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. 

When advertising on LinkedIn, you can get your message in front of the right people at the right time and most engaged by using targeting. You can deliver your advertising to the most relevant prospects by selecting the correct targeting options for your advertisements. Let’s run through the types of adverts, and then how you can tailor the content to suit your target.

This is where it gets comprehensive! To start, create a  new campaign and choose the campaign objective along with a type of advert for each campaign. 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 build the specific audience for your campaign using demographics, interests and matched audiences. You can target your ads using audience attributes or matched audiences, as well as a combination of both. Audience attributes are the collection of the fields available with a linkedIn contact and company profiles of LinkedIn users. For example, when a new LinkedIn user joins LinkedIn they enter a range of fields such as job title and the company the work for during their account signup and creation process.

Signup to Linkedin Ads Targeting

Demographic Targeting

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+.

Demographic Targeting LinkedIn

Member Age:

An estimation of how old a member is based on their profile information.

Member Gender:

Determination of whether a member is female or male is inferred based on member profile information.

Company Targeting

You can target by the a range of company properties to reach your target audience. 

Company targeting LinkedIn Ads

Company Connections:

Use company connection targeting to reach the 1st-degree connections of employees at companies you select. (A company must have more than 500 employees).

Company Followers

Use company follower targeting to reach your own LinkedIn Page followers. (Your Ads account must be associated with your LinkedIn Page). 

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 Name targeting is the company a member lists as an employer. (LinkedIn Pages, which are maintained by company 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 Targeting is the primary industry of the company where the member is employed.

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! Company size is determined by the number of employees listed on the organization’s LinkedIn Page. This lets you target members based on the size of their company where they work. 

Jobs Targeting:

Job targeting LinkedIn Ads

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 Function targeting is based on member groupings of their job titles.

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.  Job Seniority targeting lets you reach LinkedIn member’s current role and influence in their organization. 

Job Title

When members update their LinkedIn profiles with new roles, these job titles are grouped by LinkedIn’s algorithms and organized into standardized titles. 

Member Skills

Targeting by keywords found within a member’s profile and skills. Member-entered skills and endorsements are taken from their profile, or inferred skills based on their listed skills.

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. Use Years of experience targeting to reach a target audience based on the years of professional experience they’ve accumulated over their career.  Overlapping positions don’t count as two separate jobs, making it easier for you to target the right person.

Education Targeting:

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.

Education Targeting Linkedin Ads

Fields of Study: 

The major or area of study within a member’s degree. Standardized from member-entered degrees.

Member Schools:

The school, college, university, or other learning institution where a LinkedIn member completed a certification. 


Recognized certifications granted by a university, college other learning institution

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.

Interest Targeting LinkedIn Ads

Member Groups: 

LinkedIn Groups are members who share interests or professional associations.

Member Interests:

 Interest categories are member actions and engagement with content on LinkedIn. 

Locations Targeting:

 Target LinkedIn members by where they are living or visiting. This targeting is based on the location specified by the member in their profile and/or their IP address (for short-term visits) geographic location.

As with other targeting options, you can also exclude irrelevant targeting such as certain continents or country. 

Audience Expansion Targeting:

Audience Expansion Targeting

Audience Expansion increases targeting reach by showing your ads to audiences with similar attributes to your target audience. From a reporting perspective, the performance metrics such as impressions and clicks are taken as an aggregate from your target audience and expansion audience. It is also possible to exclude specific attributes from your target audience. 

Matched Audiences Targeting:

Target people that already know your brand using this targeting option. Matched audiences options include your website visitors(cookie list), your list of contacts (emails). 

Matched Audiences Targeting LinkedIn Ads
  • .Website retargeting uses a cookie list by placing the LinkedIn Ads Pixel on your website. 
  • Account targeting (company name) and contact targeting (member name)  is done using CSV upload.
  • Contact targeting uses as Data Integration such as a CRM system.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Types of Ads for Targeting your Advertising on LinkedIn

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 Ads

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 Ads

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. 


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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