Realising how to find your ideal prospects has become a key part of almost every marketing campaign out there.
If you happen to be a Business to Business (B2B) or Software as a Service (SaaS) company that is looking for new customers, chances are you would find most of them on LinkedIn.
This article is our attempt at explaining to you everything that you need to know about finding the right B2B opportunities using LinkedIn targeting. Keep reading!
LinkedIn Targeting Options
If you’re an experienced digital marketer, we’re guessing that you’re familiar with the many targeting options available to you on the different digital networks out there. Most social platforms allow you to target people based on demographics, interests and more. LinkedIn targeting, however, has many options. This includes the above, but also what people do professionally.
1. LinkedIn Targeting: Location
Location is the only mandatory option when it comes to LinkedIn targeting. You can be specific about it and pick a city or go broad and target people by region or even country.
This targeting option basically allows you to target your ads towards people based on the location shown on their profile or their IP address. You can also exclude locations if you wish so.
2. LinkedIn Targeting: Company
Company is the first optional LinkedIn targeting facet, and it contains numerous sub-options that you can choose from. You can target people based on industry, company connections, size, number of followers, and more. Most of these targeting options are pretty self-explanatory, so we won’t go into detail about how each works, just a few.
First off, there are company connections that allow you to reach 1st-degree connections of employees at companies of your choosing. Please note that this option only works for companies with 500 employees or more.
Then we have the company industry which, as the name suggests, allows you to target the primary industry of the user’s employment.
The third option is company size which allows you to target users based on their company’s size. This option relies on the number of employees listed on the LinkedIn page of the company.
Additionally, LinkedIn targeting allows you to reach users based on their company name, found on their personal LinkedIn pages.
Lastly, there is the company followers option which basically enables you to target people who follow you. This option is only functional once you link your LinkedIn page with your ads account.
3. LinkedIn Targeting: Demographics
The demographics targeting options on LinkedIn include two separate facets: age and gender. Member age is a rough estimation based on the user’s profile information, while gender is obviously based on what they choose on their profile.
4. LinkedIn Targeting: Education
LinkedIn targeting also allows you to reach people based on their education. You have options for fields of study, schools and degrees.
Fields of study allow you to focus on the major area of study of members. Member schools let you reach people based on the school, university, or college they attended and completed their studies at. Lastly, degrees lets you pick people based on what rank they achieved (Graduate/Master’s/PhD).
5. LinkedIn Targeting: Job Experience
When it comes to targeting people based on their job experience, LinkedIn gives you many options. First, you can target them based on their job function, based on the standardised grouping of whatever title they have on their profile.
Then there is job seniority. It lets you reach users based on their rank and influence in their currently listed position. Don’t worry about updates since LinkedIn’s intricate algorithms always keep track of any changes performed by users.
Further, we have member skills, which allows you to reach users with certain keywords in their skills section.
Lastly, we have years of experience, which, as the name already suggests, allows you to target users based on their years of experience in professional life.
6. LinkedIn Targeting: Interests and Traits
The last main LinkedIn targeting option is Interests and Traits, and it allows you to target members based on shared and individual interests as well as member traits. These are based on what members input in their profile information and their different actions and engagements online. For example, if you have a CRM SaaS, you can target LinkedIn users who are interested in user experience.
LinkedIn Targeting Explained
Setting up your LinkedIn targeting is done in your Campaign Manager. If you aren’t very familiar with digital marketing, all these different ad targeting options can be a bit overwhelming.
So, we recommend that before you do anything, take a seat and think thoroughly about who you want to reach. Once you figure all of that out, you can then start to go through the different targeting options and attempt to reach your desired audience.
The Next Step
If you still don’t have a clear idea about which combination of targeting options works best for your company, you should start off slow and rely on LinkedIn’s own templates. They offer numerous audience templates that allow you to target your audience based on job titles, recent grads, etc.
However, if you are unsure about which LinkedIn template will work best for your company, you can always test-run different campaigns simultaneously and see which one is more successful. Start by just changing a few facets and keep fine-tuning from there until you discover what works best for you.
In addition to refining your campaign, running multiple campaigns at once can also help you to improve your reach significantly.
Lastly, you should always avoid hyper-targeting when using LinkedIn targeting options. As is the case with any digital marketing campaign, having a limited scale will hurt your reach and not broaden it. LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager shows you an estimated reach as well as a suggested range when you start tweaking the different options that will determine your audience. It will also notify you in case your audience becomes too narrow.
LinkedIn’s own recommendation for new advertisers is to have a target audience that is more than 50,000 for Text Ads and Sponsored content and around 15,000 or more for Message Ads.
What this means is that you will find LinkedIn’s targeting options for:
- Sponsored Content ads: video ads, image ads, carousel ads.
- InMail ads: ads sent to individuals through LinkedIn’s messenger.
- Text ads: ads based on PPC (pay-per-click) modelling, featured in the sidebar.
Once you log into your Campaign Manager, you will be asked to choose an objective for your ad campaign. Then, you will define your target audience using the numerous options given to you, and you will specify what your objectives are. LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager will sometimes suggest ads based on your objectives.
Niche LinkedIn Targeting
One of the biggest things that hold people back from running a marketing campaign on LinkedIn is the cost. To be fair, this is a very justified response given the fact that CPCs on LinkedIn can be seven times as costly as other digital platforms.
What Does That Mean?
The first implication of this is the fact is that you have little to no room for error. And if you want a positive ROI, you have to get things right from the get-go. Worry not, however, since we will share with you a tip that has helped us succeed in our clients’ campaigns.
The main challenge for new people on LinkedIn, besides tight budgets, is the necessity to target an extremely specific group of users. And through experience, we have realised that targeting people using common methods such as sector and job title simply didn’t cut it.
So, What Can You Do?
The solution is to turn to members who belong to relevant groups. Of course, we could still include job titles and such, but the initial targeting based on groups is still key.
How well does this work?
The issue with targeting based on sector, however, is that it only goes so far. In other words, if you are marketing something with a broad interest base, then job functions or sector-based targeting can be quite effective. However, if you need something more specific, you will find yourself running out of options in no time.
Here’s an Example
For example, let’s assume that you are marketing a webinar to people who specialise in Adwords campaigns. Using the “target by Industries” option, the closest you can get to these people is by selecting the ‘Marketing & Advertising’ option.
That’s still a bit broad. So, you can do a better job by Job Function to get a bit more specific. Your best option in this department is obviously ‘Marketing’.
You could also target using the job title, of course, which has some useful options. However, capturing the specificities of a job is a time-consuming, annoying process, and if it misses, you’re done for.
And this is where targeting using ‘Member Groups’ truly shines. The theory behind this is that only people who are genuinely interested in a topic will join its respective group. Fortunately for us (and you), this is indeed true in practice, for the most part.
Now, going back to our initial task of targeting people who run Adwords campaigns, a simple search on LinkedIn shows us that there are many relevant groups that we can target.
The number of members in these groups aren’t really huge, but sometimes, the smaller, the better, especially when trying to target a specific group of individuals. If you want to further expand your reach, you can always target groups containing people who are interested in related/similar topics to your target one.
Head back to the LinkedIn campaign manager, and change your targeting option to ‘Member Groups’, and you will see that there are numerous options that you can pick up from the moment you type anything.
Don’t worry, that’s normal. If you feel like you can’t handle LinkedIn targeting yourself, just get in touch, and a LinkedIn Ads specialist will guide you through the whole process. We’re here to make your LinkedIn campaigns a success.