Five ways to transform engagement with LinkedIn targeting

Techniques to put you in front of the influencers and decision-makers that matter to you

June 9, 2016

If you’re a B2B marketer then it’s pretty much a given that your target audience is on LinkedIn. There are more than 433 million professionals who can be reached through our platform, including 40 million people who make buying decisions and another 61 million senior people who influence those choices.

Of course an audience of the world’s professionals only really counts if you can make sure you’re getting in front of the professionals that matter to you. The good news is: that’s where the real strength of LinkedIn lies.

The nature of LinkedIn profiles and the high levels of engagement of professionals on our platform generate a unique combination of data streams. We’re seeing more and more marketers making imaginative use of these parameters when it comes to targeting audiences on LinkedIn – and being rewarded with big increases in engagement rates.

By testing different approaches to defining an audience, they’re able to optimise Sponsored Content, Display Ads or Sponsored InMail around the targeting parameters that generate the greatest response. And by tailoring their approach to promoting content to different groups, they generate greater stand-out in the LinkedIn feed.

We’ll be sharing more details of the brands making great use of LinkedIn targeting in some of our upcoming posts. But in the meantime, here’s a quick guide to the techniques at your disposal to boost engagement through targeting on LinkedIn:

Rich demographic data

LinkedIn members are dedicated to their profiles, making them effective shop windows which reflect their personal brand and professional aspirations. They are highly motivated to keep their profiles up to date – and to include a complete set of information on their background, skills and interests.

For marketers, member profiles provide a rich stream of self-defined, up-to-date data that adds up to a unique set of targeting parameters. Depending on your objectives, you can apply filters such as job function, seniority, industry or geography, even specific company name. Knowing precisely which group you are targeting is a great basis for personalising creative to bring out relevance.

Interest-based filtering

The way people engage with LinkedIn doesn’t just help you identify who they are. It also produces clear signals about what they are interested in – and this can be invaluable when you’re targeting particular specialisms within a sector (HR professionals who take charge of employee development or talent management, for example).

You can detect and target around interests using the skills that members identify on their profiles, the subjects they’ve studied and courses they’ve taken, and the LinkedIn Groups they belong to.

Persona targeting

We’ve used in-depth analysis of demographic and behavioural data to construct 40 persona-based audience segments for use in LinkedIn targeting. These put you in front of valuable audiences, such as members of IT Buying Committees, Business Travellers or Opinion Leaders. Combine them with other parameters such as Geography or Industry and you have a powerful tool for quickly identifying a relevant target audience at scale.

Leverage your own audience data

Account-based targeting on LinkedIn enables you to match your target account list against the more than 8 million Company Pages on the platform, to reach the most relevant people amongst the specific businesses you are interested in.

Whether you’re targeting existing or lapsed customers, new prospects or a particular group of companies united by a common issue, integrating your data with LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities can hold the key to achieving your account-based marketing (ABM) objectives.

Striking the right balance

It’s tempting to get carried away with all of the targeting parameters available on LinkedIn – and end up loading your campaign with as many different filters as you can think of. This is rarely the best approach to achieving your objectives. Instead, the emphasis should be on including as many relevant professionals as possible. That’s why the most effective campaigns start with two or three well-selected targeting parameters, which are then refined and optimised on the basis of the most valuable leads they generate.

In our own experience promoting LinkedIn Marketing Solutions on LinkedIn, we’ve found that testing different targeting approaches to promote the same content can be a highly effective way of settling on the approach that works best. It provides you with creative freedom to try different ways of connecting to the right professional audience – without the risk of excluding relevant people in the process.

You’ll find more ideas and inspiration for engaging with LinkedIn’s unique professional audience in our new eBook, Marketing to who Matters.