How to create LinkedIn lead ads - step by step guide

How to use LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads to Expand your Business

Millions of people use LinkedIn to connect, discover, and leverage their professional network to grow their business. In fact, with more than 700 million1 members, LinkedIn is one of the largest professional networks on the planet. Some 65 million are decision-makers1, and 8.2 million are C-level executives2. In other words, LinkedIn is an excellent place for companies to advertise, especially if they’ve got a professional audience in mind:

  • LinkedIn ads offer more than 200 targeting characteristics.1
  • Its ad reach grew by 25 million people in Q4 2020.3
  • Ad exposure on LinkedIn can increase purchase intent by 33%.4
  • According to eMarketer, 40% of B2B marketers surveyed indicated LinkedIn as the most effective channel for driving high quality leads.5

While LinkedIn offers many different advertising solutions depending on your objective, this post is all about one particular ad format: LinkedIn lead generation ads.

Why LinkedIn Lead Generation Ads?

Using LinkedIn lead generation ads in your advertising allows you to send people directly to a form instead of forcing them to deal with a cluttered landing page or high-friction path to the lead form. Considering that LinkedIn ads cost more than most other social ads, the lead ads on LinkedIn have the potential to be more cost-effective.

Before you start:

Sometimes the base requirements for advertising in a platform can be so frustrating to get through, so make sure you’ve covered the following before you start.

  • Your LinkedIn page needs to be associated with the Ads account that you want to run your ads.
  • Have Super admin, content admin, or Sponsored Content poster access on the LinkedIn Page.
  • You need to be assigned the role of “Account Manager” or “Campaign Manager” on the Ads account to create a lead form.
  • Have a privacy policy page.

How to Create a LinkedIn Lead Generation campaign

When you choose “Lead generation” as your campaign objective, you can create a new custom lead form or attach an existing one to your ad. So, when a user clicks on your ad’s call to action button, the lead form would open in the same window.
You can attach your lead form to the following ad formats: Single image, video ad, carousel ad, message ad and conversation ad.

For this example, we’ll create a sponsored content single image ad format with a lead form. Here’s how to do it step by step.

  • Go to and select your ad account.
  • Select an existing campaign group or click “create campaign group” to create a new one.
Campaign groups in LinkedIn ads.
  • If you want to create a new campaign group:
  1. Enter your campaign group name.
  2. Select “active” or “draft” until you complete creating your ads.
  3. Set start and end date.
  4. If you want to manage your budget at the campaign group level, enter your desired budget and click save. Alternatively, you can assign your budget at the campaign level too.
How to create a campaign group in LinkedIn.
  • Now select the campaign group, either one of the existing ones or the one you just created.
  • Then click ‘Create campaign’.
Campaigns in LinkedIn ads.

In the next step, you’ll see the selected campaign group. At this point, you still have a chance to create your campaign in another campaign group. To continue, click ‘Next’.

  • Select your campaign objective as ‘Lead Generation’ under the ‘Conversions’ section.
  • How to setup a lead ad on LinkedIn.
    • If you want to reach an entirely new audience, then create a new audience. Alternatively, select a previously saved audience.
    Create a target audience in LinkedIn.
    • Select your ad format. In this example, we picked ‘single image ad’.
    How to create a single image ad on LinkedIn.
    • For lead generation objective, the Linkedin audience network isn’t available. So, you don’t need to do anything in the ‘Placement’ section for now.
    • Set your budget, campaign start and end dates and your bidding strategy.
    How to create a campaign on LinkedIn.
    • To track your conversions from this activity, you must configure the conversion tracking settings.
    • And click ‘Save’.
    • The next step is creating the ad. You can either create a new ad or browse existing content. For this example, we selected ‘create a new ad’.
    • To start creating your ad, write an introductory text, select ad image, headline, description, destination URL. (Hit this link to view single image ad specifications.)
    • Then click ‘form details’ section.
    How to create a single image sponsored content on LinkedIn.
    • Select your call-to-action button first and then either create a new lead form or select an existing one created in the account previously. Remember, once you create a lead form, you can attach it to your new campaigns, so you don’t have to create a new lead form for every single lead ad. You can also test different lead forms to see which work best for you. For this example, we’re creating a new lead form.
    • When creating a new form, the first section is “form details”.
    • Name your form in a way that reflects its purpose.
    • Select the same language as your campaign.
    • Enter a catchy headline and description for your offer that is tailored to your target audience to trigger an emotional response. Also, make sure you follow the character limit, which is 60 for the headline and 160 for the description.
    • Enter the URL of your privacy policy page.
    How to create a lead generation form on LinkedIn.
    • The next section is “Lead details & custom questions”. In this section, select the form fields that you want to ask your target audience.
    • You can select up to 12 fields, including the custom questions, in the ‘profile information’ section. However, it’s recommended to keep it three to four fields to increase the conversion rate.
    Lead details and custom questions section of a lead generation form on LinkedIn.
    • In the ‘custom questions’ section, you can create up to three questions. Click add custom questions and type your question. Then select the type of answer from the dropdown. It could be either a single line text input or multiple choice.
    Custom questions section of a lead generation form on LinkedIn.
    • Members must consent to any additional ways you intend to use their information. So, use the ‘checkbox message’ option to get their consent. To create one, click ‘add custom checkbox’ and enter your ‘terms and conditions’. Tick the ‘required’ box to make this section required to be able to submit the form.
    The checkbox message section of a lead generation form on LinkedIn.
    • The next step is “Confirmation”. Create a custom thank you message in this section and select the call to action. You can choose from the following options: ‘visit company website’, ‘learn more’, ‘view now’, ‘download now’, ‘try now’. Then, enter the relevant URL to your call to action.
    The confirmation section of a lead generation form on LinkedIn.
    • The next step is ‘hidden fields’ and it’s optional. You can use this section for tracking purposes. These fields won’t be displayed to members but will be displayed in your Leads report.
    The hidden fields section of a lead generation form on LinkedIn.
    • Click save and that’s it! You created a lead form. Now your ad with lead form is ready.
    Review and launch your campaign on LinkedIn.
    • Click next to review and launch your campaign. Make sure your audience, budget, start/end dates are correct, your campaign group status is active.
    • If everything seems right, then click ‘launch campaign’!

    LinkedIn is one of the best social media platforms for businesses. Since every business is different, try different ways of advertising on LinkedIn to engage with your target audience, promote your products/services and grow your client base.
    Also, if you’re just getting started with LinkedIn’s Lead Generation Ads and looking to generate more leads, get in touch with us online or give us a call!