Reaching Your Exact Audience Using LinkedIn’s Comprehensive Demographic Targeting (Part 1)

In advertising, demographic targeting provides the greatest opportunity for reaching your target audience at the lowest Cost-Per-Acquisition (CPA) possible. Frequently, advertisers ignore LinkedIn in their efforts. Yet, LinkedIn provides an extremely valuable advertising source that can provide the highest volume and lowest CPA depending on your target demographic. In spite of other challenges, targeting around specific job types, job titles, seniority within job titles, companies or groups, LinkedIn gives you an excellent platform for reaching your exact target audience. LinkedIn provides more traditional targeting options around Location, Company, Job Title, School, Skills, Group, Gender and Age additionally. Since targeting around Location, Gender and Age doesn’t provide anything unique, we will focus on the more specific targeting around Job Title, Company, School, Skills and Group. In this post and future posts, we discuss the types of targeting available in LinkedIn, some challenges presented by their use and some simple tips for creating campaigns around your targets.

Combating LinkedIn Self-Description Values

When targeting around values inside LinkedIn, one of the biggest challenges comes from the open format of the values. Since LinkedIn members self-identify their Job Title, Skills and Groups the values vary dramatically even for the same job. LinkedIn helps you combat that problem by suggesting values that meet your desired targeting as you are entering your targeting. Through the use of “Similar job titles”, “Similar skills” and “specific … groups”, you build a target audience around your particular theme by starting with a general descriptive keyword and expanding to build a comprehensive audience.

Segmenting your Audience using Best Practices

Picking how to segment audience revolves around two major issues, primarily targeting narrow themes so you can make your ads and your landing pages as relevant as possible, and having an audience that is large enough to be worth targeting. LinkedIn gives you a running estimate of the total audience, so start with a narrow focus and expand the theme cautiously until the audience large enough to allow for testing. As soon as you have a large enough audience, make sure that you have covered any additional targets that fit into that theme before moving on to another focused theme.

Segmenting using Job Title2013-07-02_1347

For example, assume you are attempting to focus on targeting Advertising Professionals.  Start by targeting by Job Title and enter “Advertising” in the text box. LinkedIn will suggest common titles like “Advertising Manager” and “Advertising Consultant.” As you begin to select these options, additional “Similar Job Titles” will appear like “Media Planner.” Remember to keep your job types focused and don’t expand beyond a tightly associated group.  Once you have created a group of a few thousand people consider if splitting people into seniority or into more focused groups makes sense in the context of your campaigns.

Segmenting using Job Function2013-07-29_1236

If you want to test larger and more general themes before attempting specific Job Titles, using “Job function and/or seniority” provides somewhat more general targeting option. In this example, select the Job Title section and the “Job function and/or seniority” radio button. To attempt to target a similar group of people, select the “Marketing” and “Media and Communication” options. In this example, we want decision makers, so we have selected the “Owner” and “Partner” seniority levels. Optimally, we split this and other similarly themed campaigns picking “Director”, “Manager” and other levels to see how the campaigns perform relative to different seniority levels.


Segmenting using Company Size


Finally, we want to target smaller companies with these campaigns since that better suits our example product offering. Using LinkedIn’s “Company” targeting we limit the focus of our campaigns to companies of 200 employees or less. Select the Company targeting section, then “Select categories of companies.” Select the check-boxes under “Company Size” to limit your focus to 1-200 employees. This limitation puts a different spin on the roles and responsibilities of the seniority positions we selected in the previous step. You must take into consideration of what types of activities and decisions someone who is a “partner” or “owner” of a smaller company makes versus the same title at a larger company.

LinkedIn provides a very complex targeting system with tons of options for creating very narrow focus. The free-form nature of parts of the system makes defining your targeting more challenging than some other advertising options, but with that challenge comes opportunity to hone your adverting targeting to a very sharp and focused edge. Next time, Part 2, we will discuss “Company” targeting used with “Skills” to approach the same types of targeting we attempted today in a completely different way.