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Three Clever Ways to Optimise Your LinkedIn Audiences

By Jennifer Esty  |  December 12, 2022

For those of you who spend time in LinkedIn’s advertising platform, Campaign Manager, you will have noticed a newish notification advising you that “For consistent optimal campaign delivery and engagement, we suggest a minimum target audience size of 50,000”.

Which is all very well if there are actually at least 50,000 individuals who might ever be involved in the consideration of purchasing your products or services.

But for many niche B2B organisations, their prospective customer base is likely to be much, much smaller than 50,000.

So, if you’re looking for ways to maximise your advertising spend on the most targeted group of prospects possible, here are three clever ways to optimise those LinkedIn audiences!

1. Exclusions

Who you exclude from your audiences can be just as important as who you include. There are a few limitations here, for example if your targeting includes job seniority or functionality you can’t exclude job titles, and vice versa.

But there are some very clever uses of them, including:

  • Exclusion lists (think existing customers, competitors, prospects you have sunsetted, etc)
  • Audience traits: people looking for jobs aren’t usually in the marketing for high value products or services in their current role, so go ahead and exclude Job Seekers from your campaigns. It can often reduce the size of the audience by 5% or more.
  • Pesky business development folks: LI is a great tool for prospecting and is used cleverly by business development teams everywhere. You can reduce wastage on folks who are more likely to click on your ads as a way to try to sell to you by excluding them or their related services (including recruitment agencies and <blush> marketing agencies). Unless, of course, they are your target audience!
  • Use Segment breakdowns. As your building your audience, LinkedIn provides Segment breakdowns, which include key demographic information about your audience, including Job function, Seniority, Company size and Interests. For example, you might find that you have a high percentage of Entry level folks in your Audience—individuals unlikely to have budget responsibility. You can then exclude any groups that you would have otherwise targeted unintentionally.

Pro Tip: If you are adding exclusions, in most cases you will want to “OR” rather than “AND” them. For example exclude someone if they are in a list of known competitors OR if they are entry-level employees.

 

 2. Member Skills and Member Interests

LinkedIn leverages users’ self-reported skills from their profile to provide a reasonably robust dataset for us to choose from. Think about which skills your target audience is likely to have, including specific technologies they might be using, to help focus in on the most qualified prospects. A note that not every skill you might want will be available for targeting so use the search functionality.

Interests are based on content that the LinkedIn member has viewed and therefore are a reasonable indication of whether that individual might be actively in the market for your products or services. The list of Interests isn’t sometimes as exhaustive as you might want it to be so use the search functionality and spend time exploring the options.

Pro Tip: leverage any persona, keyword, or market research you have to hand which might spark some ideas about related skills or interests.

3. Avoid Audience Expansion

Audience Expansion is a tricky little button that is ticked by default when you set up a new campaign. Essentially it allows LinkedIn to show people outside of your target audience your ads, on the basis they have similar attributes (e.g., job titles, companies, or skills).

Given all the trouble you have probably just gone through to create a super targeted campaign, we do not advise letting LinkedIn decide to show them to anyone it fancies. Instead, experience with Lookalike audiences to see how good LinkedIn really is at interpreting your audience criteria. You can then make a thoughtful choice about whether to also show your ads to an expanded group of prospects.

And of course if you need any help with your LinkedIn strategy, or other B2B digital marketing challenges, please get in touch with us, we would love to help!

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