Marketers have been waiting patiently for the release of LinkedIn’s roadmap this year, and for good reason. For a while now, LinkedIn has been the secret sauce that has pushed the needle on B2B marketing strategies. Its segmentation capability, for example, has allowed us to hone in on target groups and companies with laser-like precision, which has made our PPC campaigns more targeted and fruitful.
So, what do these latest changes mean for B2B marketers like you and me? With LinkedIn’s latest features, we’ll have more data at our disposal to push the envelope with our marketing efforts. But before you get ahead of yourself, make sure you have a good read on LinkedIn’s latest update and how it fits within the ecosystem of your marketing strategy.
Sponsored InMail as Chat
Our InMail strategy has always been cautious of looking too sales-y in someone’s inbox. LinkedIn’s solution? Giving InMail a facelift with conversation ads.
Inspired by innovations in chat and the adoption of personalization, InMail ads are going to be more dynamic with guided replies, resulting in a chat-like experience. This way you’re able to have conversations at scale, while also having more targeted conversations.
The platform will allow you to create chat workflows designed to help you learn more about your prospects' wants and needs before they even attend your webinar or check out your latest research.
Rather than using several platforms to advertise your online event, LinkedIn plans to encourage marketers to create and promote events within the platform. And yes, registration will be included too.
While this sounds like a great idea at first, there are some drawbacks. You’ll only be able to promote and gain attendees from LinkedIn. I’d say that this one still has a few rough edges that need smoothing before you call and cancel your GoToWebinar account. Make sure to include it as part of your event strategy and not as your one sole tactic.
Customer reviews can be a huge asset when it comes to closing deals. LinkedIn plans to give review companies a run for their money with it’s own reviews of products and services listing.
LinkedIn’s key differentiator? Your organization can now turn the best reviews into ads, making sure that the right audience sees your social proof. This makes a lot of sense, considering many review sites already have you validate your identity via LinkedIn integration.
While we don’t know what these review ads will look like exactly, you can imagine that LinkedIn is going to make them very simple and easy to set up. They’re likely to be branded like LinkedIn rather than your own brand, giving your ad a more organic feel.
Audience Interest and Lookalike Targeting
Understanding your buyer to identify advertising opportunities is a no brainer. Now, LinkedIn is taking it a step further, providing granular data points for better segmentation via interest targeting.
Interest targeting allows segmentation by professional interest and it's determined by the content and topical hashtags users interact with. In addition, LinkedIn has partnered with Bing to boost its search data capabilities to discern professional likes and interests for which you've been curious about. This new feature will allow you to know who’s going to be more likely to click on your ad, and you’ll probably see an uplift in engagement rates with your ad content.
LinkedIn recently updated how you can reach more of its users that share the same qualities as those already on your contact list. Lookalike targeting is expected to increase your audience reach by 5-10X.
By uploading a list of contacts (your best customers would be a great place to start), you’ll be able to find LinkedIn members to target based on them sharing the same qualities as the members on your list. You can scale your reach by selecting targeting parameters like job function and geography. An added bonus of this feature is the quality of the data. Since most people keep their LinkedIn profiles fairly updated, this removes the guesswork of finding your target audience and verifying their information.
New to LinkedIn advertising? No worries. New audience templates can curate your audience for you and it's a great place to start. Audience templates will allow you to choose from pre-made groups to target based on popular audience selections, like similar industries and titles. With the audience curation done for you, you can speed up the process and shorten ramp-up time for your campaign launch.
This removes the pressure of finding the perfect audience and allows you to refine your audience once you have a better idea of what works on LinkedIn Ads.
Buyer Group Targeting and Account Level Reporting
We’ve often used LinkedIn to trail ABM. In the past, you could get as specific as industries, companies, and job titles. Now, there are more options for scaling ABM techniques.
By providing your key accounts and customer/prospect info that your sales team is targeting, LinkedIn will serve ads to key influencers at those accounts in a more targeted approach. Ideally, this will save you the time it would have taken to research any key roles to add to your list.
LinkedIn will also suggest more roles to target, helping you set up better campaigns if you aren’t sure of all the influencers within a deal. It’s certainly a more scalable approach to ABM on LinkedIn.
New Audience Insights
Successful ABM campaigns rely on knowing who your target audience is. With LinkedIn’s plan of releasing a new audience insights tool, we’ll be able to see more data than before on the people we’re targeting.
User interest data will give marketers the power to better connect with their audiences. You’ll have more access to the content and topics your target audience consumes. A rule a thumb to remember here is to stay on brand with your ads and to make connections to larger topical trends that make sense.
Smarter Retargeting Campaigns
Currently, you can use retargeting strategies on LinkedIn. But it’s about to get more sophisticated. With Nurture Targeting, you’ll be able to serve ad campaigns to prospects who had seen your ads before but didn’t convert.
The benefit here lies in the ability to create a workflow for your ads that can help you reach engagement goals. In tandem with the ABM features, this could be a vital way to ensure your message is connecting with the right people, without serving the same message to them ad nauseam.
LinkedIn’s new features are sure to change the game for many B2Bs. This can be both a blessing and a curse. With more access to data and more knowledge about our prospects and customers, we’ll be able to better connect with them than ever before.
However, with more hyper-targeting, it’s likely only a matter of time before we have too much of a good thing – and prospects start getting agitated with hyper-personalization. Moral of the story? Start getting familiar with these new features now so you can be one of the first to take advantage of LinkedIn’s roadmap. For a full list of LinkedIn's features and rollout dates, click this link to learn more.
Want to learn more about LinkedIn best practices?
Read our Blog "LinkedIn Best Practices" to get the scoop.