LinkedIn Account Targeting: A Step in the Right Direction

By Jordan Blair | Mar 11, 2016
More Articles by Jordan

As the saying goes, “One small step for advertising, one giant leap for advertisers!” That’s how the saying goes, right? Well, maybe not, but that is sure how I feel after LinkedIn’s most recent announcement that they have finally come out with a way to make account-based targeting more user-friendly with LinkedIn Account Targeting.

Advertisers on LinkedIn can now bulk upload a list of up to 30,000 accounts or companies that they specifically want to target. LinkedIn will cross-reference this list with the 8 million company pages on their site and show ads to users who are employed by one of those companies. This new advertising option allows LinkedIn to keep up with Google Customer Match, Facebook Custom Audiences and Twitter Tailored Audiences in the account-based targeting field.

What Is Account-Based Targeting?

Account-based targeting is when marketing and sales teams can create a cohesive strategy to make a company’s marketing message more personalized and target to the accounts that matter the most. It requires an understanding of exactly who the target customer is and where they are in the sales funnel, and then it targets them with a specific message. It is all about quality over quantity.

How Is LinkedIn Account Targeting Different Than LinkedIn Company Targeting?

The two main differences between the new LinkedIn Account Targeting and the current LinkedIn Company Targeting are as follows:

  1. Amount of companies

    • LinkedIn Company Targeting  — In the past this was the only option. With company targeting, there was a limit of 100 companies that advertisers could target. The frustrating part of using this targeting is that each of these companies (or accounts) has to be manually added into the campaign. The challenge with this targeting is that after additional layers of profile-based targeting are added on (e.g. seniority, age, etc.), it can be difficult to have large potential reach.
    • LinkedIn Account Targeting  — Advertisers can now target up to 30,000 different companies on LinkedIn, and these companies can be bulk-uploaded (hallelujah!). However, it is worth noting that there is a minimum of 300 companies required per list. This means that campaigns targeting niche segments of the market may not be ideal for Account Targeting.
  2. Location of ad

    • LinkedIn Company Targeting  — Ads with this targeting can be shown through Sponsored Updates, Sponsored InMail and text ads.
    • LinkedIn Account Targeting   With this new targeting, ads can be shown through both Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail but not through text ads on LinkedIn.

How LinkedIn Account Targeting Works

  1. Prepare company list

    When you make a list of companies in a CSV, a LinkedIn account team member will run the audience match and provide you with an estimated reach. Each business account may have only five company lists, so it is important to plan how to use them. For example, you could have a different list for each level of the sales funnel.

  2. Add additional targeting layers

    Select additional profile-based targeting options to narrow your potential reach. These include the following:


  3. Identify the right LinkedIn product to use

    As  previously mentioned, Account Targeting is available through Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail.

  4. Select campaigns to run against company list

    Multiple campaigns can use the same company list, and a company list can also be excluded from a campaign.

  5. Review your results

    Optimize, optimize, optimize!

Where Does LinkedIn Go From Here?

Where does LinkedIn go from here? Russ Glass, head of products at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, said, “Account targeting is the first capability we’re releasing as part of our audience match platform,” in an interview with Marketing Land. The key word there is first. In order to keep up with the growing customer match options that Google, Facebook and Twitter are providing, LinkedIn will need to continue to expand Account Targeting both in ability and functionality. For now, this is a step, or a giant leap, in the right direction.

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