How to Target Niche Audiences on LinkedIn

How to Reach Niche Audiences on LinkedIn with Group Targeting

Author Jon Quinton 4 min read time

One of the biggest objections to hold people back from advertising on LinkedIn is cost. Being fair, this is a completely justified response given that CPCs can be more than 7 times higher than other social platforms or search.

In practice, what this really means is you have very little room for error, and to stand any chance of a positive ROI you have to get things right first time. This article shares a targeting tip that is typically our starting point for the majority of our campaigns, and one that sees us succeed repeatedly on LinkedIn.

The main challenge new advertisers face on LinkedIn comes when a campaign has a tight budget alongside the need to target an extremely specific group of people. We’ve found time and time again that when you’re advertising something very specific, the common methods of targeting by job title and sector don’t quite cut it.

In those cases, we turn to targeting members of relevant groups and as such gain access to a far more relevant audience. You can of course layer job titles and / or job functions on top of this targeting, but we have found groups unlock the ability to target a super qualified and specific audience.

How well does it really work? Group targeting is now the mainstay of our approach on LinkedIn and we often see CTR’s above 1% (LinkedIn’s benchmark is 0.3%) and costs per lead far lower than other targeting methods. It really does work.

The issue with sector targeting is that it will only go so far. If you’re marketing something with a broad interest base then sector based targeting or job functions can do the trick, however if you need to get a bit more granular you can quickly find yourself running out of options.

Let’s say for example you are looking to market a whitepaper or webinar to people who run Adwords campaigns. Using the ‘target by Industries’ option in LinkedIn, the closest you can get is to target members of the ‘Marketing & Advertising’ Industry:

LinkedIn Targeting

That’s probably a bit broad. So, you could try targeting by Job Function to see if you can get a bit closer. However, again we can’t really get anywhere close with the best option available being ‘Marketing’:

LinkedIn Job Function Targeting

You could of course try targeting by job title which does have some relevant options, however to capture every variation of relevant job title is going to be an inefficient and slightly annoying process, and the chances of missing some crucial job titles is high.

This is really where targeting by ‘Member Groups’ really comes into its own.

The theory of targeting by group is that generally people will only join a group if they are explicitly interested in that topic. Therefore, we can advertise to group members with a fair degree of certainty that we are reaching the right people with our message.

Going back to our original task of targeting people who run Adwords campaigns, a quick search on LinkedIn reveals that there are indeed some relevant groups we can target:

LinkedIn Group Targeting

The numbers here aren’t huge, but when reaching very specific audiences smaller is sometimes better. If you did want to expand on your reach, it wouldn’t be too hard to look for groups relating to similar topics such as performance marketing and paid media.

Reverting back to the LinkedIn campaign manager and changing your targeting options to ‘Member Groups’ we can see that we have some of the groups identified above plus some more options. To find what groups are available, simply start typing and you’ll start to get some suggestions:

LinkedIn Group Targeting Options

Give it a try next time you find yourself with the need to target a very specific audience!


Having been involved in digital marketing for over a decade, Jon set up Overdrive Digital in 2016. With extensive experience in both paid media and organic channels, Jon has worked with brands ranging from small startups to global businesses.