LinkedIn Targeting Strategies

When it comes to targeting professionals, the LinkedIn advertising platform is second to none. The interface is easy to use and provides many targeting options to reach the millions of users across the LinkedIn network. 

So, how can we use these levers to reach the right people and maximize ROI?

The difference between a mediocre campaign and a prosperous one begins with your targeting strategy and how you think about your audience. Having the right strategy can help optimize your campaign and increase conversion rates.
Target audiences on LinkedIn.

By taking the time to focus on targeting the right users, you ensure you aren’t wasting ad spend on users that won't be interested in your offer. The key is having a strong targeting strategy using a combination of LinkedIn’s options to have your ads shown to the correct audience.


The Right Audience Size

Finding the right audience size for your campaign can be tricky. This, of course, depends on budgets and campaign objectives, but once you are able to find that hot spot of qualified users, you’ll see an increase in performance.

When building out your audiences, it is important to keep in mind that audience size and CPCs have an inverse proportional relationship:

  • Smaller audiences will have higher CPCs
  • Larger audiences will have lower CPCs

So while you are trying to narrow down your audience to the “perfect” LinkedIn user, remember that even though you are targeting more qualified users, they will be more expensive to reach. 

The platform provides a “Forecasted Results” tool that shows your current audience size and projected engagement results. This is a good tool to refer to when building your audience to confirm your audience size and how your targeting is broken down.

Forecasted Results on LinkedIn.

Optimal audience sizes for general campaigns should be over 5,000 users and no more than 100,000 users. There are some instances where you may want larger audiences, such as brand awareness campaigns to maximize reach. 

Using LinkedIn Matched Audiences

Matched audiences on LinkedIn are often overlooked due to the strong targeting options already provided on the platform. While LinkedIn’s targeting features on the UI work well for most advertisers, using matched list audiences can take your campaigns to the next level. 

LinkedIn Matched Audiences.

There are three types of matched list audiences on LinkedIn that you should take advantage of:


1. Email List Targeting

Email List Targeting uses uploaded leads from your customer database, layered with LinkedIn’s targeting to build a highly qualified audience. To do this, you need a list of prospecting customer emails to upload and LinkedIn will match these emails with the platform data. By doing this, you can reach quality users at a lower price.

The only restriction here is that the list must be big enough to match with at least 300 emails on LinkedIn or else the audience is too small to be used. 


2. Account-Based Marketing (ABM)

Account-Based Marketing is the bread and butter for B2B marketing. Using a list of companies you want to target, LinkedIn will match the company names from your list with the millions of company pages on the platform. 

The advantage here is that you can reach users in the entire company, and then layer on job titles or seniorities to make sure you’re reaching the right people. This feature is unique to LinkedIn and should be taken advantage of since the platform is so business oriented.


3. Website Retargeting

Website Retargeting is low hanging fruit as these users have already engaged with your website. These users are high quality and already further down the funnel, so they should be easier to convert. Using website retargeting lists should be a priority.


Refine Your Audience with Layering and Exclusions

The LinkedIn platform allows you to choose from many targeting options in order to reach the right people. Starting off with a more general audience base (job functions, job title, large uploaded lists, etc.) you can then layer on or exclude further attributes to ensure you are reaching the right people.

Let’s say we want to target senior level digital marketers from startup companies. 

Layering and Exclusions on LinkedIn.

Starting with marketing job functions, it shows a target audience of over 2 million users. The marketing job function is so broad and could be referring to sales marketing or field marketing, etc.

Adding attributes to Refine Audiences.

By layering in the company size, member skills, and job seniorities, our new audience is refined down to users who are in marketing AND must meet the following criteria. With the new layers, your audience now consists of senior level digital marketers, from smaller companies, which was the initial target audience.

Even then, there will still be some irrelevant users who fall in your audience bucket. You can refine a bit further and exclude any type of fields i.e. sales marketing job titles, as seen below:

Exclusions of Job Titles.


Demographic Reporting

After you have already built out your audiences and your campaigns are running, LinkedIn provides another powerful tool to strengthen your targeting, demographic reporting:

Demographic Reporting on LinkedIn.

This reporting tool shows who your ads have been shown to the most, and how much they have engaged. This data helps refine your audience even further by revealing any gaps or attributes that you could have missed out on. 

For example, we may have started targeting only marketing job functions. But the report shows us that there is strong engagement from the business development field and those users are converting. You can then circle back and add Business Development to your job functions to strengthen your audience and drive more conversions.



These are a few important examples to keep in mind when building your target audience. Each of these features can help strengthen different aspects of your targeting to ensure your ads are being shown to the right people. Taking advantage of these strategies, combined with LinkedIn’s powerful networking platform, will help drive the results you need to reach your business goals. 

Need help running your LinkedIn marketing? Contact us and we’d be happy to talk LinkedIn strategy with you.

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