LinkedIn Introduces Custom Ad Delivery Methods

LinkedIn is finally up to speed in offering more sophisticated ad delivery methods on their social platform. This upgrade is taking shape in the form of three new features: Lookalike Audiences, Interest Targeting, and Audience Templates. So what does this mean for digital marketers?  Easier targeting? (Yes, please.)

Similar to Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn now allows marketers to better attract the correct audience with their advertising on the platform. These offerings allow advertisers to reach their ideal customer more efficiently and at a larger scale.

Although LinkedIn is a little behind the curve in rolling out these new targeting features, with Facebook releasing similar tools back in 2013, we are excited to harness these features in our own campaigns moving forward.

Here is what you need to know in order to make the most out of these new capabilities:

Lookalike Audiences

Lookalike Audiences

What Are They?

Lookalike Audiences are essentially, exactly what they sound like. They allow advertisers to create an audience that has similar interests, traits, and qualities as their most loyal and ideal customers, website visitors, and target accounts. The nice thing about this added feature is the simplicity it creates for advertisers. Now, the heavy lifting is shifted over to LinkedIn, who is able to automatically dig through its large user base (with over 610M professionals to be exact) and pull the individuals that best match a company’s target audience.

Creating lookalike audiences is a great way to grow your business and find customers that have similar traits and characteristics as your current customers. With this method, you can target your content towards those who may have a higher propensity to be interested in your business. For example, you could target individuals who best resemble customers who converted in the past.

How does this impact marketers?

We’ve seen great success using lookalike audience in our Facebook and Instagram campaigns, especially when layering on interest targeting. That being said, we’re looking forward to testing this new addition, especially since LinkedIn has more detailed targeting capabilities.

LinkedIn in general, is a great platform for B2B companies due to its granular targeting capabilities such as job titles, company size, skills, etc. These lookalike audiences will provide companies with the ability to easily grow their audience, while maintaining the quality of any incoming leads. With that said, companies can take that one step further and achieve a higher level of granularity by layering on demographic targeting on top of the lookalike audience.

Interest Targeting

What is it?

Interest targeting is perfect for advertisers looking to find people who are interested in the same professional topic. This new feature allows businesses to reach individuals with ads that are relevant to their specific interests, based on the content they engage with on LinkedIn. Currently, there are over 200 distinct interest categories to choose from including, Art and Entertainment, Politics and Law, and Finance and Economy.

Interests can be used alone, or stacked on top of one another to create a more specialized audience. Another important thing to note about interest targeting is that it incorporates a user’s history on Bing when considering which individuals to serve an ad to. For example, if an individual is engaging with technology and security content in their searches with Bing, they are a prime candidate for a tech-focused interest campaign.

How does this impact marketers?

With the introduction of interest targeting, LinkedIn is expanding audience beyond traditional demographic targeting. Instead of identifying audiences primarily on generic classifiers, such as age, gender, and location, marketers now have the ability to deliver their ads to people who truly care about the associated topics. This presents a huge opportunity for marketing B2C services or products to consumers who have interests outside their professional industry.

People can work in different fields, but be interested in the same professional topic. So, interest targeting allows you to reach people more broadly, rather than focusing in on a particular job role and alienating everybody else. An example of this phenomena could be a campaign that targets the interest Computer Security (antivirus). In traditional delivery methods, the default audience may solely include IT professionals, even though everyone can technically purchase computer security. Interest targeting thus, allows marketers to expand their audiences to avoid missing out on interested individuals who do not fall into one specific, associated career category.

Audience Templates

Audience Templates

What are they?

To further simplify the targeting process, LinkedIn has created audience templates that can be applied to your campaign with a single click. These pre-curated templates include audience traits like skills, job titles, and groups. The caveat with this method; however, is that you are not able to customize your audiences to the same degree as you could with the previous two features. Although this method shortens the amount of time spent upfront creating a campaign, you are limited to the 20 B2B audience options LinkedIn has predetermined.                          

How does this impact marketers?

Audience Templates make it much easier to set up an ad campaign in a fraction of the time. While this method may not be ideal for larger companies who have clearly-defined and established audience segments, it is perfect for smaller businesses who do not have the time or resources to dedicate towards setting up an intricate campaign.

This tool can be very beneficial to anyone who is new to advertising on LinkedIn, while also providing experienced professionals ideas of how to expand their preexisting audience. However, in the case where a business has an established audience, manually selecting your preferable audience characteristics would still be the best way to go. If you fall into this category, no need to worry! On the bright side, if you create a custom audience, you have the option to save it as a template across all of your accounts if you anticipate using it in future campaigns.


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About the author

Media Analyst, Tailwind

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