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It’s no secret that LinkedIn Ads allows advertisers to target by certain demographics.

Setting Up

Typically, you’ll add your targeting until you reach that “goldilocks” audience size – not too big and not too small. Then create some ads and hit go.

One way to optimise by demographic is to segment your audiences more granularly and target them separately in many different campaigns. This gives you the most control, but the problem is that the size of your audiences may end up being very small, and small audiences limit LinkedIn’s ability to optimise bids and show the most successful ads. It could also be a time-consuming process – especially if you are creating manual UTM’s for each campaign.

Incidentally, a good target audience size to allow the automatic features to optimise effectively is around 50,000 profiles per campaign.

Therefore, a more efficient way is to stick to your goldilocks audience size, have fewer campaigns, and then use the demographics report.

Whether or not an advertiser has a crystal clear idea of who their audience actually is (or who they want their audience to be), the demographic report in LinkedIn is a great way to see how different demographics are responding to your activity. You can then use this data to optimise your campaigns and ads.

Finding The Data

To get started, put a checkbox next to the campaigns that you are interested in, and then press the “Demographics” button. You can also select a date range.

After your campaign has accumulated enough data, you can gain insights about:

  • Job function
  • Job title
  • Company
  • Company industry
  • Job seniority
  • Company size
  • Location
  • Country

LinkedIn currently offers 4 categories for demographic analysis:

  • Performance
  • Leads
  • Sponsored InMail
  • Video

Bear in mind that these categories are only available for the corresponding campaign objectives. For example, you can see data on Leads if you are using the lead generation campaign objective, but not the website conversions campaign objective. You’ll also want to avoid viewing the demographics of multiple campaigns at the same time if they have different campaign goals.

Performance shows information about click-through rate. Leads will show you data on lead form open rate and completion rate. Sponsored InMail gives information on open rate and click-to-open rate (a click after opening). Video lets you see the view rate and video completion rate. All of these categories give you the volume metrics too, eg. number of clicks.

You should analyse all of this data. Sometimes rows will not have data, but seeing no data is not always bad – you will see “Below reporting minimum” where there is not enough data, but this isn’t the same as a 0. It might, for example, mean 3 or fewer leads have been reported for that demographic.

Insights From The Data

Perhaps a certain industry has a higher click-through rate (CTR) than others. Or maybe, a particularly low CTR. Could this be something to do with your ads and how they are appealing to different demographics?

Lower lead form completion rates will typically mean a higher cost per lead (CPL). For some demographics, we have seen 280 lead form opens but only 13 lead form completions. In this situation (demonstrated in the screenshot below), it was safe to say that the conversion rate of 4.64% for that job title is way too low to be profitable, and it would have also been increasing the cost per lead.

This screenshot demonstrates the performance differences nicely. In this situation, the volume of leads from Program Managers still makes up a good chunk of the total leads, so you might start thinking about the value of the leads from Program Managers vs the value of those from Marketing Directors. Marketing Directors are over six times more likely to complete the form after opening it. But perhaps Program Managers are more important to the advertiser?

Actions From The Data

Without carrying out that analysis, it would be highly unlikely that we would have recognised this “black hole” demographic. As a result, we have the data we need to exclude that demographic from the campaign settings to create a positive impact on performance. And whilst your audience size might reduce when you exclude a segment of your audience, if a demographic isn’t contributing to your campaign goal then you aren’t really missing out.

With the above example, if the campaign continued to run for longer, we could have doubled-down on Marketing Directors and created a new campaign that only targeted Marketing Directors. The new campaign would have the same creative, but a higher budget and higher bids to take advantage of the higher conversion rate.

For campaigns with other goals, you could compare demographics by the engagement of your videos or your sponsored InMail. This is particularly useful when you are paying by CPM, CPV or CPS and you want to reach the most engaged audience possible.

Remember that for LinkedIn video campaigns, the CPV bidding (cost per view) is chargeable when someone views just 2 continuous seconds of the video.

To exclude an audience, navigate to your Campaign report table, click on the 3 dots beside your campaign name, and click edit. Then scroll down to the exclusions section and add the demographic you want to exclude (or just remove it from the targeting section). Then Save and exit.

An advertiser may believe that a certain industry or location is really important to them, but the data may show that they are expensive to reach. When given the option to weigh up the importance of that demographic vs the cost per lead, the advertiser can make an informed decision on whether to continue with the same targeting or not. If the demographic is particularly valuable but has a low completion rate, then this data could lead to increasing the target cost per lead.

If, on the other hand, excluding a demographic is not an option, perhaps the under-performing demographics are not resonating with your content? You might consider revising your ad copy, your video content, and/or your lead gen form to make it more appealing to that demographic.

If you are considering updating your assets, this may have a knock-on effect and it could impact the performance of other demographics. Keep an eye on demographic performance, or split out the audiences that you want to test new assets with into new campaigns. If you do this, don’t forget the exclude that demographic from your original campaigns.

A particularly good feature of the demographic report is that you can aggregate the performance of multiple campaigns into a single report. This can reveal patterns in data that you might not have known about if you looked at a campaign’s performance individually, nor if you had set up many smaller campaigns that each contained a more granular segmented audience. The report contains dimensions that you are unlikely to have split out with granular campaign targeting.

Demographic reports also mean that you can share additional information with marketing managers, thus adding more value. You could share how many times people from particularly companies saw your ads, as well as the most engaged users by job title. This could then contribute to the wider marketing strategy including content, language, tone of voice, and even business growth opportunities.