After Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion in 2016, many were wondering what plans the tech giant had for the world’s largest professional network. Since the acquisition, Microsoft has invested even more into the network to enhance user experience, reach new audiences, and improve a lot of the things advertisers hated about LinkedIn Ads. So far Microsoft’s investments in the network have been great for LinkedIn – the company’s revenue is up 37% compared to last year.
But experts have been wondering how the LinkedIn acquisition could help power the rest of Microsoft’s suite of tech products, which includes Windows, Office, Skype, Xbox, and, of course, our favorite – Bing. This morning at SMX East in New York, Microsoft’s own David Pann took the morning keynote to answer that question, much to the delight of SEMs everywhere.
In his keynote, Pann announced that Bing Ads would soon be enabling advertisers to directly target their search campaigns to a user’s company, industry, and job function by leveraging data from their LinkedIn profile! Using this new targeting, advertisers will be able to adjust their bids for different professional profiles who might be searching or shopping online.
New LinkedIn Profile Targeting: How It Works
At launch, Bing Ad’s integration with LinkedIn will allow advertisers to target their campaigns to professionals along three different dimensions: company, industry, and job function.
Advertisers will have the option to target the current employees of over 80,000 different companies ranging in size from multinational conglomerates to local startups.
If sorting through 80,000 individual companies is too intimidating, advertisers can alternatively target all the employees working in one of 145 different industries, such as retail, legal, and healthcare.
Job Function Targeting
Regardless of their industry or company, individuals will play different roles and have different interests. Advertisers will have control over whether their ads are reaching, for instance, human resource professionals, marketing team members, or IT support staff. At launch, the integration will feature 26 different job function targets.
Bing’s integration with LinkedIn gives it a unique competitive advantage over Google’s limited demographic targeting options. This will certainly be attractive to countless B2B advertisers who often struggle to place their ads in front of the right audiences. But even non-B2B advertisers could benefit from this new professional targeting, as people’s professional lives may influence their personal purchasing behaviors or help discern their relative income. A vacation package may not be tailored for a B2B audience, but an advertiser may be willing to bid more to attract a well-paid CEO or senior executive than they might for other audiences.
Applying Bing’s New LinkedIn Profile Targeting to your Campaigns
Bing’s new LinkedIn profile targeting can be added to any search or shopping campaign via the new “Dimensions” tab within Bing Ads at either the campaign or ad group level. From this tab, advertisers can control how their ads reach different users based on their age, gender, company, industry, or job function.
Within any one of these demographic tabs, advertisers can search for their professional target of choice and add it to their campaigns as a bid adjustment. Bid adjustments can either be positive (up to +900%) or negative (as low as -90%, nearly excluding them from seeing their ads). At the moment, advertisers cannot directly exclude or exclusively target these different demographics.
Bing announced that LinkedIn profile targeting will be rolling out soon, and it will be available to all advertisers starting in the United States first. In the meantime, WordStream customers can contact their rep to request beta access.