The meme “on the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog” dates back almost 25 years.
The anonymous nature of most internet use is great for dogs, and for others who want to keep a low profile, but it’s frustrating for marketers who want to understand their audience. And it is particularly frustrating for B2B marketers, who often need to reach very specialist audiences.
Why B2B marketers need to profile website audiences
It’s impossible to judge the success of a niche B2B campaign by just counting anonymous page views. My blog post might reach ten thousand readers, but unless some of those readers are in my target demographic, it could still be a failure as a piece of B2B content marketing.
Conversely if my paid media campaign reaches just a hundred people, but half of those are prospective buyers of my high-end B2B service, then it could be a huge success.
So it is really valuable for B2B marketers to have a way of profiling website visitors, to learn about the characteristics of their audience.
Existing audience profiling tools are limited
There are already a few ways of building website audience profiles. For example Google Analytics provides geographic (country/city) and technographic (device type/browser version) information. And if you enable the Display Advertising features in Google Analytics you will also get information about Google’s affinity categories and in-market segments, some of which are relevant for B2B.
There are also many paid subscription tools that use reverse IP lookups to determine organisation names of anonymous visitors. They provide a few useful hints about your audience, but they are only a few pieces of a complex jigsaw.
New profiling capabilities from LinkedIn
LinkedIn has unique access to professional information about its 500 million users. Now it is promising to share some of that information to shine more light on the characteristics of website audiences that matter most for B2B marketers.
LinkedIn Website Demographics is a free tool that promises to profile your website audience based on information that LinkedIn knows about your visitors. The dimensions include:
• Job title
• Job seniority
• Job function
• Company size
Some of these overlap with existing profiling tools – in particular, location and country are already quite well covered by Google Analytics.
But dimensions like “industry” and “seniority” will add valuable detail that is difficult or impossible to obtain from other sources.
Get ready to use LinkedIn Website Demographics
LinkedIn Website Demographics has not yet been released so we don’t have final details on how to use it.
But first impressions are that it will be driven by the existing LinkedIn Insight Tag and by the LinkedIn remarketing audiences which are controlled using that tag.
Like most remarketing-type technologies it will not be retrospective – it will take time for the audiences to build up – and it’s likely to be subject to a minimum audience size (for privacy reasons).
So if you want to be ready for LinkedIn Website Demographics, there is some “plumbing” you should put in place now so that your audiences have time to build up to a workable size:
1. Sign up for a LinkedIn Ads account, if you don’t already have one, and grab the customized LinkedIn Insight Tag code from the Tools/Conversion Tracking menu.
2. Make sure your LinkedIn Insight Tag code is deployed across your website and anywhere else that you want to track (such as campaign landing pages). Google Tag Manager will simplify this job.
3. Set up some audiences in the “Matched Audiences” part of LinkedIn Ads. At a minimum, you’ll want an audience for “all visitors”. You will probably want to create some more specialised audiences as well, for example to cover specific campaign landing pages or particular areas of your site that are intended for different marketing purposes.
And then…wait for LinkedIn to enable this exciting new feature!
More details when we have them…