How to target relevant business users on LinkedIn Ads

So, your business is hoping to generate leads from other business professionals? Perhaps you’re a marketing tech company looking for agencies to trial your product. Or maybe, you’re a business insurer hoping to get your ads in front of small business owners. Whatever your business and whatever you’re trying to achieve, you can target the most relevant users on LinkedIn Ads.


What is LinkedIn Ads?

LinkedIn Ads is LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ ad platform, allowing advertisers to ‘reach ideal customers on the world’s largest professional network’. You have probably seen the ‘Promoted’ adverts whilst scrolling through your LinkedIn feed. 

That’s right, those ones! They’re not just put there by chance. A lot of thought and work goes into making sure those ads are displayed to the right audience. There are many targeting methods available on LinkedIn Ads that many advertisers don’t make the most of. Let’s have a look at these in more detail. 




Targeting location is the most simple way of segmenting your audience. If you’re only interested in targeting users in a certain country, city, or town, you’ll need to set this at the location targeting option. This is really important to consider when choosing your audience and will also have an impact on the overall reach of your campaign and the budget required. Think about who you’re trying to reach and where they are based before deciding which areas to target.



This is another simple, but vital targeting option. Here we can segment our audience by ‘Age’ and ‘Gender’ to ensure we are reaching the right people. For instance, a company that sells over 50’s insurance would waste a chunk of its budget if it didn’t specify its target age range. Be careful not to discriminate against demographics if you are advertising employment, housing, education, or credit as LinkedIn will penalise you for this.  



Here’s where we can get a bit more detailed about the specific, or types of companies we would like to target. If you have specific companies you’d like to get in front of, then you can indicate these in the ‘Company Names’ section. Perhaps you can be a bit broader with who you are interested in targeting and choose the ‘Company Industries’ option to specify the industry that the user works in. Another commonly used option is to specify the ‘Company Size’, which segments the audience based on how big the company that the user works for is. All of these options can help refine your audience to ensure you reach the most relevant users. If you haven’t thought about your key targets and the companies they may work for, it’s a good time to do so.  



Here we can specify aspects of the user’s academic experience, such as their degree, their field of study, and where they studied. This information is pulled from the ‘Education’ section of a user’s profile. This could be a good option if you have a product or service aimed at current students or recent graduates. 


Job Experience

We’ve spoken about targeting companies, but this is where we can target users based on their job role. Using the options such as ‘Job Function’ or ‘Job Title’ we’re able to segment our audience to focus on specific areas within a company. Budget is likely to be wasted if we just focus on company targeting as we’ll reach areas of the business that are irrelevant. For example, if we are a waste disposal company using LinkedIn Ads to reach relevant target companies, we may waste lots of our budget showing ads to the marketing department. Instead, we can segment our targeting so that we just reach the operations department within our target companies. We can also choose ‘Job Seniorities’ and ‘Years of Experience’ to ensure we are reaching the people that have the authority to make decisions.


Interests and Traits

This targeting option is based off any groups that a user belongs to, or interests that a user displays whilst on LinkedIn. This can be a good alternative if users don’t add their job title or company to their profile. This is more similar to the types of targeting we have across other social media channels such as Facebook and Instagram. Here, we are less interested in the academic and job experience of users and more concerned with their interests. There are lots of different groups that users can join on LinkedIn, from marketing, HR, and groups for start-up businesses. Your product or service may be specific for new business owners, so targeting users who have an interest in start-ups and entrepreneurship would be a good method to use.   


Narrowing Your Audience

The great thing about LinkedIn’s targeting is that you can overlay audiences to get a more niche target. For example, you could target 35-54-year-old males who work in the engineering function for companies in the automotive industry, with 100+ employees, based in the state of Michigan. 

This allows us to get really targeted to ensure we are reaching the most relevant users to prevent budget from being wasted. A key consideration to bear in mind is the ‘target audience size’ which can be found in the ‘Forecasted Results’ section on the right-hand side of the audience page. This shows us the estimated size of our target audience, therefore the number of people that could potentially see our ad. There isn’t a right or wrong answer when thinking about the optimum audience size, but we must take our budget into consideration. If we have an audience size of 2,000,000 and a budget of £8 per day, we won’t be able to reach much of our audience. Similarly, if we are targeting a small audience, but would like to spend £500 per day, each user would see our ad frequently and the effects of the ad would wear off quickly.  


Our audience size must be over 300 users, but LinkedIn recommends a minimum size of 50,000 users to get results. Try different audience sizes for yourself to see what results you can achieve.


Key optimisations

A common misconception is that LinkedIn Ads is an expensive solution to get traffic to your website. It doesn’t have to be! Just a few optimisations can help improve the performance of your LinkedIn Ads. 


The first is audience profiling. This involves working out who you are trying to reach and is based off your customer profiles. It’s important to consider each of your customer profiles as there may be large differences between them. This feeds into the different messages that may be used in your ads. For example, different messaging and language may be used to target UK vs US customers. Both are profile customers, but they should be treated differently when it comes to messaging.


The second is audience research. Once you have profiled your key customers, you can check out the audience segments that will be relevant to your audience in the LinkedIn platform. The types of audiences can be seen above. Be sure to ‘narrow’ your audience to be the most relevant it can be, whilst being mindful of the estimated audience size.


The final optimisation to get better performance from LinkedIn ads is optimising your creative. Your creative is the images, videos, text, and call to actions used to entice a user to click on your ad. Needless to say, your creative must speak to your target audience profiles. Be sure to mention any key benefits of your product/service that your audience will find appealing. 


Arguably the most important optimisation that you will make when you have your LinkedIn campaigns running is refreshing the creative regularly. It’s so important to have a variety of ads running at the same time to allow for rotation. Depending on your audience size, you should be looking to update your creative every 4-6 weeks (more frequently if you have higher budgets). This ensures that your ads stay relevant and prevents them from suffering ad fatigue. If we refresh creative regularly, we can expect to keep our cost per click (CPC) lower and our click-through rate (CTR) higher. This leads to more clicks within your budget and a higher likelihood that a user will click on your ad.


Key takeaways:

  • Profile your audience to cover all of your key target customers.
  • Research audiences to see how you can reach all of your audience profiles.
  • Narrow your audience to get a more niche, relevant audience.
  • Be mindful of the audience size and estimated budget.
  • Use a variety of creative to allow for rotation.
  • Refresh ads regularly (as a rule every 4-6 weeks).


To find out more about LinkedIn Ads and how they can work for your business, get in touch with the helpful team at 505 Digital. Email us at and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can! 

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