Now at 645 million members worldwide, LinkedIn has built the largest database of professional and career insights in history, a cumulative listing of education, progression, location, skills and more. That's an extremely powerful, and valuable, data set, which can help businesses better map likely employee pathways, highlight prospective candidates, anticipate coming HR and training trends, and more.
And from a marketing perspective, it can also enable advertisers to target key decision-makers, and reach the right people at the right companies they need in order to inspire action. And now, LinkedIn is giving advertisers some new options to help focus their campaigns on just the right audience subsets.
First off, LinkedIn has expanded on its audience forecasting tools within its ad creation flow, making it easier to see exactly who your campaign will reach, based on your entered parameters.
The main area of focus in this example is on the right - in the old version of LinkedIn's ad creation flow, you would get a general overview of the projected audience size for your ad, but you didn't have the more specific industry breakdown as listed. Here's a comparison of the old (left) and new sidebar display:
That will give you more specific oversight into the industries you'll be reaching with your campaign, which will enable you to ensure you're getting your ads in front of who you need.
You can also break down the displayed info even further (also shown in the above GIF) - as explained by LinkedIn:
"You can customize the panel to surface specific professional characteristics, like top industries, years of experience, or company sizes for your audience. When combined with contacts you’ve uploaded to Matched Audiences, you can be sure that you’re not only serving ads to the specific prospects you’re trying to reach, but that you’ll have the demographic insights to deliver the content and creative mix that will resonate with them."
The extra insight will help to better focus your LinkedIn ad campaigns onto the people you most want to connect with - while as LinkedIn notes, with more knowledge of who you're reaching, you can better target your ad messaging specifically to those audiences.
Another new feature you may have noted in the GIF example above is Boolean logic - i.e. using 'and/or' qualifiers to further refine your targeting. LinkedIn says this has been one of its most requested ad targeting additions, and will enable advertisers to, again, further refine their outreach.
"For example, let’s say you wanted to target people using Director job seniority and the Finance job function. Previously, within a campaign you could only do so by targeting Directors in Finance roles. Now, with Boolean targeting, you can use a single campaign to reach people who are Directors at any job function, as well as people in Finance roles of any seniority. This gives you greater flexibility to determine the kinds of professionals who see your ads."
LinkedIn has put together a video on how this works:
Boolean search logic is one of the easiest, and most effective, qualifiers for large data sets, and it'll be a handy addition to utilize within your LinkedIn campaigns.
And finally, LinkedIn is also improving its demographic reporting options, providing more specific insight into who exactly is responding to your campaigns.
"Demographic reporting has been one of our most popular features because it helps you see the types of audiences clicking and converting on your ads, based on professional characteristics like company name and job seniority. Today, we’re making this reporting feature even better by allowing you to understand which audiences are watching your video ads, filling out your Lead Gen Forms, and opening your Sponsored InMail messages."
The more specific insights into actions taken will help you better understand your campaign performance, and refine as necessary, based on the results.
As noted, LinkedIn has the largest professional database ever created, and it's slowly working out new ways to tap into those insights to provide more opportunities for users at various levels. These new additions will definitely come in handy for LinkedIn advertisers, enabling advanced ad tracking and performance measurement to improve your campaign performance and understanding.
LinkedIn's audience forecasting and Boolean targeting updates are now available to all users, while the updates to demographic reporting will be available to all advertisers "over the next two weeks".