Why Interest Targeting is a game changer for tech marketers

Targeting by meaningful professional interest solves three key challenges for B2B tech marketers – here’s how

February 26, 2019

Why Interest Targeting is a game changer for tech marketers

Tech marketers have a particular challenge when it comes to targeting. More people and more functions are involved in our buying decisions than ever before. Crucially though, they are not all involved in the same way – and they’re not all involved at the same time.

Influencing a tech buying decision involves identifying and engaging all the people involved in the process – but it also means engaging those people at the moments they are adopting their tech-buying or tech-influencing personas. It’s not enough to know who is part of the decision. What’s vital is being able to zoom in on the moments when they are a part of it. You need to reach all the people who are relevant, at the moment when they are relevant.

LinkedIn recently conducted the largest ever study of tech buying. When we surveyed close to 5,000 LinkedIn members in France, Germany, The Netherlands and the UK, we found that four out of five employees on average are touched by the tech buying process. They may be involved in scoping out needs, shortlisting and selecting suppliers, or providing the feedback that will decide whether a business sticks or twists with a tech vendor. These people are often hidden from demographic targeting, because their job title doesn’t define them as part of the IT department of part of the tech buying process. It would be inefficient to attempt to reach all of them, all of the time. However, it’s invaluable to be able to reach them when they occupying the tech buying mindset.

The three reasons why interest targeting matters

That’s why Interest Targeting on LinkedIn is a real game-changer for tech. It enables you to target all of the people across different functions who are taking a meaningful, active interest in your category – and to do so at the moment when they are taking that interest.

For B2B tech marketers this makes a difference to three very important objectives: it can help you reach everyone involved in the buying process, including all of the hidden members of buying committees; it ensures you’re reaching them when their business is in the market for a solution, and when they are involved in shaping that decision; and it helps you reach out with content and marketing messages that are tailored to the specific issues that are driving the purchase.

How is interest targeting different to standard behavioural targeting?

Behavioural targeting has a bad rap in B2B marketing. If you’ve been followed around the web by ads for irrelevant businesses based on a link you clicked on months before, then you’ll understand why. The crucial difference between this type of behavioural targeting and Interest Targeting on LinkedIn is triangulation. Using LinkedIn data, we’re able to bring together different sources of insight to identify genuine professional interest that’s relevant to your business.

Interest Targeting on LinkedIn uses deep signals of interest based on the way that members engage with content. We track explicit signals such as content that is clicked on, liked, commented on and shared – and we get extra context from the topics and pages that people follow. From next month, we’ll be layering in data from Bing searches as well, adding another highly relevant signal to the mix. By bringing these sources together, our models ensure that the interest you’re targeting is interest that matters.

How to target by interest on LinkedIn

You can access Interest Targeting through the Objective Based Advertising experience in the updated LinkedIn Campaign Manager. Once you’ve selected an advertising objective, you can choose to start building your audience by interest, and then choose the interest categories that are relevant to you. You can also choose to layer on additional targeting criteria such as job function or seniority, if you want to create campaigns that are tailored to the role of different people in your buying process. The Objective Based Advertising interface gives you a forecast of projected reach and results for your campaign – so you’ll be able to check that you’re balancing precision with the scale you need to achieve your goals.

Building an interest-based content strategy for tech

Interest Targeting on LinkedIn isn’t just a content delivery mechanism – it’s also a powerful content planning mechanism. Having the confidence that you’re reaching relevant people at a moment of active consideration enables you to create assets to suit that phase in the buying journey. The ability to create different campaigns for the different job functions showing an interest means you can tailor Sponsored Content to their likely needs and agendas. The B2B tech marketers who make the most effective use of Interest Targeting will be those that build their content strategies around these extra capabilities.

This is a hugely exciting feature to be able to launch – we can’t wait to see what people do with it.