In late January 2019, LinkedIn introduced interest targeting – a new targeting parameter that allows advertisers to target users based on their professional interests. Previously, most of LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities were based on user profile data such as job title, listed professional skills, or company/employer. The addition of this feature is one of many recent steps LinkedIn is taking to become a more attractive platform for advertisers.
How LinkedIn’s Interest Targeting Works
With interest targeting, advertisers can choose from a list of 200 professional interest categories (think Artificial Intelligence, Global Economy, Customer Experience, etc.) to reach their target audience. To make this possible, LinkedIn users will be categorized into interest categories based on their online actions and engagement with specific content on LinkedIn. For example, the Information Technology interest category will target users who have engaged with content about or related to information technology.
The new interest targeting showcases LinkedIn’s growing capabilities to use in-house data to effectively target users on a more personal level. Best of all, interest targeting will work alongside profile-based targeting (i.e. job title, skills, etc.), allowing both LinkedIn and advertisers to build a dynamic profile of their users. By layering interest targeting on top of existing job title or professional degree targeting, it will be possible to reach an audience that is likely already interested in a company’s content. For example, if a company sells device management software, it can target users who have the job title “Information Technology Manager” and are interested in malware and antivirus software, which brings that company one step closer to finding consumers who best align with its content and products.
What LinkedIn’s Interest Targeting Means For Marketers
This new targeting feature will be crucial for marketers looking to serve relevant ads that match a consumer’s career path and professional interests. This is especially true for B2B marketers who often struggle to reach a niche audience. To this end, advertisers should explore updating existing LinkedIn targeting strategies not only for audiences to target, but also to improve engagement by ensuring that content served to the user is relevant.
In recent months, LinkedIn has been dedicated to making its platform easier for advertisers to achieve campaign goals on by launching new ad formats and targeting capabilities. In addition to the recently added interest targeting, LinkedIn has also released a variety of new ad formats and objective-based advertising, which is a campaign setting to create, target, and optimize campaigns based on objectives like website visits, lead generation, engagement, etc. Together these updates show how hard the platform is working to become a more viable option for advertisers (and stiffer competition for other social platforms).
Nina Hale will continue to find new ways to incorporate LinkedIn into clients’ media mixes as these new features become available to all accounts.
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