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LinkedIn InMails vs. Sponsored Messages

March 14, 2023

LinkedIn is among the best social media networks for B2B marketers, given that 80% of B2B leads come directly from the platform.



There are two drivers for LinkedIn’s success in lead generation: InMail and Sponsored Messages. These are two of the most popular features offered by LinkedIn Premium that B2B marketers can use to generate high-quality leads.



But which of the two should you choose in launching your prospecting campaigns?



That’s what we’ll answer here.





InMail offers various benefits to maximize the potential of LinkedIn in generating high-quality leads and boosting your sales. The benefits include (and are not limited to) the following:


  • You can message any users who fit your ideal customer, including those who don’t have a Premium account.
  • You have access to detailed reports and analytics to track the effectiveness of your InMail messages and allow you to change your strategy whenever necessary.
  • InMail provides credit rewards where you receive a return InMail credit for every message sent and answered within 90 days.





InMail can help you improve your sales funnel, but it also has its drawbacks that you should know about:


  • Sending InMail can quickly become costly, especially when you have to pay for each message sent. Plus, the most you can have is 150 credits per month.
  • LinkedIn’s spam filters are not very effective, resulting in many InMails ending up in the recipient’s spam folder.
  • It can take a while for prospects to respond to your InMails because users receive many InMails per day.


All in all, LinkedIn Inmail can be a valuable tool to help you reach out to any LinkedIn user, including those not on your connections list. However, there’s no guarantee that your recipients will read your as it can get lost in the recipient’s spam folder. 



What are Sponsored Messages?


Sponsored Messages is another premium feature offered by LinkedIn that B2B marketers can use for lead generation. This feature used to be called Sponsored InMail, but to avoid confusion with LinkedIn InMail, LinkedIn rebranded the service as Sponsored Messaging in 2019.



Sponsored Messaging comes in two forms: message ads and conversation ads. Here’s how they differ:


  • Message ads: These are targeted ads with a single call-to-action button. You can also include an image banner for your desktop ad version to improve branding impact. You can also use this like InMail, where you target out-of-network users and send them valuable content straight to their LinkedIn inboxes.
  • Conversation ads: These are targeted ads as well, but with these, you can set up multiple call-to-action buttons so prospects can access any offers they want. For example, your buttons will redirect them to your landing page or Lead Gen Forms with one click.




Sponsored messaging offers plenty of benefits for your B2B lead generation efforts. Here are some of them:


  • There’s no character limit for the ads you send, so you can provide as much information as you need. But remember: You’re still talking to them in their inboxes, and short messages generally perform better.
  • Your messages will have higher visibility because your messages go directly to your prospects’ LinkedIn inboxes without risking the spam folder.
  • You can get deeper insights into your target market by knowing which roles at what companies are taking action on your LinkedIn messages. You also get access to detailed click reporting to show how many people interact with your messages.




No feature is perfect. So here are the downsides to Sponsored Messages:


  • Your leads can’t respond directly to your Sponsored Messages; they can only take action. With this, your leads can’t ask questions and clarify things when needed. But what you can do to avoid this is to make your messages clear and concise.
  • All your messages will have a “sponsored” tag, so your recipients will know that you’re not sending an organic message from the get-go. We all know how most people are allergic to sponsored ads.
  • You have to invest more time to get the most out of Sponsored Messages. You need a dedicated landing page or conversion form to see if people are engaging with your message.


With all the features Sponsored Messages offer, it’s ideal if you’re promoting events, webinars, or want to get more personal with your LinkedIn marketing. But it’s not the best for building personal connections.



Key Differences: InMail vs. Sponsored Messages


Now that you know the basics of LinkedIn InMail and Sponsored Messages, here’s a quick look at the key differences between them:



InMail Sponsored Messages
Accessibility To avail of InMail, you need to subscribe to a LinkedIn Premium account. You don’t have to pay for a Premium subscription; you only need a Campaign Manager account.
Bulk Messaging Since InMail is for encouraging personalized interaction, bulk messages are only available for LinkedIn Recruiter accounts. Sponsored Messages allows you to send bulk messages to all active members who fit your buyer persona.
Notifications Recipients will get a notification when they open their LinkedIn account and a reminder within 3 days of receiving the message. Sponsored Messages do not trigger any notifications, but the recipients can see the ads in their inbox once they log in to the platform.
Interaction Recipients can respond directly to your message, allowing you to continue the conversation under the same thread. Your prospects can’t directly respond to your message. Instead, you redirect them to a landing page or contact form to continue the interaction.
Analytics The amount of analytics you get depends on your subscription type. You have access to metrics and reports of your ads through Campaign Manager.



Launch More Effective Campaigns on LinkedIn


LinkedIn InMail and Sponsored Messages are two of the most powerful B2B lead generation tools. With InMail, you can send personalized messages to your prospects, while sponsored messaging allows you to reach out to more people with ads in their LinkedIn inboxes. Of course, both options have pros and cons, and it’s up to you to decide which works better for your team.



If you want to achieve the highest ROI with your marketing strategies on LinkedIn, it’s best to work together with LinkedIn experts like ScaleUpSales. Our team can spearhead your journey to generating more leads and increasing your conversion rate on LinkedIn.



Ready to launch successful prospecting campaigns on LinkedIn? Contact us today!