Any Linkedin advertising agency worth their salt will understand the importance of taking the time to build an audience based on the fundamentals of successful targeting.
LinkedIn is ideal for B2B advertising because it enables users to create ad campaigns that can be targeted to the most lucrative platform users to encourage them to convert. This is because the channel relies on key user data that takes stock of users’ activity, such as engagement and search engine behaviour, to gauge whether they’re a lucrative lead or not.
Ultimately, the best targets are company decision makers. But even so, there are a few recommended practices to adhere to when working on the targeting side of your campaign.
LinkedIn Ads Targeting: 8 Top Practices
The key to any successful ad campaign lies within effective targeting. These top five practices will help you do just that.
1 – Aim High (And Wide)
First things first, start with a broad audience so that you can then refine and narrow it later. You will be able to see after a few days of your campaign being live what audiences are working/responding best and what ones aren’t.
This will be defined in your KPIs as to which areas are engaging the most.
2 – Mix Up Categories
The trick to targeting is understanding that your audience must be predominantly made up from company decision makers. Once you’ve outlined yours, this can then help you refine your audiences by targeting combined categories (for example, ‘seniority’ with ‘job function’).
3 – Aim for the Right Range Per Ad Type
In short, this means avoiding hyper-targeting, and instead focusing on two or three targeting facets only. For sponsored or text ads, a good range is to target circa 50,000 users (or more, but no less). With message ads, you can go lower with 15,000 (or more, but no less).
Don’t feel like you’re in the dark with any of this; your Campaign Manager function on your dashboard will offer suggested ranges and their estimated reaches to guide you all the way.
All of this, coupled with user-testing, helps teach you what facets work well for your ads and what don’t.
4 – Find Your “Sweet Spot”
We touched on this briefly earlier; you can aim wide with your audience size and then narrow it down.
When the time comes to do this, you will need to find your “sweet spot” audience size. Naturally this means aiming for somewhere in the middle of an overly broad audience, and one that is too narrow.
This is particularly important if your ad campaign is aimed at users in multiple industries. If this is the case, avoid the urge to lump all these industries into one ad. This will make your audience too broad.
Also, on the flipside, keep in mind that audiences that are too small (LinkedIn recommends aiming for 1000 users, minimum) will harm your efforts too.
5 – Smart Audience Expansion
LinkedIn has a particular tool called ‘Smart Audience Expansion’ that allows you to further target by honing in on current audiences (if you’ve used LinkedIn for ad campaigns before).
How it works is it allows you to create a “lookalike” audience based on current audiences by using data that selects users with similar attributes.
This is simply a function you switch on in your dashboard; so it’s super simple. Another selling point of this feature is it allows you to exclude certain audience parameters too. This is useful if you’re worried your ad may be displayed to a competitor, or if your ad will be delivered to people without decision-making authority.
However, you can even skip the middleman and go straight to LinkedIn’s recently added feature, Lookalike Audiences, which creates mirrored audiences via the Matched Audience tool.
6 – LinkedIn Interest Targeting
One of the many segments you can use in your targeting is ‘interests’.
Interest data on LinkedIn is collated via what users search for in Bing and what posts they interact with on the platform. This feature is still rather new, so it can be worth user-testing it before launching your campaign.
7 – Avoid this LinkedIn Gaffe
Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that targeting via ‘age’ is fruitful and failsafe. Instead, targeting via ‘years of experience’ is the better option.
Even if you persist with age targeting, be mindful that LinkedIn calculates a user’s age based on when they graduated from their education institution, which doesn’t necessarily mean they are of a certain age.
This is why opting in for ‘years of experience’ is a better option. Also, when it comes to bidding, LinkedIn will generate a higher suggested bid if you include ‘years of experience’ over ‘age’, meaning a potentially more profitable ROI.
Top tip: pairing ‘years of experience’ with ‘seniority’ is a wise targeting combination. But either way; always keep in the back of your mind that targeting company decision makers (which may not necessarily be users at C-level) is the winning solution.
8 – Do Your Research
This means familiarising yourself with certain LinkedIn features, such as Demographics Reporting and Audience Testing, to build the most lucrative campaign.
We cannot stress this enough: before your campaign goes live; TEST, TEST, TEST. However carefully and meticulously you build your audience, not every combination is a winner, so test them out first to find what works. This will save you both time and money; meaning both will be well-spent.
Here’s how to test on LinkedIn:
- Create two different types of the same ad type (e.g.: carousel, InMail, etc.) and use different copy/images/banners/CTAs/etc, and see which performs best with the test audiences.
- When testing which is the best ad type for your campaign, create two similar ads to test via a different ad type (being sure to use the same audience, daily budget, etc), and see which the audience responds best to.
- Create and then duplicate an ad, and then, with one ad only, change the audience targeting.
LinkedIn Demographic Reporting
Once you’ve created a new Matched Audience, LinkedIn will then enable a feature called Website Demographics for the audience. Bear in mind, however, that this feature will not be activated until your ad is distributed to 300 or more users.
The purpose of Website Demographics is to rank certain targeting options (i.e.: job function, industry, etc.) via a percentage calculated from total pageviews/percent change for a set amount of time to see which has the best and worst engagement levels.
This feature is particularly useful for those on a limited budget, and if your audience isn’t typically known for engaging with ads. It can also help you split your audience into smaller, more specific ones when the time comes to deviate from your broad audience.
This also comes in handy for audience-testing with retargeting campaigns.
Once you get a firm grip on how important the audience-building aspect of campaign creation is, you can feel safe in the knowledge that your campaign’s engagement rate will be profitable.
The key takeaway here is always – test your ads before they go live.
If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through LinkedIn advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at email@example.com to speak with someone on our team.