LinkedIn’s Audience Targeting Advantages for B2B Advertisers

Taylor Carmines / 3rd July 2019 / Comment / From the Blog

When it comes to social media advertising, Facebook is often the first platform that comes to advertisers’ minds. With around 1.5 billion active daily users and a diverse variety of targeting options, it’s hard to argue against Facebook’s case as the most prominent platform for paid social. However, if your focus is on B2B or your audiences are more accurately defined by profession-related characteristics, LinkedIn may very well satisfy your audience targeting needs in ways other social platforms can’t currently match.

Head to Head

Although Facebook features ad types like Instant Experiences and Stories which are unique to the platform, most other formats (image, video, lead gen, mail/messenger, and carousel) are also available on LinkedIn. Likewise, both platforms offer the standard demographic-based audience targeting dimensions advertisers have come to expect, such as gender, age, location, interest, and custom audiences built from loaded lists of contact info. Facebook has the edge when it comes to leveraging user lifestyle, interest, and purchasing behavior as targeting parameters in audience creation.

So where does LinkedIn set itself apart? The answer: an array of self-reported, normalized, and professionally-oriented targeting parameters. The outline below lists the audience targeting parameters currently available within LinkedIn- most of which are not offered by Facebook.

  Company

  • Company Connections*
  • Company Follower of*
  • Company Industries
  • Company Names
  • Company Size*

  Education

  • Degrees
  • Fields of Study
  • Schools

  Job Experience

  • Job Functions*
  • Job Seniorities*
  • Job Titles
  • Member Skills*
  • Years of Experience*

  Interests

  • Member Groups*
  • Member Interests*

   *Only available for LinkedIn

Although Degrees, Fields of Study, Schools, and Job Titles are all available for targeting within Facebook, these fields are often either out of date or not inputted into users’ profiles at all. Though Microsoft doesn’t provide data citing how often these fields are included in user profiles on LinkedIn, the platform’s more professional, business and networking-oriented nature makes it more likely that this type of information is included and up to date on user profiles. Additionally, Facebook only provides a limited range of available options for certain parameters. The availability of Job Titles that you can target on Facebook is especially limited, with seemingly no rhyme or reason to why some titles can be found but not others.

Refining Targeting Post-Launch

Even if you don’t have an exact idea of which combinations of the fields above you want to include in your audience targeting off the bat, you can leverage LinkedIn’s ‘Demographics’ and ‘Website Demographics’ tools (provided you have the LinkedIn Insight Tag in place) to help analyze performance. This allows you to cast a wide net initially, then make decisions on what audience parameters to specifically target (or exclude) based on performance.

In the example below, nearly 70% of the campaign’s clicks came from users with the job function ‘Healthcare Services’. Depending on the advertiser’s goals, it may be worthwhile to either only target users with this job function, or to exclude other job functions associated with users who have received impressions. This helps ensure that your budget is going towards only users that fit into the audiences you wish to target.

There are eight targeting parameters that can be further segmented via analysis with the Demographics tool.

Conclusion

Just like with Facebook, the types of audience targeting you’ll want to use in your LinkedIn campaigns depends entirely on your business and advertising objectives. Even though LinkedIn’s user base is roughly 25% of Facebook’s and CPCs are often much higher, the ability to ensure that your ads are only being served to specific users based on professionally-oriented targeting criteria (so you can target only CEOs and VPs of companies in a particular industry, for example) may make it worth considering making the jump over to LinkedIn for your next B2B paid social campaign.

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By Taylor Carmines