Ask the Experts: The Insider’s Guide to Targeting

May 27, 2016

LinkedIn content campaign strategist Pavels Kilivniks and team lead Katerina Ram respond to audience questions posed during our recent customer webcast, “The Insider’s Guide to Targeting: How to Find Your Audience on LinkedIn.”

LinkedIn presenters always reserve ten minutes or more at the end of a webcast to field audience questions. But sometimes ten minutes just isn’t enough—especially when attendees ask such great questions. Here are six from our most recent customer webcast that were so good we thought we’d take a deeper dive and share the long-form answers with our blog audience.

Q. When it comes to targeting by group, how can I figure out what groups have the audience I’m looking for?

A. Group targeting is a great way to reach people who may be interested in your product or service. To make sure you target the right groups, you’ll need to do a little detective work up front.

First, look up some profiles for people in your target audience—this is where buyer personas come in handy. See which groups your ideal buyers belong to and compile a short list of professional or trade associations you want to target.

You can also use the search function on LinkedIn to find relevant groups. Simply enter a group type (e.g., “technology”) in the search box at the top of the page and LinkedIn will generate a list of every group in that category. Usually the more active and bigger groups will appear at the top of the list. If you find one that’s particularly good, click on “Similar” right below the description to see a list of additional groups you may also want to target. You can also enter a the name of a specific group and the Campaign Manager tool will generate a list of comparable groups.

Q. If I run several campaigns with the same target audience (2 million+), am I competing with myself in the ad auctions?

A. When you have two campaigns with exactly the same content, the first one will be served until you reach your frequency cap. Because LinkedIn is very focused on member experience, frequency caps are strictly enforced. This means that if an ad was already served to a particular member he or she will not see it again for 48 hours. That being said, an audience of more than two million is broad enough to reach your daily caps in each campaign because the audience is that large.

On the other hand, If you have two campaigns with very small audiences, then there will be a little bit of “competition” between the two because once you reach your cap, the second campaign will not be active—so you will see no impressions at all. That’s because frequency caps prevent you from serving those ads to the same target audience.

To minimize audience overlap, consider splitting your one target audience into several distinct groups and then customizing your content for each. For example, if you were targeting all company sizes, you could eliminate overlap by segmenting your audiences into three distinct company size brackets: small 1-50, medium 51-500, and large 501+.

Q. What are your thoughts on manually switching off campaigns during particular hours or overnight?

A. For Sponsored Content and other ad units on LinkedIn, we recommend that you wait 7-10 days before you consider pausing or stopping your campaigns. The idea is to keep your campaigns running long enough to get strong relevancy and good click-through rates. Also, if you’re constantly shutting off campaigns and then turning them back on, you may find that the auction landscape looks quite different than it did when you originally entered.

And while there are certainly traffic patterns on the site—times of the week when there’s more engagement and less engagement—turning on ads only during popular and competitive days could ultimately hurt your campaigns depending on what you’re bidding. Interestingly enough, we find that engagement rates often spike over the weekend when members have more idle time to engage with content.

You may also want to do some A/B testing before you decide to switch off a campaign to gauge what’s impacting campaign performance.

Q. Does a member have to have the word “senior” in their profile for them to be listed as senior?

A. No. LinkedIn’s inference algorithms are super smart. Seniority and others facets (e.g., Function, Company Size, Company Industry, Gender, Age, and Geography) are derived from member profiles. If we know, for example,  that a person has been with a company for more than two years that person will be mapped as an individual contributor and will appear as “senior” in the Campaign Manager tool. The algorithm is able to determine if a particular member is entry level or not because it takes into account their whole career path.

Q. My campaign ended a month ago and there is no data available for audience Click Demographics. Why would that be?  

A. Campaign Manager tracks the demographics of members who click on your Sponsored Content. You can use this data to understand who’s interacting with your posts and refine your targeting strategy to improve conversion rates.

Click intelligence data begins to appear as soon as you accumulate 15-20 clicks in each demographic section. If you’re running a small campaign and only accumulating a couple of clicks per day, it will take longer for the system to generate charts. Generally speaking, larger campaigns will begin to rack up clicks faster and demographic data will appear several days after launch.

You can learn more about LinkedIn’s click intelligence reporting in this Lynda.com video or this Help Center article.

Q. Is there a way to save targets and personas, or re-use those built for prior campaigns, or do you need to start over each time in the Campaign Manager?

A. Glad you asked. LinkedIn is introducing several new Campaign Manager features in early June of 2016, including a “Save audience as template” option. Soon you’ll be able to save your selected targeting  facets as a template that you can apply to any future campaigns across any account you have access to—without having to manually enter your targeting criteria over and over again. Here’s how it works.

If you missed this webcast and want to learn more about how to find your audience on LinkedIn, you can view it on demand now

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