LinkedIn advertising gives you a way of reaching a specific B2B audience with ads, videos, images, or inbox messages. Thanks to LinkedIn's customer targeting options, you can pinpoint the people you want your ads to be seen by.
LinkedIn Ads – How to Choose Your Target Audience
You can use LinkedIn's Campaign Manager platform to set up campaigns using several different advertising formats, but whichever one you choose, you can target your audience in the same way. First, you'll need to stipulate member locations and language details for your campaign.
You must select one or more locations. Your ads will then only be served to LinkedIn members who are in those places according to their profiles or IP addresses. Locations are set at a country or city/town level – so if you want to have ads appearing throughout the East Midlands, you’d need to select Derby, Nottingham and Leicester as locations (there aren’t county or regional targeting options).
You can filter your audience according to the language you are presenting your advert in so that it will be delivered to people who will understand it.
LinkedIn recommends that you then select a maximum of two extra categories within the following themes:
This theme includes categories relating to members' professional experience and skills:
Job Title – there are an array of standardised options to choose from, so you can find B2B buyers or professionals working in relevant job roles. So if you want to reach IT decision makers, you could select job titles CTO, CFO, IT Director, etc.
Job Seniority – you can ensure your ads are delivered to people who are likely to be decision makers – choose from: unpaid, entry level, training, senior, manager, director.
Years of Experience (YOE) – you can stipulate your ads are shown to people with specific amounts of professional experience in certain roles.
Skills – you can target people with skills that suggest they're likely to use the products or services that you sell. So if you sell, for example, CAD software, you can run ads to people who have added ‘CAD software’ or ‘CAD design’ as skills on their LinkedIn profiles.
This theme includes categories relating to the organisations that members work for:
Company Name – you can target members of up to 100 specific organisations. So if you want to target say, Rolls Royce, then you can run ads to just their employees. And if you wanted to target the housing sector, you could run ads to regional managers of the top ten house building companies in the country.
Company Industry – you can ensure your ads are only seen by people working for companies in particular industries. LinkedIn’s industry categories are fairly broad, but include:
- Consumer Goods
- Corporate Services
- Energy & Mining
- Hardware & Networking
- Health Care
- Media & Communications
- Public Administration
- Public Safety
- Real Estate
- Recreation & Travel
- Software & IT Services
- Transportation & Logistics
- Wellness & Fitness
Company Size – this option lets you target SMEs or large organisations. This is based on employee numbers:
- Myself only
- 2-10 Employees
- 11-50 Employees
- 51-200 Employees
- 201-500 Employees
- 501-1000 Employees
This theme includes categories relating to members' educational backgrounds:
Schools – this allows you to target people who have studied at specific schools, colleges or universities.
Degrees – you can stipulate that your ads are only served to members with particular types of degrees.
Fields of Study – you can target people who studied degrees in specific subjects.
This theme includes categories relating the members' business interests:
Interests – this enables you to select audience members who list certain business interests on their profiles.
Groups – you can also request that your adverts are only seen by members of specific LinkedIn Groups.
This final theme consists of categories relating to members' demographic data:
Age – you can specify that your ads are only delivered to members in certain age brackets. However, not everyone includes their age on their profile, so this may not be the best option to use.
Gender – you can select members by their gender, but it isn't compulsory for people to include this information on their profiles, so you may be better to use another option instead.
Other Targeting Methods
LinkedIn has an option called Matched Audiences, which allows you to target your website visitors, existing contacts and key people at specific companies, and also provides managed campaign programmes.
It's worth testing different targeting techniques to discover the most effective options for your business, but we'd also recommend getting expert advice. Just contact us to find out how we can help you to create LinkedIn campaigns that work.