For a little over a year, we at Marketing Mojo have been waiting for the roll-out of Account Targeting on LinkedIn self-serve ad platforms. LinkedIn has had company targeting options available for a couple of years now for its self-serve advertisers and it has been very effective at narrowing ad targeting down to the employees of the exact companies you want to do business with. But, those self-serve options were limited to just 100 companies.
LinkedIn announced that it had the ability to expand the number of companies targeted last year, but to date, only allowed advertisers buying ads via insertion order with LinkedIn to utilize it. That has all changed now and LinkedIn is now rolling out this option to all self-serve advertisers this last week of April.
Why Should I Care About LinkedIn Account Targeting?
If you are a B2B company that depends on lead generation to make sales you should take interest. LinkedIn hasn’t really been very effective for consumer marketing or direct sales offers. Its strengths lie in being the ultimate platform for B2B Content Marketing as a lead generation tactic. There is no better ad platform for B2B advertisers that want to prospect with White Papers, E-books or Webinars. These are the preferable tactics for enterprise B2B companies with expensive, high-commitment products or services. These products and services are for a select few companies, and quite honestly, advertising that hits audiences that don’t need them, can’t afford them, or aren’t relevant for them is almost always a wasted advertising expenditure.
Take, for example, my client who runs a light testing laboratory. Their services help LED light manufacturers achieve the efficiency standards needed to compete with other manufacturers. I can attempt to utilize search advertising on the names of the certifications they help manufacturers attain, but there is no guarantee that consumers that are doing comparison shopping on LED lights won’t search for the same thing and click on my client’s ads.
Secondly, not every desirable client in the LED light manufacturing segment needs my client’s services immediately, and chances are they aren’t going to fill out a “Contact Us” form immediately after they click on an ad.
If I use content marketing and give those LED light manufacturers a great White Paper on complying with all of those efficiency standards, I can get them to fill out a lead generation form now and continuously touch them through multiple marketing tactics like e-mail marketing, display remarketing, and social media remarketing (like LinkedIn’s new Matched Audiences).
LinkedIn Account targeting now gives my client the ability to target ads to employees of every US based LED light
manufacturer in the country (or world) and here’s the beautiful part – NO ONE ELSE. Even if we fail to achieve success in getting the people targeted by this method to complete the form and download the white paper, we succeed. Yes, success through failure is possible with advertising (at least this type of advertising).
If I take the time to carefully craft my LinkedIn Advertising audience with all the relevant LED light manufacturers along with the relevant decision maker and influencer audiences, I can be certain I have hit the right audience that I want to reach. I don’t have to stop advertising to this audience if I set up remarketing tags on my landing page and thank you confirmation page.
Once that person visits my landing page, I can then advertise to them on the Google Display Network (the biggest ad network in the world), Facebook (the biggest social network in the world) and now back on LinkedIn. These types of clicks are incredibly affordable (especially on mobile devices). We set up our Google Display Network remarketing audiences for B2B Enterprise audiences for a 540-day duration from their first visit to our client’s website and every subsequent visit.
The amount of further contacts possible with this advertising method is almost unlimited. It is effectively the way to achieve maximum advertising reach to relatively small audiences.
What’s the Catch with LinkedIn Account Targeting?
There’s always a catch. Amazingly, in our work with clients involving Company Targeting it has been incredibly difficult to retain company lists of any significant size to even meet the 100 company maximum that we have been working with. Set up and upload of a list looks very easy. But, creation of an exhaustive list of relevant companies is a time-consuming research project not for the faint of heart. The good news is that you don’t have to rely on your company’s sales team just spouting off at the top of their head which companies they want to sell to (but what a great way to start!)
You, or your intern, have the internet to scour for relevant lists of the companies in the industry segments you want to target. I recommend sources like Manta. Again, researching our example of LED light manufacturers in the USA can start with Manta’s List: Lighting Manufacturers in the United States. Unfortunately, I don’t recommend just cutting and pasting the company names as you find them on that list into a spreadsheet.
If you want your Account Targeting to have a decent match rate, someone is going to have to search on LinkedIn for all of those company names to make sure that they match the exact name, punctuation, abbreviations and all that they company users on its LinkedIn company page.
An additional catch is that your audience sizes for your campaigns must have at least 300 people, and while true account-based marketing is all about going after one company at a time, that’s just not possible with this or any other digital advertising platform. If you focus your ads too narrowly, say by only wanting CTO’s for your target companies to see your ads, they aren’t going to be seen. So, if your target audience is small to start with you might run into problems with achieving scale to match the amount of effort you put into advertising.
Winning with LinkedIn Ads and Account Targeting
We’ve already achieved astronomical results with LinkedIn’s ad targeting options to date. We are actually looking forward to putting our Account Teams to work on researching which companies to target for our niche and enterprise-level B2B advertisers to use as Account Targets. LinkedIn is one of the main contributing factors in our firm changing its name from Search Mojo to Marketing Mojo and changing our focus from just search ads and SEO to all digital ad channels. We put our money where our mouth is too with our own advertising and have seen conversion rates from one of our latest content marketing campaigns roll in at well over 30%.
For some of our advertisers, we envision only running LinkedIn Account Targeting campaigns as the sole first touch lead-generation tactic. For others, the apparent company targets are not as obvious. Either way, LinkedIn is now forever changed with its new ad targeting methods, and we are excited to start innovating and compiling company lists and catch-all lists like all Fortune 500 companies or Industry Week 1000 companies.