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LinkedIn Advertising, Part 3: Targeting Capabilities

Published: January 12, 2015

Author: 3Q/DEPT

Thanks to our first two posts in this series, you’ve learned what the different ad types are on LinkedIn, and you’ve learned why you should be advertising there in the first place. Now it’s time to learn how to specify who you are going to reach. That’s right: it’s targeting time. targeting options The image above shows a quick list of all of the various targeting options; we’ll break the most important ones down below. Please note: you can exclude targeting options as well. The only caveat is that you cannot include and exclude targeting within the same targeting type (e.g. you CANNOT include 501-1000 company size and exclude 1-500 company size).

Company, Industry, and Company Size Targeting

Company Company Name targeting has never worked well for me, though industry and company size have been fairly effective. Company Name targeting is a method by which you select companies by name to specifically target your message to employees of those companies. I’ve had almost no success using that targeting option, so you might want to avoid it entirely. Industry targeting allows you to target people of various job functions within an industry. This has been a successful group for me in the past, so if you have a specific industry in mind that would be perfect for your product or service, this might be the targeting option for you! Company size tends to limit the overall reach of your audience (think of it as excluding the people who don’t work for a company the size you specified), but that doesn’t mean it can’t be a valuable inclusion or exclusion option. Just make sure to choose wisely!

Job title, Job Function, and Seniority

Job Title These targeting options are pretty self-explanatory. Job title focuses targeting based on a user’s current job title, and function targeting allows you to be a tad more general (LinkedIn has an aggregation of 20 different titles). Both tend to work well if you have a particular type of audience in mind. Seniority lets you target users based on their seniority level at their current job. This is valuable if  you are trying to reach high-level individuals, but it can cut your audience size considerably. Again: tread carefully.

Schools, Skills, and Groups

Schools Targeting skills lets you target based on a skill that a user claims to have on their profile. Using this in tandem with industry can be a great way to get very niche. Groups allow you to target users who are members of particular LinkedIn groups. Both are valuable because they allow you to extend your targeting even further. Schools allow you to target based on what school a user attended. I’d advise you not to use this option often as it does not fit with a lot of advertising objectives.

Targeting Best Practices

I couldn’t let you walk away without some targeting best practices, could I? Be sure to take the following into account when working on your campaigns:

-Study your *current* customers to help you target *potential* customers. Ask yourself these questions:

–Who are your current customers?

–What do their LI profiles look like?

-Cast a wide net

–Increase your chances of finding what works

–Use those learnings to refine future targeting

-Mix and match targets to drill down to specific audience (LinkedIn targeting is inclusive)

       -100k minimum (200k – 400k is recommended) for an audience -Company targeting – anecdotally worst-performing type -If utilizing multiple targets within one campaign, make sure they are related to each other so you can effectively tailor ad copy. How do you use LinkedIn targeting to reach your audience? Have a killer tip you want to share? Let us know in the comments!

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