One of the key ways LinkedIn will be looking to improve, following their most recent disappointing earnings forecast, will be through the increased utilization of their data. LinkedIn now has more than 414 million members worldwide, and along with that comes an unprecedented amount of professional and career-based information - education, job progression and advancement trails listed throughout each and every member profile. With access to such insights, LinkedIn can create new solutions for recruiting, career advancement, learning - the list goes on - and another area that LinkedIn has capacity to advance the conversation is in ad targeting.
Along this line, LinkedIn has announced a new audience targeting option called 'Account Targeting'. What Account Targeting enables you to do is, businesses will be able to upload lists of the companies they either already do business with, or would like to do business with in future. Marketers can bring a list of up to 30,000 companies - LinkedIn will then take that listing, process it, and cross-reference it against their database to uncover all the listed employees they have who work for those brands. This then allows marketers to target those employees specifically with their LinkedIn ads, helping to hone the focus of campaigns to the very people they most need to hit.
It's a logical, and smart move by LinkedIn - Sponsored Updates were the primary driver of growth for LinkedIn's Marketing Solutions arm, according their most recent results, delivering more than 50% of the department's $581 million in revenue generated for 2015. Through this new option, advertisers will be able to target in their Sponsored Updates more specifically, getting their content in front of the relevant decision makers, which is particularly relevant for those marketing to the B2B sector.
Further to this, LinkedIn's also noted that it plans to develop its audience matching capacity to allow marketers to upload different types of information in future, utilizing even more data points to get increasingly specific with their outreach efforts. At present, advertisers can upload their lists and refine them based on LinkedIn's pre-existing ad targeting options, which include location, job title and age. Helpfully, advertisers will also be able to upload lists of people they don't want to target with their ads (which could avoid you spamming existing customers).
LinkedIn currently has more than eight million company pages listed within their network, a huge breadth of data to utilize in this context. Account Targeting is only available for Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail formats at present, and can only be purchased via LinkedIn's sales team, though there are plans to extent this capacity to the platform's self-serve ads tool in future.
It's another step towards maximizing their professional insights and data to change the way businesses approach their outreach efforts - and LinkedIn's not only doing this on an advertising front, their recruitment solutions, too, are looking at making more use of their career data to help recruiters and job seekers make better, data-backed decisions in their processes.
Expect to see more advancements on this front from LinkedIn in the near future.