4 Best Uses for Audience-Based Targeting in LinkedIn

Written by Abby Nieten on November 12, 2015

Posted in Lead Generation

Are you using LinkedIn advertising to generate leads for your business?

Have you maximized all of your targeting options?

LinkedIn’s sponsored posts and text ads (as well as their Sponsored InMail feature!) are great ways for B2B marketers to capture high quality leads. This career-centered social network is 277% more effective for lead generation than Facebook and Twitter.

The real power of LinkedIn is in its capacity for targeting extremely specific audiences. Although the ads themselves may seem relatively expensive, LinkedIn’s targeting options make it possible to capture more leads with less money.

So grab your personas and get ready to put them to great use with these four targeting options.

1. Your Competitors’ Customers

Who’s on your sales team’s hit list? Which companies are they actively working to take away from competitors?

You should be targeting the decision makers at those same organizations with your LinkedIn ads.

Start by selecting the option for “Company name:”


Then type the names of specific brands whose customers or clients you want to target:


Next, select “Job function” and choose the department your buyer personas work in. If you want to get really granular, you can add another layer of targeting by selecting their primary roles under “Seniority:”


2. Your Partners’ Customers

Does your software integrate with other apps? Do all of your best clients use the same suite of tools? Use this information to further filter LinkedIn members who are likely to convert.

You can target this way by adding highly specific “Member skills.” Try typing the name of a specific app your persona uses daily to generate a list of additional software and skillset suggestions:


Combined with “Job seniority,” this targeting option can get your brand in front of a small list of key decision makers who are eager to hear your message. For example, a director who’s already responsible for the success of an organization’s marketing automation efforts is bound to be interested in a tool that makes Hubspot campaigns more effective.

3. Your Customers’ Colleagues

What groups do your best customers participate in? Which ones would your personas most likely join? There’s a good chance you’ll find strong leads there, too. Use “Member groups” to target specific communities by name:


One word of caution: You want to be very selective when using this targeting option. Some of the more popular groups can be tempting because they have so many members, when in fact people are there simply to network and promote their own content. Look for niche groups where your target audience is actively participating in real discussions that are relevant to your products or services.

4. Your Anti-Persona

Who is not a good fit for your products or services? What kinds of companies do they work for? What are their primary roles?

Don’t overlook the opportunity to exclude these and other targeting options:


Excluding categories will allow you to get in front of an even narrower audience and avoid paying for clicks that are unlikely to convert.

Applying all of these filters may yield a very small audience—and that’s o.k. The more you target your LinkedIn ads, the more likely you are to capture high quality leads.

Are you looking for more ways to capture leads on LinkedIn and other networks? Click the link below for our free guide to using social media for lead generation.