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February 20, 2019

Interest targeting: A focused step forward for LinkedIn Ads

Written by Sherry Chen
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LinkedIn is getting better at helping businesses find their audiences. The 610-million strong business-to-business community recently announced the launch of interest targeting in Campaign Manager. This feature represents a big step in LinkedIn’s evolution as an advertising platform. 

How Interest Targeting Works 

For context: with Campaign Manager, businesses create LinkedIn ads and campaigns such as Sponsored Content or Sponsored inMail. It’s an essential tool for any company that wants to create and amplify content that targets different B2B audiences ranging from prospective employees to potential customers to investors. LinkedIn has made a number of improvements to Campaign Manager, including objective-based campaign creation, improved metrics and forecasting, and a more streamlined user interface. Interest targeting helps companies manage campaigns in a more targeted way, adding the all-important element of personalization in social media marketing.

Before interest targeting came along, if you wanted to target LinkedIn users with your Sponsored Content, you could select them based on profile characteristics such as their degrees held, their job titles, and their company industries. But those attributes are limited to what LinkedIn users are willing to share on their profiles. And some of the attributes, such as a person’s industry, are at times too vague to be as useful as they could be.

Interest targeting helps a Company Page target users based on the content they share or engage with on their LinkedIn newsfeed. Doing so helps a business find users who are keenly interested in a topic. For instance, a company wanting to launch a Sponsored Content campaign targeting HR professionals interested in machine learning could conceivably do so with interest targeting. According to LinkedIn, interest targeting relies on more than 200 professional interest topics ranging from artificial intelligence to the global economy. These parent categories include:

  • Arts & Entertainment
  • Business & Management
  • Careers & Employment
  • Finance & Economy
  • Marketing & Advertising
  • Science & Environment
  • Society & Culture
  • Technology
  • Health

Investis Digital Delivers Results for Clients with Interest Targeting

At Investis Digital, we’re already working with clients to improve their LinkedIn campaigns with interest targeting. For example, we have been helping a restaurant chain use Sponsored Content to target potential franchisees. With interest targeting, we’ve broadened our targeting parameters by targeting people in our client’s industry who are interested in topics such as customer experience and people management. As a result, we’ve improved click-through rates and lowered costs per click for our client.

What Businesses Should Do 

I suggest that businesses: 

  • Include interest targeting in your LinkedIn Sponsored Content whenever applicable, especially for brand awareness campaigns.
  • Combine interest targeting with other targeting attributes such as industry affiliation and job title. Don’t do interest targeting in isolation. Using only one parameter is too limiting and is not cost-efficient.
  • Target a larger audience of 100,000-400,000 people. You need to achieve scale to enjoy payback.

Interest targeting will help LinkedIn be a more competitive B2B advertising alternative to use in conjunction with Facebook. I expect LinkedIn to launch even more features as LinkedIn continues to provide more user signals for marketers to tap into. It is important that businesses watch closely how LinkedIn evolves and capitalize on its improvements.

Contact Investis Digital

At Investis Digital, our team of paid media specialists help businesses amplify their brands through custom, performance-based solutions, measured against true business outcomes. We identify, analyze, understand, and reach the right audience at the right time using multi-media channel strategies throughout the custom journey. To succeed with performance marketing, contact us

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