to opt out of future messages.

On the next page, you will setup your landing page URL, your call to action and the image associated with your ad.

The specs here are:

  • Click-through URL: Add any needed tracking parameters.
  • Call to action button: 20 characters maximum.
  • Image: 300×250 banner ad. File type .jpg, .gif (non animated) or .png (no flash). Maximum file size is 40 kb.

After you have setup your ads, you can choose the targeting parameters for the users who will receive your messages.

This process is the same as setting up targeting for any other LinkedIn campaign. You can include or exclude any audiences or targeted account lists or contact lists.

Many times when I have used InMail, we have used it for a nurture campaign in which the users are already familiar with the brand, so I utilized the website audience or targeted contact feature for my audience targeting.

The final step in setting up your InMail campaign is to select your conversion tracking, set your budgets and select your ad rotation.

Testing Your Sponsored InMail

Before launching your campaign, I highly recommend test-sending your message to yourself. You can do this by navigating to the ad variants you created and clicking on the envelope button.

Simply navigate back to your LinkedIn interface and the message will appear when your typical messages and InMails appear.

After you have test-sent your message, you are all set to launch the campaign!

Have you tested LinkedIn Sponsored InMail campaigns? What were your results? We’d love to hear about your experience in the comments!