Back in October 2018, Microsoft Ads announced that advertisers can now extend their reach by targeting using audience data from LinkedIn. i.e.

  • Company: e.g. Nike, Morgan Stanley, HSBC
  • Industry: retail, law practice, hospitality
  • Job function: human resources, marketing, legal

It's available for the search, dynamic search, shopping, and audience campaigns.

With this move, Microsoft has given itself a competitive advantage by adding a dimension that allows potential customers to put their ads in front of more tailored and suitable audiences. Especially useful for B2B lead generation campaigns and high end B2C campaigns.

We're actively trying this out with some of our clients on the Microsoft Ads platform. Targeting at Industry and Job Function level (although not looking at Companies) allows us to look at relevant sectors to get an edge and bid up when we start to see significant, positive results.

For example, 'computer software' may be relevant to the campaign as an Industry but 'accounting' is more relevant, and so there is a 200% bid adjustment made here to ensure that potential customers in this Industry are served this ad more prominently than in other targeted areas.

However, it is also important to bear in mind the possible limitations of LinkedIn targeting.

Whilst targeting is layered to include job functions, it does not go to such a granular level as job title yet. For instance, we can target people in marketing but not a job within this such as 'Head of Marketing', so the scope within this function can still be quite wide.

Another drawback is that the targeting is only as good as what the user is willing to share about themselves on their LinkedIn profile, therefore is reliant on what people offer up in the first place.

Microsoft is making great strides forward by including LinkedIn targeting as an extra option for people to use in their audiences and we expect to see a wider range of features being rolled out on Microsoft Ads in the very near future as they strive to be the B2B, desktop focused search engine of choice.