The Complete Guide to LinkedIn InMail Ads

KLIK Staff

January 27, 2022

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Have you considered adding InMail to your marketing mix? The InMail ad format is offered on Linkedin as just one way to target your audience with a message sent directly to a user’s LinkedIn inbox. Find out how these ads can contribute to your marketing success rather than cluttering up a user’s inbox.

What is InMail?

InMail ads are private messages sent to users on LinkedIn that can be viewed on both mobile and desktop. These messages are only sent to the same user once every 45 days. Because these messages are sent to a user’s inbox, users are able to open them and access the message or link within the ad at a later date. Lead volume has the potential to be higher when compared to ads that are seen once in-feed. CTR% for InMail ads can be as high as 50%, much higher than Sponsored Content ads. 

One reason InMail can be cost-effective for advertising is because bidding is done on a cost-per-send and is much cheaper when compared to Sponsored Content. The bidding range varies depending on the audience and geo selected, but oftentimes you will see bids below $1, whereas Sponsored Content bids are set much higher and can range from as low as $4, up to $25 per click.

InMail Assets

There are a few assets you will need before creating InMail ads. Below are the requirements:

Sender: This will be who the message is from. We recommend selecting a person that is involved with the sale, admission, or service offered instead of using the company page to add personalization. 

Subject: This should be engaging to catch the user’s attention and has a max character count of 60. 

Message Text: This is the main message for the user. This should be concise and highlight any important value props. Bulleted format to highlight important aspects of the product or service allows for a quick read. This should be max 1500 characters, but recommended to keep it under 500 to avoid losing the reader’s attention.

Custom footer: This is optional and can be used for a disclaimer or terms & conditions.

Call to Action: The call to action can be anything, as there is not a pre-selected list of options like in other ad formats. The character count max is 20.

Image: The image is optional, but recommended. If an image is not added in, the advertiser runs the risk of having another ad show in its place when someone views your ad on desktop. The banner image should be 300×250 and only shown on desktop.

Prospecting & Remarketing Audiences

Aside from their low costs, InMail ads are a popular choice for advertisers to target both prospecting and remarketing audiences. Running InMail & Sponsored Content at the same time to the same audience can be an effective way to advertise to a prospecting audience. Running Sponsored Content covers the awareness stage in the marketing funnel while following up with an InMail message can push users into the consideration & conversion stages. When targeting large prospecting audiences over 1 million in size, using both ad formats will help reinforce your message.

On the other hand, InMail is a very effective tool for remarketing. An advertiser has the ability to create a remarketing audience in Linkedin, whether it be based on website visits, a list upload, or completed lead generation forms. Creating an InMail campaign targeting these audiences can be very effective and usually have a higher CTL%.

How Users Interact with InMail Ads

InMail ads are sent directly to a user’s inbox. Users that receive InMail ads are not able to reply to these messages and are instead given a call-to-action button. Depending on the advertiser’s preference, this button can open up a lead generation form for a user to fill out or take the user to a landing page. InMail ads also allow advertisers to hyperlink part of the text in the message, which can improve CTR%, and allow for further engagement from the user. In addition to this, advertisers can select an image that will be shown to users who open the message on desktop. A user can click on this image as well to be taken to a URL of the advertiser’s choosing. It is best practice to link this image to a home page where users can learn more about the product or service or link to a landing page with a lead form on it.


InMail often has lead data come in a few days after launching because a user can click on it whenever they want once it’s in their inbox. If no leads are coming in initially, just continue to monitor as they will often come in days later. This may also impact when down-funnel data is reported. To monitor performance, we recommend looking at week-over-week and month-over-month views. 

Best Practices:

  • Make the sender a person rather than using the company’s LinkedIn page to add more personalization.
  • Always add an image if possible. This will avoid another product’s ad being shown in the receiver’s inbox.
  • Personalize the message by using dynamic text such as %FIRSTNAME% to automatically insert the user’s name into the message.
  • Use bullet points to create easy-to-read messages.
  • Send a test message to your inbox to make sure the customization works.
  • Add hyperlinks to the body of the message to boost CTR%.
  • Opening with an inviting question in the copy may help boost ad performance.
  • Run InMail alongside Sponsored Content ads for large audiences or use InMail for a remarketing audience to push users down the funnel.

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