Sophisticated Sessions: How to Use LinkedIn Targeting Tools to Optimize Performance

May 30, 2017

Sophisticated Sessions: How to Use LinkedIn Targeting Tools to Optimize Performance

It takes a creative heart and a scientific mind to be an effective marketer. Data-driven content without creativity isn’t likely to compel many clicks. But eye-catching creative without data can struggle to find a relevant audience.

You likely don’t need any help creating great content. Once you bring the art, LinkedIn can help you with the science. We want to make sure our members see relevant, quality content in their feeds—so we are invested in helping marketers find their audience. Our platform is designed to show you exactly how and with whom your content is resonating. Then we make it easy to improve your results through testing and optimization.

Ready to put on your lab coat and start experimenting?

Get to Know Your Dashboard

LinkedIn Campaign Manager collects a treasure trove of data about your campaign. It automatically generates reports that help visualize exactly how your content is performing.

You’ll see two tabs at the top: Time Series and Demographics. By default, each tab displays the totals for all of your campaigns together. Scroll down beneath the graph to select individual campaigns. Click through the headers (Conversions, Leads, Performance, Social Actions, and Budget) for detailed information per campaign. Click the campaign name to examine each campaign’s results.

The Time Series tab shows your ads’ performance over any time period you specify:

Notice you can sort by eight different metrics including cost per click, conversions, and leads generated. You can also change the time frame displayed.

The Demographics tab is a powerful tool for seeing how well your content is performing with your target audience. This data can also help you identify audiences you might not have considered, but are reacting favorably to your ads.

Make sure to set up conversion tracking so you can see detailed information about your ads’ performance off of LinkedIn, in addition to performance on the platform.

Experiment with Audience Expansion

For your first experiment, try reaching out to audience segments you might not have considered in your initial setup. Use the “audience expansion” option to let LinkedIn’s algorithm find people who are similar to your target audience and may be interested in your offer.

Monitor your demographic reporting tab to see which segments of the expanded audience are worth including in future testing. It’s a quick way to get the data you need for future optimization.

Change up Your Criteria

You have no shortage of options for targeting criteria in Campaign Manager. It’s easy to set up copies of campaigns so you can test different LinkedIn targeting combinations. Here are a few pairs to test:

  • Titles Vs. Skills: Job titles are good for hyper-specific targeting, but Skills can uncover audiences that are still relevant to your offering.

  • Seniority Vs. Years of Experience: Seniority is a good baseline, but Years of Experience (plus Title or Function) might yield more relevant results

  • Industry Vs. Company: Industry can yield a bigger audience, which is good for gathering data and expanding your reach. Company is better for narrowing down to a several valuable accounts.

Target Decision Influencers

It’s tempting to focus on the top of the org chart, since executives are more likely to make the final decision. But these high-level managers don’t make decisions in a vacuum. You can use the Seniority criteria to target decision influencers.

These influencers could be middle managers, advisors, or even the people who will actually use your product daily. Decisions may be made from the top down, but they’re influenced from the bottom up. If your offer is relevant to decision influencers, it’s well worth the experiment to target ads directly to them.

Personalize to Audience Segments

Here’s a power tip that gets impressive results for our team. Run separate campaigns for subsets of your audience, and personalize your creative to match. For example, we targeted two audience subsets with our Rethink the B2B Buyer’s Journey campaign. We simply changed the headline to call out our two segments:

We saw much higher engagement on the two more targeted versions—with the same offer and the same visual.

Use your click demographics to see how you might subdivide your audience, then test smaller campaigns that call out specific segments.

Stay on Target

Marketing on LinkedIn is a journey of continual improvement. As your targeting gets more precise, your ads will perform better, which helps meet your goals and helps stretch your budget further. Take time to explore all the targeting options in Campaign Manager, and check your results regularly to find new opportunities for improvement.

To learn more about maximizing your results on LinkedIn, check out LinkedIn’s Sophisticated Sessions.