When it comes to social targeting LinkedIn is the most unique of the big players. Designed to connect you with professionals, influencers and potential clients, LinkedIn relies on a different approach to ad targeting to connect with the right people.

You won’t find the complex layers of options Facebook and other networks have to offer. But you also don’t need them because the user intent behind LinkedIn is already targeted specifically to professionals, meaning you can do far more with less complex targeting options.

The basic LinkedIn targeting options

Let’s start with the basics of LinkedIn targeting options – many of which you may already know or expect from a network designed for professionals. Here’s what you’ve got as standard:

  • Company name
  • Job function
  • Degrees
  • Member age
  • Company industry
  • Job seniority
  • Member schools
  • Member groups
  • Job title
  • Fields of study
  • Member gender

All of the above pretty self-explanatory but you can already get quite granular with those options alone. You can reach project managers at digital advertising companies or retirees who are active in LinkedIn photography groups, for example.

Going beyond the basics with LinkedIn targeting

LinkedIn’s basic targeting options get you off to a great start with pinpointing your ideal audience, but there’s more to the network than basics. There are three types of additional targeting layers you can use to reach people on a more specific level.

The three additional layers are:

  • Experience targeting
  • Education targeting
  • Account targeting

So let’s take a look at what these can add to your LinkedIn targeting efforts.

Find people with the right experience

*Source: LinkedIn

At its core, LinkedIn is a network for professionals to connect and one of its major roles is helping firms headhunt and recruit new employees. Companies are able to target people based on their work experience but you can also use these to target specific working employees who might need your services.

Let’s say you’re releasing a new software platform for web designers and you want to target them on a professional level. LinkedIn allows you to pinpoint the right kind of target client based on their vocational experience.

Here’s the list of LinkedIn “Experience” targeting options:

  • Job function
  • Job title
  • Seniority
  • Skills
  • Company name
  • Company industry
  • Company size

So you can target freelance web designers, project managers at design agencies or MD’s at the biggest firms in web design. As long as you get your audience research right, you can pinpoint the professionals most likely to buy your products/services and get your ads seen.

Target specific education backgrounds

*Source: LinkedIn

Another of LinkedIn’s core targeting methods is based on people’s education. You can target current students or people based on their educational background and combine this with other targeting options if you want to get highly specific.

The education targeting options you have available are:

  • School
  • Degree
  • Field of study

So you could be targeting students in need of your products during or just after their studies. Maybe undergrads who are gearing up to take their master’s degree and LinkedIn connects you with them in no time.

You can also target people based on the institutions they attend, which you can use as a gauge of people’s social status and financial background to some extent. And, of course, you add this to your “Experience” targeting to reach people who graduated in their field of work (eg: journalists who studied journalism) or those who didn’t but might gain from signing up to your open university course.

Target specific accounts with account targeting

*Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn’s latest addition to the targeting family is called “account targeting” and it’s exactly as it sounds. Without account targeting you can guarantee your ads are seen by specific account holders, company pages and industry influencers.

Account targeting is only available to LinkedIn assisted advertisers which means you have to get things set up with the network’s representatives, but this is no hassle. Once you sign up, you can tap into millions of targeted accounts and their pages with highly targeted ads – including:

  • 8M+ C-level executives
  • 40M+ business decision-makers (director level and above)
  • 61M+ senior-level professional who influence business decisions

Essentially, how this works is you get in touch with LinkedIn, give them a list of target accounts and get your campaign up and running. Of course, your agency can take care of the nitty gritty for you but the process is pretty much the same.

The end goal is to connect your brand directly to the people who make the buying choices for the kind of companies you’re targeting. So, instead of products that web designers might like, you’ll be targeting the marketing managers or owners high-end marketing agencies with ads for your piece of automation software.

When buying choices are made at the top, account targeting gets you in with the people who have the most influence or make the final choice themselves.

So that’s it for our look at LinkedIn targeting options and you can see thins work in a very different fashion to the other major networks. LinkedIn users are already more targeted that most due to the specific user intent behind the network – so it doesn’t need the same kind of complex targeting options that most networks have to offer.

What LinkedIn excels at is connecting you with people on a professional basis, making it the ideal network products or services that can improve people’s daily or working lives. As you can see from some of the examples we’ve looked at today, though, you can even tap into the consumer habits of working people (like our camera example).