We’ve recently been working with a number of brands helping them to connect with small businesses in the UK.
One of the most obvious places to start doing this is LinkedIn, where the ad targeting capabilities allow you to target profiles based on the size of company people work at alongside other factors such as job title, seniority, function, location and vertical (to name but a few).
For SMBs, say in the 11-50 employees category, there is a button to click that means your ads can target the people who LinkedIn knows work in companies of that size. In the UK, LinkedIn can provide access to ~1.3 million people who work at companies with 11-50 employees.
All useful stuff, but there is one common challenge that data like this brings – inconsistency.
Not everyone has a 100% ‘All-Star’ profile (a nice way that LinkedIn encourages you to fully populate your details). Some people have half completed profiles. Some businesses have half completed profiles. Many small businesses don’t have a profile at all.
This means that if a person works for a small business of 11-50 employees without a company page, or their company page doesn’t specify the number of employees, or they haven’t listed their current employer, then you would never find them when targeting by their company size.
With this targeting we are able to reach 1.3 million people in our target 11-50 employee companies, a total of only 33% of our audience given companies of this size employed over 3.9 million people in the UK in 2015.
Given LinkedIn has over 22 million UK members, where the economically active working population is 33.4 million (I appreciate this is a rough indication of coverage!), we should be aspiring to reach ~65% of our SMB audience via LinkedIn (this would be 2.53 million small business employees) rather than our current 33%.
Here is where a frequently overlooked feature comes in handy.
As well as targeting who you want to ‘include’ in your targeting, you can also select who you would like to ‘exclude’.
Below you can see how we’ve excluded everyone who has a profile that identifies them as working in the UK but in companies that don’t fall within our 11-50 employee target organisations.
With the ‘include’ targeting we were under-represented with 1.3 million people (33%). With the ‘exclude’ targeting we are over-represented with 14 million people (358%!).
This is where understanding your audience personas is critical, as you now need to use LinkedIn’s other targeting criteria to filter this number down to those you actually want to reach – the job titles they are likely to hold, the seniority they are likely to be at, the verticals they are likely to be in, the groups they will be members of and so on.
Combining this inclusive and exclusive approach to LinkedIn ad targeting can allow you to reach the greater proportion of your audience, and is an especially useful tip if you want to reach a particular company size.