Cold Email or Sponsored Messages on LinkedIn — Which is Better?

Recently, we were asked the question: Which technique will receive a better open rate for a B2B campaign — InMail or email? While the open rate on InMail is almost always better than cold email, open rate is just one factor to consider. Take the following into account when choosing where to run your B2B campaign.

Open Rates

We’ve seen typical open rates on LinkedIn Sponsored Message Campaigns range from 30% to as high as 70% on some of our older campaigns. As with email, the open rate typically increases over time as more folks who are less active log back into LinkedIn.

On cold email, we would expect a much lower open rate (5-15%). What open rate your campaign will capture all depends on multiple contributing factors, including the congruence of your offer to your audience. The craft of running a cold email campaign can be trickier than sponsored message campaigns as well.

The Risks of Cold Email Campaigns

On cold email campaigns, we recommend considering multiple campaigns depending on the list size — and don’t forget to send from a shared IP. Sending too many cold emails from your brand’s usual IP (where you might send your newsletter from) could hurt your domain reputation. This puts your automated emails at risk of ending up in spam folders. Not to mention, if your IP address gets flagged as spam, even your personal emails could bypass the recipient’s inbox when sent from the same IP. Missing the inbox can throw quite a wrench in your business communications.

Another factor to consider in cold email campaigns is list purchasing, which can easily put you over budget on small campaigns.

Key Takeaways:

When choosing where to run your next B2B campaign, either option has the potential to yield desired results. If you’re concerned with the cost of getting a list of cold emails, we recommend combining a tool like with LinkedIn Sales Navigator to create your own email list. If you’re not comfortable sending cold emails, start with the InMail campaign while you complete the setup to safely deliver cold emails.