LinkedIn Profile Targeting Shows Promise for Microsoft Ads

When Microsoft finalized its $26.2 billion acquisition of LinkedIn at the end of 2016, it was unclear what, if any, impact it would have on Microsoft’s Bing Ads (now called Microsoft Ads). With the rollout of LinkedIn Profile Targeting, the future has gained clarity, and Microsoft now has another point of differentiation from its main competitor, Google.

If you’re a member of the workforce in 2019, chances are you’re familiar with LinkedIn. LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional social network with more than 630 million members in over 200 countries and territories. Its current rate of growth can be classified as explosive with two professionals joining the network every second.

An immense amount of user data is now shared between the two entities, opening avenues for continued expansion and development of Microsoft products. One recent development is the ability of search marketers to target highly relevant audiences that use the Microsoft Search Network’s engines and partner sites. These audiences are based on user attributes pulled from an individual’s LinkedIn profile.

With this audience data, search marketers can fine-tune targeting of text ads, Dynamic Search Ads, and shopping campaigns to customers based on their industry, company, or job function as indicated by user-submitted profile information.

This targeting can be layered on top of other audience targeting solutions (demographic, in-market, etc.) to ensure that ad funds are dedicated to only the most qualified searchers.

For a hyper-granular approach, advertisers now have the ability to target employees of over 75,000 different companies of all sizes. Additionally, a broader approach can be achieved by targeting audiences grouped by one of 26 job functions (ex: Human Resources, Legal, Engineering) or 147 different industries (ex: Hospitality, Accounting, Retail).

Similar to other audience targeting options, advertisers can apply keyword bid modifiers to increase or decrease bids by a percentage amount based on performance.

Here at Location3, we’ve been able to test out this offering across several client campaigns and have seen positive performance improvements as a result. Our primary challenge with Bing search ads in the past has been a lack of volume. But this offering, in addition to other audience targeting methods, has given us the ability to bid on high-volume broad-match keywords with audiences layered on to reach qualified searchers at scale.

As the paid search industry as a whole moves toward being more audience-centric as opposed to keyword, now is the time to test out audience offerings across Google and Bing, gather the data, and make informed decisions about how to offer the right message, to the right searcher, at the right time.

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