How to Target on LinkedIn

Many marketers think of running ads on LinkedIn rather than on Facebook because their thought is ‘I’m a professional and this is a professional network whereas Facebook is a consumer network.’ This thought process is not the best way to market. Rather, look at targeting options available on the various platforms and discern if you can get to the intended audience. Also, consider that because the platforms are used for different activities. LinkedIn is a place for business and Facebook is more of an entertainment space. People naturally interact with these networks differently, the content being presented is also going to be completely different.

Why Digital Marketers Want to Target on LinkedIn

There are over 600 million users on LinkedIn and 27% of professionals have created a profile. Compared to Facebook’s 2.5 billion profiles, the pool of users is quite small. However, there is still a large population on this network for digital marketers to target. The info available on this network, breakdowns of the demographics, and layering techniques can be useful for running ads, understanding data, and working customers through a marketing funnel.

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Data & Options for Targeting on LinkedIn

The cold options for targeting an audience on LinkedIn include location, experience, company, education, interests, groups, and matched audiences (or remarketing) and there’s also a little bit of ABM (account-based marketing). Here, these options for targeting are broken down, but keep in mind that there are all kinds of layering considerations too.

Age, Gender, Location

  • Specific data the user fills out in his/her profile
  • IP address of the device being used to access the network
  • Mobile device location and data of a user while traveling

Experience

  • Student, intern, entry-level, mid-level, senior-level, executive
  • Specific job title
  • Number of years in a particular industry

Company

If a company on LinkedIn has over 500 followers, there’s an option to target those individuals. Think about the companies a client or competitor might be following and note that those could be good targeting options.

Education

  • Highest level completed: High school, Associate degree, BA, MA, Dr.
  • Schools users have graduated from
  • Field(s) of study

Groups & Interests

Just like other networks, LinkedIn is tracking data associated with user behavior including groups followed, likes, shares, and engagements. There are specific categories and traits that show trends in user interests. While groups can’t exclusively be advertised to, they can be used for layering with other details.

Narrowing Down a Well-Defined LinkedIn Audience

Targeting the audience necessary to attract customers requires paying attention to the data and spending time in the right places. Every business is going to have an individual approach to targeting and LinkedIn offers the ability to target in several ways by layering which better defines an audience. Note that there are ‘and’ and ‘or’ options for layering techniques to target the best audience. For example, picking more than one interest would be an ‘or’ situation (e.g. this interest or that interest). But if a particular ‘interest’ and ‘job title’ are chosen, it is an ‘and’ situation requiring both parameters to be met. This would narrow the audience rather than expanding it.

LinkedIn Audience Size

LinkedIn wants users to stay within an audience size of about 5,000 people. This is a helpful limitation to bear in mind because if audiences are narrowed down more than that, it’s really too much when considering the active users on LinkedIn’s network. With smaller audiences, there will inevitably be ad fatigue. The ad won’t be effective if users skip over it simply because they’ve seen it too often and LinkedIn does not offer metrics for how many times an individual has seen a particular ad.

Remarketing Strategies on LinkedIn

Some remarketing ways to target are ‘matched audiences’ on LinkedIn. This requires a piece of code or pixel code, that is placed in the header of any website so it is tracking data on all pages. This allows marketing professionals to remarket to people who have been to the website before. Think about users who have already visited the website and what content is useful to feed them next. This can be broken down further to target people who visited specific pages of the website.
The LinkedIn insight tag is useful for marketers even if there’s no intent to run ads because it gives demographic info that is collected on website visitors. When you start seeing interest and job titles and noticing trends it allows the remarketing audience to be built. At least 300 people are needed in a remarketing audience to even get started. While this may seem like a low number, remember that these are website visitors who actually log on and use the LinkedIn network.

Account-Based Marketing on LinkedIn

There’s an option to upload email addresses into LinkedIn to target. Those email addresses have to be matched to existing LinkedIn user accounts (so consider the differentiation between uploading personal vs. business emails and then what email users may have registered to their account). At least 1,000 clean emails are needed to target an email list on LinkedIn. From a prospecting standpoint, it could allow for getting in front of people already being targeted but when ads are sent it advances the sales cycle. Another option is to upload company names and web addresses. While the 1000 minimum is still needed, it allows for targeting specific companies and then layering further with seniority and/or job title. To simplify the manual upload process, there are also data integrations that can pull from a CRM and auto-feed into LinkedIn and vice versa.

Time & Effort on LinkedIn Targeting

In the grand scheme of websites globally, LinkedIn is the 57th most accessed website. In the US we are closer to 35th which is still pretty high. As a marketing professional, analyze the data and tools available. Put time and effort into the right places and work to refine and well-defined audiences to target. Also, bear in mind that just because people have a profile doesn’t mean they actually log in and use the network. It’s debatable but only about 25% to 50% of people who have a LinkedIn profile even log in. And furthermore, only 1% of people even post content when they’re on LinkedIn so it’s just not as active as other networks may be. Marketers use it a lot but consider whether the client does. Overall, LinkedIn is a great platform to target but always be thinking about content and how to target.