Filtering Options for Your LinkedIn Ad

By Joel Elad

What kind of filtering options do you have for your LinkedIn ad? Other advertising networks allow you to filter your target audience by a few known attributes of the person who will see your ad — age, gender, and location of the audience member. LinkedIn allows you to go one step further by allowing you to search for specific criteria.

You can use filters in LinkedIn Ads to segment your audience by these factors:

  • Company name, industry, and/or size: While you can make the argument that someone’s employer doesn’t define who they are as a person, their employer may make a difference in whether your ad (and your product or service, by extension) would be relevant to them. LinkedIn allows you to specify a filter for a company name (let’s say you only want companies that include or exclude a particular word), the company’s industry (perhaps you only want to target transportation or high-tech companies), or the company’s size as defined by the number of employees (this means you could target companies with fewer than 50 employees or 5,001 or more employees).
  • Job title or function: If you’re trying to reach all the software developers or Six Sigma consultants out there, LinkedIn allows you to create a Job title filter and look for specific titles you provide. Going up one level, the Job function filter allows you to target an audience where their job falls under a specific function, like Information Technology, Marketing, Operations, Purchasing, or Sales.
  • Job seniority: Okay, you’ve targeted your audience by job title, but is that enough information? After all, someone who’s been doing that specific job for 1 or 2 years will have different needs than someone who’s been a manager at that job for 10 to 15 years. LinkedIn Ads allows you to specify someone’s job seniority (think of it as “years of experience”) by different levels, from “Training” and “Entry” (think entry level) to “Senior,” “Manager,” “Director,” “VP,” and “CXO” (which is shorthand for any Chief Officer like CEO, CFO, CTO, and so on).
  • Member schools, fields of study, and degrees: Let’s say you are a recruiter and you are trying to reach people based on their higher education. LinkedIn Ads allows you to target your audience by specifying one or more names of schools to include or exclude, as well as specific fields of study or degrees. (For example, maybe you want to reach people with Electrical Engineering degrees, but not people with Mechanical Engineering degrees.)
  • Member skills: You can specify one or more specific skills that LinkedIn members have identified on their profile, so if you want to reach people who have the same skill, you can do so in LinkedIn Ads.
  • Member groups: Someone once said that you are judged by the company you keep, and LinkedIn Ads is no exception to that concept. You can target your audience based on the LinkedIn Group memberships that people have. This way, your LinkedIn ad can target people who belong to groups that match the goal of what you have to offer.

The best use of filters comes when you combine two or more elements to really qualify the audience you need to reach. While it may seem that targeting project managers is good enough, for example, you may really need project managers with specific skills, or project managers who have done the job for 5 or more years. Therefore, you should really think about who your target audience is, and that will help you decide which filters to use.