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LinkedIn Sponsored Content Vs Message Ads | inSyte Blog

What’s the Difference Between LinkedIn Sponsored Content vs LinkedIn Message Ads? 

So you’ve decided to use LinkedIn to advertise your business. You’ve determined it’s the right platform for reaching your ideal customer, but you’re not quite sure how to go about it.

The good news is we’re here to help, in this article we’re going to go over the two main types of paid advertising on LinkedIn: LinkedIn sponsored content vs message ads. 

The bad news is, like most platforms, there isn’t a “one size fits all” solution. This article is a good starting point, but you’re going to want to experiment and refine your approach to what works for your specific business. But more on that later. 

LinkedIn Sponsored Content

LinkedIn’s sponsored content is a paid tool for sharing updates or ads with a broader audience. Normally only people who actively follow your LinkedIn page would see your updates, but LinkedIn sponsored content allows you to take these updates and share them to a larger audience of your choosing. 

You can also create direct sponsored content, which allows you to show updates to people without having it up on your business’ LinkedIn page. This is useful for more advertising centric messages you don’t necessarily want on your page. 

They can be single images, a carousel of multiple images, or even video content, along with accompanying copy. You can create LinkedIn sponsored content either by boosting an existing post or creating a direct sponsored post through the LinkedIn campaign manager. 

Sponsored content is most useful for growing your organic audience by encouraging users to follow your page if they like the content you’re putting out. This can benefit a variety of strategies from boosting SEO rankings to thought leadership in a particular industry. 

Direct sponsored content, on the other hand, is more suited to direct offers or advertising that you shouldn’t host on your business’ page. This is geared towards creating direct interest that nets you leads or sales, so they’re better suited for conversion or lead-based strategies.

LinkedIn Message Ads

LinkedIn Message Ads, formerly Sponsored Inmails, are a paid tool for sending direct messages to consumers via their LinkedIn inbox. The main difference is that they won’t show up on anyone’s LinkedIn feed, only in the messages tab that you use to communicate with other LinkedIn users.

They can include a greeting, call-to-action button, body text, a custom link, a custom footer and an optional lead form depending on the goal you select for your campaign. 

Message ads are most useful for sending personalised messages to consumers with a specific conversion goal in mind like leads, page visits or direct sales. Therefore, they lend themselves more to conversion or lead-based strategies. 

They’re great for getting more tailored messages out to your consumers and as an added bonus when done right they feel less like an ad.


Whichever you choose, it’s important to match your marketing tools to your specific objectives and needs.

As we mentioned in a previous article LinkedIn is an expensive platform, so you have to continually measure your spend against how much you’re earning in return. 

We’d love to give you a blanket recommendation on strategies that work for every business but, unfortunately, that’s just not possible. You’ll want to be constantly experimenting with every aspect of your campaign to see what works, from the creative to the medium and even the platform. 

On a positive note, once you find what works for your business you can usually automate the campaigns and they’ll continue to bring in more customers for a while to come. 


Here at Syte we specialise in bottom-line driven marketing and we have tons of experience managing LinkedIn campaigns for businesses, so reach out with the form below if you want to see how we can help you. 

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