Microsoft has announced LinkedIn targeting is now available for search ads. This much-anticipated feature is now available to advertisers for the following countries: US, CA, UK, AU, FR, and DE.
Why This is Potentially a Huge Benefit
The Business to Business Struggle
Since Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, many PPC managers were hopeful this feature would become available. Advertising on LinkedIn focuses heavily on persona-driven targeting, with options for things like industry, employer size, and other similar criteria, but it’s widely regarded as a very expensive platform.
One of the struggles for business to business advertisers on search engines is consumers and businesses frequently search the same way, using the same search terms.
Without any way to identify the differences in entities, it can be tough for business-focused services to accurately find their targets. Frequently they have a lot of wasted spend on clicks for consumers versus the large companies they serve.
LinkedIn’s targeting adds a supplemental layer onto the search set up, allowing for more precise targeting, insights, and observation of different audience types.
Sales Funnel Location vs. LinkedIn
Another benefit is where the user likely is within a buying process.
Many searchers are at least in awareness phase, researching a problem or seeking companies offering what they need. LinkedIn’s targeting doesn’t give a way for advertisers to discern where a certain persona is within that process. It generally means LinkedIn has to be used a top-of-funnel tactic to find the qualified users, and because it’s pricey, it can require a chunk of upfront marketing spend.
Combining the highly-regarded targeting options with the lower-funnel user in search is potentially a huge win-win for PPC managers.
What will be interesting to watch is how the costs compare for these targets versus the general search audience at large. To make increased bids worth it, managers will need to see these audience targets converting at a higher rate.
Specifics Around LinkedIn Targets
LinkedIn targeting can be set at the Campaign or Ad Group level, and can be applied to Search, Dynamic Search, Shopping, and Audience campaign types.
Microsoft notes that not all targeting is available just yet, but they will be continually expanding it in the coming months. For now, advertisers have options to select Job Function, Industry, and Company. Advertisers are limited to a company list of 1,000.
In addition, the targeting option is “bid only” and not “target and bid only.” This means that the audiences added are ones that can have a bid adjustment applied, but the campaign cannot be set to run exclusively to the persona types you specify.
How to Apply LinkedIn Audiences
Users can navigate to the Settings tab of any Campaign or Ad Group within the eligible campaign types noted above.
Scrolling down to the Targeting section, there is an “Edit target categories” link:
Clicking on this populates a menu of targeting options, which now include the LinkedIn specifications:
Once the desired targeting criteria are chosen, scroll down and there will be the areas to input specifics:
Clicking on “Edit Target” creates a pick-and-choose list of the options available in each.
Microsoft’s full announcement can be read here, and a link to the help article is here.