There are 3 things every LinkedIn Ads campaign (and, by extension, every social campaign) needs: pinpoint Audience targeting, compelling Messaging, and a value-rich Offer.
An acronym we like to use to help us easily remember this is AMO. These 3 things must be concrete in order to have success on LinkedIn Ads, so let’s dissect each one.
Simply stated, your audience is who you want to target. Easy enough! Except, this step isn’t always as straightforward as you would think on LinkedIn Ads.
Where you might be used to defining your target audience using demographic and psychographic information (age, gender, interests, behaviors, etc.), the value of LinkedIn’s targeting really comes in reaching people based on their work profile (job title, listed skills, job role/function, years of experience, company they work for, etc.). This is where LinkedIn shines in comparison to any other digital ads platform.
It’s worth noting that LinkedIn does offer the option to target based on age, gender, and interests, but they’re nowhere near as robust or accurate as what you’d get on Meta.
So when defining how to target your audience on LinkedIn Ads, consider who they are in relation to their job. Ask yourself:
- What industry does my target audience work in?
- How many employees are at the company they work for?
- What department do they work in?
- What is their job title?
- What skills do they have that are unique to them?
- What LinkedIn groups might they belong to?
- What is their education level?
- How many years of experience do they have in a given field?
Though these aren’t necessarily available to target on LinkedIn Ads, you might also ask yourself:
- What is my target audience’s yearly salary?
- Who do they report to?
- What challenges face them in their industry/role?
Defining your audience in this way will set you up for greater success on the LinkedIn Ads platform because you’ll have a better idea of how to reach them based on the targeting criteria available to you.
All this said, though the targeting capabilities are a strong suit of the platform, they’re not perfect.
For example, LinkedIn only recognizes roughly 55% of job titles. That’s because the job titles you list in the Experience section of your LinkedIn profile are free-form (meaning, you can type whatever you want). If your job title is listed as “King and Tyrant of X Company”, LinkedIn likely isn’t going to make that available to advertisers to target, simply because it can’t.
This brings us to our next point. The job titles available to target are what we call Super Titles, which are umbrella terms.
That means that, if you really want to target people with certain job titles, just know that you may also be getting a bunch of people in the mix that may or may not match what you’re looking for. They’re only included because LinkedIn is making an educated guess on what type of title they can be classified under.
Unfortunately, there’s no way to see what titles fall under which Super Titles, either. LinkedIn doesn’t make this information publicly available. But as a pro tip, don’t just solely rely on job title targeting.
It’s one of the most accurate forms of targeting, but as we just outlined, it’s also limiting in its scope. So as a best practice, create additional campaigns that also target other defining criteria, like skills, job functions, and groups.
In addition, micro-segment your audience. So, if you’re targeting a wide range of company sizes, levels of seniority, geographies, etc., consider breaking them out into different campaigns. Doing so will allow you to find and optimize on those audience segments that perform better in comparison to others.
For more on micro-segmentation on LinkedIn Ads, check out this episode of The LinkedIn Ads Show.
When it comes to LinkedIn Ads, your message is more than just your ad copy, though that is part of it. Your message comes down to how you’re overall presenting your offer (more on that in a moment) to your audience.
It’s a combination of your ad type (Single Image Ads, Text Ads, Video Ads, etc.), visual assets, and your ad copy.
Your messaging is going to ultimately be dependent on your offer, but one tip we can give here is, whatever your offer, focus on communicating the value your audience will be getting out of consuming that offer.
Unlike other social media platforms like Facebook, people don’t log in to LinkedIn to be entertained (as regularly). Instead, their purpose is often to build meaningful connections, learn something new, or search for a solution to a challenge they’re experiencing at work.
The message you communicate, then, should revolve around helping your audience solve a major pain point or teaching them something new that helps them do their jobs better. By doing this, you position your brand as both a thought leader or expert on a particular subject and build trust between you and your audience.
When it comes to imagery on LinkedIn Ads, as a general rule, avoid colors that would naturally blend in with the rest of the platform, such as blues, whites, and grays. Instead, use colors that “pop”, like reds, greens, yellows, or oranges.
See this post for more on imagery that works well on LinkedIn Ads.
Your offer is the thing you’re promoting combined with your call-to-action (CTA). It can be anything from “subscribe to this podcast” to “book a call with one of our sales reps to learn more about our products/services”.
The thing to keep in mind is that the asset you promote, whether it’s an eBook, a webinar, a podcast, a demo—whatever—doesn’t matter. What does matter is that the value your audience would be getting from consuming your offer should outweigh any level of friction required to act or opt in.
Your offer, then, should change depending on where your customers are in their journey. Promoting a demo request to a cold audience, for example, probably won’t get you the results you’re hoping for. But if your audience has warmed up to you and already knows, likes, and trusts your brand, then promoting a demo request might be much more effective at that point.
Your offer is one of the biggest drivers you have in building affinity and trust with your target audience, so make sure you’re promoting the right one at the right time.
To select a good offer, consider where your audience is in the customer journey, what their needs are right now, and what assets you have that could help meet those needs.
This will require you to do some customer research. Talk to your sales team, survey current customers, create a poll on LinkedIn, start a discussion with your Slack community—however you collect data related to your audience and the challenges they face, use that data to craft and promote an offer that addresses your audience’s needs.
Don’t Forget to Bring Your AMO to Social Advertising!
Audience, Message, Offer—These 3 things are fundamental to a successful LinkedIn Ads campaign, so take the time to plan and prepare them correctly before jumping into the platform.
And if you’d like help turning your LinkedIn Ads into a B2B marketing machine, consider booking a discovery call with us. LinkedIn Ads is all we do and (after 11 years) we’re masters at our craft.
With our expertise, unique data collection strategies, proper testing methodologies, and in-house bulk ads management and scheduling tools, we’ll help you optimize and scale your LinkedIn Ads for efficiency.
Written by Eric Jones