Insights & News

Httpool’s Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Targeting

By Nemanja Djakovic, LinkedIn Lead Serbia

 

LinkedIn users have a strong motive to keep their profiles updated, accurate and interesting to help discover new employment opportunities, build their personal brand and for networking purposes. With all of this improving their material status in the offline world. Such an environment also helps advertisers find the right audience for the message they are sending.

LinkedIn offers several ways to target. One based on the characteristics of the user’s profile, the other using re-targeting options such as the LinkedIn Insight Tag for site visitors, retargeting of those who previously responded to your ads, or contacts from an uploaded list you already have.

In this post, we will primarily deal with the first group – profile-based professional attributes. We’ve provided a graphical representation of these attributes by group, and will explain each of them individually. And if you’re left wanting more, in our previous post you can explore all the different ad formats available on LinkedIn.

LinkedInTargetingCapabilities

But before we get started, let’s go back to basics.

To launch a campaign you need a minimum target of 300 users however, the recommended audience size is 50k or more for single image and text ads, and over 15k for message ads.

In any case, when in doubt, target wider and then narrow to what works best for you. In the Demographic reporting tab, found in the Campaign Manager, you have access to the user information of those reacting to your ads, including their job titles, function and company industries. From here, you have all the data needed to target your message accordingly.

Audience Templates

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You can also use predefined audiences offered by LinkedIn in relation to your desired goals. Choosing a location as your target is a great way to get started and get a taste of ​​what LinkedIn advertising can really achieve.

Location and Language

The first and only mandatory target for you to define is location, and you can do this at state, city and district level. This does not apply to Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Syria and North Korea, which are prohibited.

Back in January 2020, LinkedIn updated their data, names and regions, so for any campaigns set up in 2019 it’s good to know you now also have the option of recent and permanent locations. This is calculated based on a change in a user’s IP address when accessing their profile, this information can be crucial for you when segmenting. For example, launching Message Ads that are only targeted at permanent, long-term locations, while also targeting travellers with other attributes.

Worldwide, LinkedIn has over 760 million users with an average of one new user every 3 seconds, and at current, Serbia is at almost a million users, with this number is continuously growing.

LinkedIn classifies the user by the language in which their profile is set, with the default being English. You don’t necessarily have to define a language when targeting, but if you do, the copy should always be in the language you selected.

You have probably encountered the problem of being rejected in Serbian. This is because languages ​​from the ex-Yu space are not currently supported in LinkedIn advertising. It is possible that ads in these languages ​​sometimes “pass”, but there is no procedure that guarantees success. It’s also a possibility that your ads could be stopped after a few days but in most cases they’ll run their course without any problems.

Together with colleagues from around the region, we have launched a solution to this problem. The pilot language is Hungarian and is scheduled for Q2 – 2021 – followed by the first former Yuglosavia languages.

 

Audience Attributes

Below we’ll be taking a look into the Audience attributes tab and analsying each of the sections falling under it.

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Job Experience

Job Function | Job Titles | Job Seniorities | Years of Exp. | Skills

Job Functions 

This attribute is based on a standardised grouping of occupations.

For example, if you choose Medical as the profession, it will include doctors, nurses, surgeons, but also veterinarians, dentists and all other medical professionals.

PRO TIP: Combine the Job Function with the Seniority option to reach key decision makers in a specific area. For example: Information Technology, Engineering, and Operations as job functions, paired with the Seniority targeting Senior, Manager, Director, VP, CXO, and Owner to get a target demographic of  Decision Makers in the IT field.

 

Job Titles

The LinkedIn algorithm groups Job Titles into standardised names to target. Let’s say all engineers belong to the Engineering Job Function (section above), but it’s logical to target more specifically, as Software Engineers and Petroleum Drilling Engineers will think completely differently. Which is why we have the Job Titles option available.

PRO TIP: Be careful not to reduce your reach by only marketing towards a few titles. When you start searching for a job role, LinkedIn will automatically suggest similar targets. You also have the feature to target users based on their previous roles, meaning they are not currently holding the position you are targeting, which can be quite a creative approach to your marketing campaigns.

 

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Job Seniority

The most commonly used attribute for selecting target audiences, primarily due to the user’s rank and the potential impact they have on purchase decisions. However, it is important to know how LinkedIn classifies function names at the seniority level to see success using this feature.

For example, a Senior Product Marketing Manager has a seniority of Manager, an Associate Consultant has a seniority of Entry, and a Doctor or Physician is classified as a Senior (Individual Contributor – IC’s).

PRO TIP: Individual Contributors (IC’s) often play a big role in purchase decisions – they are only marked as Senior in Campaign Manager, so it’s crucial to keep this in mind. Combining Seniority with Years of Experience can also help you target the perfect audience for your campaigns.

 

Below is a table explaining each seniority level, making it easier for you to understand how LinkedIn views them.

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Job Experience > Years of Experience

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As the name suggests, this feature allows you to target by a user’s years of experience. LinkedIn counts YoE by totaling up the experiences members list on their profiles; however, any gaps between roles on a user’s profile are thrown out and positions that overlap are not counted twice by LinkedIn. YoE options range from 1 – 12+ years, so anything over this period is automatically counted in the same category.

Job Experience > Member Skills

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Searching for Member Skills also operates through a keyword search, with LinkedIn scanning the entirety of each profile in search of those key phrases, not just those listed in the ‘Skills’ section. So, if a Job Title doesn’t offer you a satisfying target, this is where Member Skills come into play.

PRO TIP: If you’re selling Project Management software, a Job Title may not be the best solution due to multiple variations of this role across industry sectors. So, enter skills targeting, allowing you to cover a wide range of job titles that could be of interest to you.

 

COMPANY

Company Name | Industry | Growth Rate | Category | Size | Revenue

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Company Name

It is what it says on the tin – a search based on LinkedIn pages that members mark as their employers.

This is a very precise tool at your disposal. In combination with Seniority or Years of Experience – You really can achieve a lot here.

LinkedIn allows you to target up to 200 companies, schools, organisations all at once but if that’s not enough, then try the Matched Audiences option, allowing you to upload a file containing up to 300,000 companies.

 

Company Industry

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This refers to the primary activity marked on the company’s profile, allowing you to narrow down your target to members working in a particular sector.

PRO TIP: If your product is only applicable across one industry, e.g. Finance, then this is the target for you. Before you decide on this target, take a look at a few LinkedIn pages of your ideal customers and pay attention to which industry they belong to.

 

Company Growth Rate

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This feature is exclusive to LinkedIn, so make the most of it. Company Growth Rate allows you to target based on business performance and status. Whether you’re targeting startups, companies growing year by year or even those that are not performing well. These are all possibilities through the Company Growth Rate attribute.

 

Company Category

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This target is easily confused by many users with Industry, Company Category allows you to target companies belonging to special lists published by reputable institutions such as Forbes, Fortune, LinkedIn News Editors, for example, Fortune 500.

 

Company Size

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Referring to the opportunity of targeting companies by its number of employees. This is ideal for segmenting companies according to who your product or service is intended for e.g. small and medium enterprises, large corporations, etc.

PRO TIP: For this type of target, it is sometimes better to use the Exclude option when selecting the audience. If, for example, you are a startup that makes accounting software for small businesses, it is better to exclude segments of 201 and larger. This allows you to catch only users working for smaller organisations, strengthening the accuracy of your target audience.

 

Company Revenue

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A new option added in early October 2021, Company Revenue allows users to target based on revenue estimates for the previous year of the company in which they work. It’s important to remember, this is all about the company’s revenue, not their earnings.

The algorithm extracts this data from 3rd party apps dealing with company revenue and cross references it with LinkedIn filters related to Company Size and Company Industry.

 

EDUCATION

Schools | Degrees | Fields of Study

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Within the Education section, you have three targets available: Schools, Degrees and Fields of Study.

 

School, College or University – If you are an alumni organisation, you can use Schools targeting to reach people who previously attended that institution who may be interested in joining or donating funds. Keep in mind that Schools is not a required field on a user’s profile, so it is possible that you will drastically reduce the audience size (minimum 300 for the campaign to start).

 

Also, it is important to include all subsections, for example taking a look at Harvard, you have the option to target Harvard University, Harvard Business School, Harvard Law and Harvard Medical, due to separate pages for each of these schools.

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Degrees – Target users by their level of education. This is great for educational institutions promoting master’s programmes allowing them to exclude users already holding this qualification. Pair with Job Function targeting (finance, accounting, IT) to create the perfect audience for your intended message.

 

Fields of Study – Target by direction. For example, those holding a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA), that you found using the degree target, can have a industry focus of Accounting or International Business for example, so narrow down your search.

 

INTERESTS

Interest | Member traits | Groups

Member Interests – In relation to the behaviour of LinkedIn users and their profile, the algorithm classifies users into a certain category of interests, helping with awareness and consideration campaigns. This is best combined with Function or Seniority segmentation.

Member Traits –  Another highly impactful target, Member Traits allows you to select categories including Career Changers, Ex-pat’s, Frequent Travellers etc.

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Product Interest (Feb. 2021) – A new targeting option, allows for selection to be made based on users’ demonstrated interests in news and announcements related to a particular type of software.

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Member Groups – This function allows the targeting of specific groups, just search your keyword and you’re good to go, e.g. Finance Club (840,000+ members) etc.

PRO TIP: Pair a location with a group, thus selecting all members of a group from a particular country.

 

DEMOGRAPHICS

Age | Gender

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Now this is one to watch. LinkedIn will not allow any attempts that can be in any way interpreted as discriminatory towards certain age groups or genders. Therefore, it will do its best to offer you other targeting options so that you do not use the Age and Gender criteria. 

This is why both factors have been drawn on the basis of other data, for example, the approximation of years is calculated on the basis of when the person finished high school and It is similar for gender. LinkedIn does not ask members for gender and age information.

 

Audience Expansion and Lookalike audiences

Both groups extend the target to people who are similar in professional characteristics and interests. However, there is are key differences when either of these two methods are used:

 

Lookalike Audiences – When you already have a well-defined (and thoroughly tested) audience, be it site visitors, those who have filled out LeadGen forms or left you an email, then use this method. 

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Audience Expansion – When you use ways of targeting by professional characteristics, e.g. the ways described in this text above. In this case, it can help you when you check audience expansion to include those that look like your target.

 

PRO TIP: Audience expansion will not extend the target to those people whose characteristics you excluded during the creation of the audience. So, say for example you don’t wish to target any Unpaid seniority level users, then exclude them, thus limiting the audience expansion from including those users.

So, when planning the next target audience for LinkedIn, don’t forget our pro tips for success.