If you haven’t done a LinkedIn ad campaign before, it’s hard to imagine what it might look like without some type of example.

So, here you go.

In fairness, this campaign was one of the “easier” and earlier ones for us; but it does help illustrate a lot of high-level concepts we’ll be talking about down the road.

The Opportunity

For this campaign, the opportunity was that Minneapolis hosted the Final Four.

We have a large employment practice; one of our niche areas is tip-pooling. And Minnesota happens to have a really unique tip-pooling statute.

With the Final Four in town, most of the downtown restaurants were booked up with parties. (This was obviously before the pandemic.) Because these parties were so large, the complicated tip-pooling statutes applied.

We came up with an ad pointed at local restaurant decision-makers, which alerted them about the unique statute and urged them to start complying with the statute before they got hit with a lawsuit (there were several lawsuits going on locally at the time).

The Audience

When I mentioned “easier” above, this is really what I meant: the audience wasn’t difficult to target, and the pool of users wasn’t too large (it’s harder to send a niche topic to a wide audience).

Here are the basic attributes of the audience we chose:

  • We limited the audience to Minnesota.
  • The industries we wanted were restaurant and hospitality.
  • We chose to limit by job title and selected ones we thought fit (as you can see above, owner, chef, VP of human resources, etc.).

Our audience size ended up being around 7,600 LinkedIn users.

The Ads


“Minnesota Restaurateurs: Get compliant with tip statutes before the Final Four.”

Because we had a specific audience in mind, we took the direct approach:

  • We mentioned our audience specifically at the beginning
  • We used a “get compliant or else” approach, since we had seen these issues pop up a lot (resulting in some hefty fines)

We’ll get into the whys and what other message types are good for ad campaigns, but for now, we’ll stick to (just) the facts.


We did some “A/B Testing” on this campaign. That means we used different messages and images to see which was more effective.

Images: We used the stock photo above since it was a well-known event (the logo is recognizable).

Because it was local and we’re well-known in the restaurant community, the other image we used was of the two attorneys who know this area of law. We thought there might be some personal recognition.

Headlines: We only used two variations here, both direct. Only one message had the “Minnesota restaurateurs” qualifier on it.

This resulted in four unique ads.

The Workflow

I call this the “workflow,” but I really mean the user-experience — what happens when someone clicks on the ad? Where do they go and what do they experience?

It’s also where users do the thing you want them to do.


There were a few options we had in terms of where that click sent users, including:

  • The article published on our firm website
  • The article published on JD Supra (oh yeah, a second set of analytics! More on that in another post)
  • A landing page on our website

We opted for the article published on our firm website, but we do a lot of landing pages for other campaigns. Our thinking here was that creating a separate landing page wouldn’t be worth the time or effort.


If there’s anything I’d go back and change on this campaign, it would be the call-to-action. It wasn’t as strong as it could have been – and by that, I mean the attorneys’ contact information was below-the-fold (this was before we had the ability to change sidebar content on article posts, so it wasn’t possible to move it up higher).

We didn’t explicitly say, “click here for more information” or “contact Joe Schmo at . . .” Nothing specific, but I strongly recommend you use a more obvious tactic (another subject for another day) that makes it apparent what the next step in this process is.

Our goal was to have users contact us for tip-pooling issues, of course, but whether or how it happened remained a mystery.


There are a hundred different ways you can set up the campaign’s budget, many involving the length of the campaign. My advice here is to not panic: don’t overthink this. Start basic and work your way up.

I’ll also note that I might be a bit of an outlier on this, but I don’t run campaigns for long periods of time. Why?

The (annoying) part about digital ads is the timestamp — it tells the audience when it was posted. So if you don’t update your ad on a regular basis, it looks out-of-date.

There’s an industry “philosophy” that you run campaigns for a month at a time. But I generally run campaigns from 4-7 days, planning in advance the daily or every-other-day changes to reset the timestamp clock. I’d rather publish shorter campaigns at a higher frequency than a longer time-period for the same set of ads and content.

(I can imagine the digital folks screaming at their screen right now)

I completely understand the science of longer campaigns, but I’ve got reasons . . . that I’m sure we’ll pick up in a future post.


Back to the budget.

We set this campaign to run for a week with no overall budget cap, but capped the daily budget to $50. At the end of the campaign, we were just under $300 for total spending.

The Results

Here’s what we got for $300 on an article that we had posted anyway. Plus some manual labor on my part.


I mention in this post about the “levels” of ROI. In short, these numbers are your Level 1 stats.

There are many more numbers you can access, but we keep our reporting statistics (to our firm) pretty simple.

So, impressions are the number of folks who scrolled past your ad.

Clicks are clicks…people who clicked through the link on your ad to your “landing page.”

And the Average CTR, let’s break that down.

CTR is short for click-through rate. Of the folks who scrolled past (impressions), what’s the percentage of click-throughs? In other words, the number of impressions divided by the number of clicks.

This was totally worth the time I spent creating it.

In this case, we had a 3.22% average CTR. According to the random internet searching I did (there aren’t too many benchmarks in legal), anything over 1% average CTR is a huge win.

Based on the numbers alone, we concluded this was a pretty successful campaign.

(This information alone is STILL a better value than a print ad, even if you don’t get any actionable data.)



Again, there’s more data to be mined here, but we like to look at the company names of folks who saw or clicked on our ad.

You may have a lot of company names with high impressions and no clicks. Not all companies show up, mind you. It changes over time, as LinkedIn only shows you certain companies. But the number of impressions doesn’t tell me a whole lot, other than our ads got served up to a lot of folks in those companies.

In our example, there were two companies that showed up that had both impression AND clicks. And as you can see, that “unlocked” another column: the average CTR. These were the folks who not only saw our ad but clicked on it. This tells me it’s a subject they’re interested in.


Cool, company names . . . now what?

That’s up to the attorney, of course.

If I were advising, I’d say look up those companies and see who YOU know or who you know is connected to folks who work there. Check lawsuits in that area, anything you might be able to help with. I know attorneys who have used this information to reach out over LinkedIn or email with more information.

Which is exactly what this attorney did. He reached out to the two companies (well, their contacts) and pitched the work.

Is this everything?

Not even close.

But compared to what we were spending on ads in targeted locations or how little we had to measure (let alone use!), this is a heck of a change. A welcomed one.


Laura Toledo is an LMA rockstar, tech geek, and Communications and Marketing Manager at Nilan Johnson Lewis. Connect with her on LinkedIn. Read her blog here.