Diagram Your Targeting

LinkedIn offers some very cool targeting, from Industry targeting to Job Title targeting. But what happens when you start layering multiple targeting options?

Diagramming Your Targeting

The first thing to remember is that LinkedIn targeting is effectively like putting an AND operator between all the targeting options. For example, let’s say you’re trying to reach Director-level employees working in HR. That’s like saying that you want people with a Director-level seniority AND an HR job function. Visually, here’s what that looks like:


You only get the overlap of the two targeting options (highlighted in green), meaning a more focused, yet smaller, audience.

Now let’s take it to another level. Say we want to target HR professionals at a Director level in the Hi-Tech industry. Now that we have 3 targeting layers, it would look like this:


Again, the area in green represents the LinkedIn users we would be targeting. The audience is more refined, but also smaller. That’s perfect right? Actually, there are two things you need to watch out for.

Limitations of Layered Targeting

First, you can’t target an audience with fewer than 1,000 LinkedIn users. No exceptions.

With the examples above, it’s likely that you would be including some type of geographic targeting as well as the job function, seniority, and industry targeting. When you’re layering 4 targeting options it is actually pretty easy to get a campaign with less than 1,000 users.

Second, you need to keep in mind that not every profile on LinkedIn is “labeled” according to every targeting option. For example, right now LinkedIn tells me there are 100,421,453 LinkedIn users in the United States. Of those, 6,585,975 are in the Hi-Tech industry. However, if I select all seniority levels explicitly (instead of the “All” that is implied) there are only 6,312,968. This means that 273,007 users don’t have a seniority associated with their profile. While that may only be 4%, that’s a lot of potential people you could be missing in your targeting. Here’s the visual:



To understand what you are and aren’t covering with your targeting I recommend getting a big whiteboard and diagramming your targeting. It will help you understand exactly who you’re reaching and the areas where you might be missing people.

2 Responses to “Diagram Your Targeting”

  1. AJ February 13, 2014 at 3:52 pm #

    Amen! When targeting starts to get complex, diagramming is absolutely the best way to visualize.
    LinkedIn is quite a bit different from keyword-based PPC because it makes sense to target the same (seemingly) group of visitors in a variety of different campaigns because profile completeness is such an x factor on LinkedIn. Diagrams help you find the overlaps that your brain may not be able to wrap around, especially considering the interaction with several other campaigns for an audience.


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