LinkedIn Ads Targeting – Building your Funnel on LinkedIn

As a direct way to access people of influence, LinkedIn is, arguably, the best. Whether you’re part of a B2B or looking for a new career, the fact of the matter is that LinkedIn has access to the higher reaches of any industry. 80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn, so if you’re looking to lead the customer, LinkedIn and targeting options are in abundance. Because you can reach millions you’ve got to know the right targeting options for you. Let’s run through the types of adverts, and then how you can tailor the content to suit your target.

The various targeting options of LinkedIn Ads are available using various campaign types. Certain campaign types are also more suited at varying stages of the marketing funnel. 

Sponsored Content

Targeted advertisements are designed to build customer relationships with the appropriate brand. As such, we need to deliver the relevant content to people within LinkedIn. Using Sponsored Content helps marketers to engage potential customers way early on in the buyer’s journey. By using Sponsored Content, we can influence the decisions of customers by dropping the right content directly into the feed of a LinkedIn user. To learn more about this campaign type, see LinkedIn Ads Sponsored Content Tips. 

Sponsored InMail

LinkedIn InMail is a fantastic tool that can only be used by premium members. Sponsored InMail takes it one step further, and allows marketers to deliver personalised contact directly into their inbox. Sponsored InMail gives you the opportunity to personalise your content in so many different ways. As you can target a specific audience and personalise the messages, it’s a great way to get more leads than a traditional email marketing campaign. It works like a marketing campaign, but sponsored InMail has the edge because it ensures 100% deliverability because it sends a message to the target’s inbox when they are online. In addition to this, you are able to take advantage of real-time analytics tools, as well as additional ABM (Account-Based Marketing) functions.

To learn more about this campaign type, see LinkedIn Ads InMail guide

Text Ads

An almost traditional way of advertising, using LinkedIn Text Ads can appear in four different formats. Tall, long, square, or horizontal. These ads appear in the right column of the screen. If you’re on a tight budget, this is based on a self-service pay-per-click (PPC) advertising platform. It gives you the ability to drive traffic according to the money that you can afford. This option also allows you to place adverts on a cost per impression (CPM) basis. 

How to use LinkedIn targeting options

This is where it gets comprehensive! Starting your campaign, you choose the type of add that suits you. You can select sponsored InMail, text ads, or sponsored content. As each one has its own individual draws, once you’ve chosen the right route for you, you then start to select the specific audience for your campaign.

When starting your campaign, it’s recommended you choose two targeting options. There are plenty to choose from, and we will run through them. As well as the location specified by the user, you can choose from the main demographics:

Company name:

 You can target names of specific companies if you want to reach people that work in one particular place. It’s not exclusive to current employees, but you can look for past employees as well as a combination of present or past employees, and past but not current employees.

Company industry:

The industries are numerous, from agriculture to education, finance, manufacturing, the arts, corporate services, high-tech, media, organisations and non-profits, transportation, as well as many more, including the various offshoots. With over hundreds of industries to choose from, you are able to target your campaign with more efficiency.

Company size:

You can target people based on the size of the company. The brackets go from 1 to 10 employees, 11 to 50, and the increments increase gradually. There is also an option to target self-employed people. From there, you can look at the first-degree connections of the employees in these companies, as well as those that follow the companies and their job titles. You can target people based on a comprehensive list of standardised job titles. And no, “worker” is not classed as a job title!

Job functions:

You are able to focus on people based on what they do in their job. Whether this is education, entrepreneurialism, or healthcare, human resources, the job spec is diverse.

Job seniority:

From unpaid all the way to CXO or partner, you are able to target people not just on the job that they do, but the influence they have. 


Not just where they went to school, but their major or key area of study, as well as the rank of their degree, from bachelors to masters, as well as the skills that they include in their LinkedIn profile. Not only this, but there is a list of inferred skills based on the ones that the LinkedIn member provides, giving you a wider target.


As well as their inferred gender, you are able to target people based on their estimated age range. This is determined by their profile information. And they can fall into four categories: 18 to 24, 25 to 34, 35 to 54, and 55+.

Years of experience:

In the modern age where people’s CVs can comprise of a few gaps, if you want to target people based on how long they’ve been working, you are able to do this. Overlapping positions don’t count as two separate jobs, making it easier for you to target the right person.

Matched audiences:

A life saving tool. It’s possible to target people that already know your brand using this feature. By looking at the people who visited your website, your list of contacts, as well as the key people at the companies you would like to target, this function allows you to go straight to them.

Audience size:

As you start to narrow down your options, LinkedIn will provide you with an idea of the size of your audience. It’s important at this juncture not to narrow it down so far. If you do this, LinkedIn will warn you that your audience base is too narrow and won’t let you continue with the ad. It all depends on the type of contact. If you are going for Sponsored Content, it’s recommended that a minimum of 300,000 people form the basis of your audience. But if it’s Sponsored InMail, the number drops to 100,000 or fewer. And for Text Ads, it can be anywhere between 60,000 and 400,000 people.

Lookalike audiences:

Lookalike audiences: As LinkedIn is adding more ad targeting options all the time, it was reported in January that LinkedIn added this function. Lookalike audiences allow you to upload an email list from your CRM system, and LinkedIn will match the details against its database. This means that you can bypass a lot of the work, especially if you’ve already done the leg work in identifying the demographics.

Audience templates:

Conversely, if you don’t know your target market or have limited data, the option allows advertisers to find the specific market segment relating to their specific offer. Just by typing in the word “market,” you can find options from social marketers to marketing specialists, or marketing research, and so on.

Interest targeting:

This allows you to reach people interested in your services, but also providing additional criteria such as matched audiences or companies. As the audience attributes categories can get very specific, you are able to focus on niche audiences.

Bing search data:

This is used to complement Interest Targeting. This allows advertisers to use more information to find the relevant audience. As Interest Targeting will enable marketers to reach out to LinkedIn users that have shown an interest in specific topics related to the content that they share, Bing search data incorporates all of this into one handy package. You might think this is somewhat irrelevant, especially as most people use Google, but the visitors have been steadily climbing.


LinkedIn Ads Targeting Options is a vast minefield. But if you want to reach out to a specific target, it gives you the opportunity to really zero in on the right demographic.

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