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How to Run Highly-Targeted and Successful LinkedIn Ads

How to Run Highly-Targeted and Successful LinkedIn Ads
How to Run Highly-Targeted and Successful LinkedIn Ads

The main difference between targeting on LinkedIn and other platforms is that it targets people based on what they do professionally instead of what they do in their personal lives. As of February 2024, there are about 1 billion members and 134.5 million active users on LinkedIn daily, making it a digital goldmine for marketers looking to reach the right audience. 

But while LinkedIn’s algorithm offers precise targeting options to reach decision-makers, influencers, and industry leaders, you need to follow the best practices for targeting on LinkedIn to get your business in front of the right people. So, this guide cuts through the complexities of LinkedIn targeting, and you’ll learn practical tips to ensure your campaigns reach your ideal audience. 

LinkedIn Ad Targeting Best Practices

Location is Mandatory!

Location targeting on LinkedIn is your foundational step towards reaching the right audience. Start by defining your geographical scope. Whether you're aiming for local engagement in a specific city or broad exposure across an entire country, LinkedIn allows you to tailor your targeting to match your objectives. Location is a mandatory targeting field in LinkedIn ads. 

Here’s an example of how location is critical in your ad targeting: if you own a brick-and-mortar store or are a local service provider, precise location targeting helps your ads reach potential customers within your vicinity. On the other hand, if your business operates country-wide or globally, broader location targeting may be more suitable to cast a wider net and maximize your reach. 

Note that LinkedIn uses the location a LinkedIn member has included in their profile or their IP address for location targeting.

Build Your Audience

Once you've defined your location parameters, it's time to refine your target audience further by selecting from a diverse range of targeting attributes offered by LinkedIn. This step allows you to narrow down your audience based on specific criteria that align with your campaign objectives.

LinkedIn offers a comprehensive array of targeting attributes to help you tailor your audience based on various factors, such as company affiliation, demographics, education, job experience, and interests. 

  • Company: Target professionals based on their connection or followers of specific companies, industry affiliations, company size, or even by targeting employees of a particular company by name.

  • Demographics: Refine your audience based on age and gender demographics to ensure your ads are relevant to your target demographic.

  • Education: Target professionals based on their educational background, including degrees, fields of study, and member educational institutions attended.

  • Job Experience: Narrow down your audience based on their job function, seniority level, job title, skills, and years of experience in the industry.

  • Interests: Engage with professionals based on their group affiliations and personal interests to ensure your ads are relevant and compelling to your audience's preferences.

Utilize an Audience Template

Utilizing audience templates can be a great starting point for marketers new to LinkedIn advertising or seeking a streamlined approach to targeting. These pre-defined templates allow you to target specific audience segments without the need for manual selection of targeting options, saving you time and effort during campaign setup.

LinkedIn offers a range of pre-configured templates tailored to various industries and roles. This includes event planners, medical doctors, IT decision-makers, and professionals with specific educational backgrounds. Templates make it faster to set up and launch your campaign. But makse sure to also review and customize the template to ensure it aligns with your specific campaign objectives and audience preferences.

Avoid Hyper-Targeting

While precision targeting is essential for reaching your ideal audience, it's crucial to strike a balance between specificity and scale. Hyper-targeting, where you narrow your audience down too much, can limit the reach of your campaigns and hinder their effectiveness, especially in the initial stages.

LinkedIn recommends avoiding hyper-targeting by limiting the number of targeting facets to two or three. This ensures that your audience size remains sufficiently large to achieve meaningful results. For Sponsored Content and Text Ads, aim for a target audience of over 50,000, while for Message Ads, target an audience of over 15,000.

The Campaign Manager tool on LinkedIn provides estimated reach and suggested audience size ranges to guide you in building your audience while ensuring a balance between precision and scale. Remember that finding the right balance between reach and specificity may require iteration and refinement over time. Continuously monitor the performance of your campaigns and adjust your targeting strategies accordingly to optimize results.

Use Custom Targeting Options

Beyond traditional targeting methods, LinkedIn offers custom targeting options to expand your reach and engage with a broader yet still relevant audience. Two key custom targeting options offered by LinkedIn are Audience Expansion and Lookalike Audiences. 

  • Audience Expansion: This allows you to reach a broader yet still relevant audience beyond your initial targeting criteria. This option is particularly useful for increasing the reach of your campaigns while maintaining relevance to your target audience.

  • Lookalike Audiences: This allows you to target LinkedIn members who resemble your existing customer base or ideal audience. LinkedIn's algorithms analyze the characteristics and behaviors of your current audience to identify similar profiles, enabling you to expand your reach to new prospects with high potential for engagement and conversion.

Additionally, LinkedIn offers Matched Audiences, a set of targeting options that allow you to customize your audience based on your own business data. According to LinkedIn, this set of targeting options helps you re-engage website visitors with Website Retargeting, nurture prospects with Contact Targeting, and run account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns with Account Targeting.

Know Your Audience With Free Insights

Understanding your audience is key to crafting effective LinkedIn ad campaigns that resonate with your target demographic. LinkedIn offers valuable audience insights, providing actionable intelligence about your audience's interests, locations, jobs, and companies. Leveraging these insights allows you to optimize your targeting and ensure that your ads are reaching the right people.

Audience insights on LinkedIn are derived from the platform's vast database of professional profiles, offering a wealth of information to inform your advertising strategies. These insights give you information about your audience's preferences, behaviors, and demographics, so you can make data-driven decisions to enhance the effectiveness of your campaigns.

Tailor Your Content to Your Audience

By understanding the unique needs and preferences of different audience segments, you can create compelling content that drives engagement and conversion. Customize your content based on the characteristics and interests of your target audience. For example:

  • C-Level Executives: Deliver thought leadership content that addresses the strategic challenges and trends relevant to their roles. Offer insights and perspectives that demonstrate your expertise and provide value to these decision-makers.

  • Senior Individual Members: Tailor your content to offer practical solutions and actionable insights that address the day-to-day challenges faced by these professionals. Focus on delivering tangible benefits and showcasing how your product or service can help them achieve their goals.

Monitor Campaign Performance

Keep a close watch on your campaign's performance through LinkedIn's Campaign Manager. Once you've gathered enough data:

  • Click the Demographics tab to access detailed insights into your audience's characteristics.

  • Utilize these insights to refine your content, targeting, segmentation, and testing strategies.

  • Analyze clicks, conversions, and key metrics like CTR and cost per conversion to gauge ad effectiveness.

  • Make data-driven adjustments to optimize future campaigns based on your analysis.

A/B Test Your Audiences

A/B testing allows you to compare the effectiveness of different targeting criteria and optimize your campaigns for maximum impact. Here's a simplified approach to conducting an A/B test on targeting:

  • Create Two Similar Campaigns: Start by creating two identical campaigns, then duplicate one and slightly adjust the targeting parameters.

  • Isolate Changes: Alter only a few targeting criteria at a time to isolate which variations impact performance. For example, test Skills versus Job Titles, Industry versus Job Function, etc.

  • Analyze Results: Monitor the performance of both campaigns closely and analyze key metrics to determine which targeting criteria yield the best results.

  • Refine Over Time: Continuously refine your targeting based on A/B test results to learn how to reach your most valuable audience segments effectively.

You can repeat this process as many times as necessary to fine-tune your targeting criteria over time and optimize your campaigns to reach the people who matter most to your company. 

Need Help Optimizing Your LinkedIn Ads to Reach the Right Audience?

Mastering LinkedIn advertising requires precise targeting and strategic optimization to reach your ideal audience effectively. With grobot, our LinkedIn marketing automation solution, you can streamline your ad campaigns, from audience selection to running automated campaigns and message scheduling, and leverage powerful features like automated video outreach and comprehensive campaign analytics.

If you're ready to take your LinkedIn advertising to the next level and ensure your message resonates with the right audience every time, reach out to our team now to learn more.


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