Need to target specific job titles or functions? Here are your options.

Rob Laver | 29th October 2020 | Paid Media

The ability to target people by the characteristics of their job is a great selling point for any advertising network. Still, surprisingly there’s very little made of this functionality in most cases, which leaves a lot of businesses defaulting to the most obvious B2B platform, LinkedIn.

Now, don’t get me wrong; LinkedIn is the market leader here for a reason. It’s wide range of profile targeting options make it super easy to hone in on your desired audience. But it’s also expensive for this reason, and high cost per clicks can frequently prove to be a barrier to ongoing activity.

So let’s take a look at a few alternative methods to reaching specific people within a business.

Microsoft Ads

Wouldn’t it be great if you could combine keyword intent with LinkedIn data on the person searching? Well, now you can! Sort of.

Microsoft Ads have been rolling out an integration with LinkedIn (who they own) for some time, and it’s now available to most advertisers to use on the search network. Now, when targeting specific keywords, you have the option to bid more aggressively if the person searching also fits into one of your defined job categories. The options here are not comprehensive yet, but no doubt this will be expanded in the future:

Specific companies can be added, or you can target people by industry such as finance or job functions such as sales or purchasing. So what’s the catch? The main drawback is that Microsoft has significantly lower search volumes than Google still, so reach could be a problem. But we’ve seen their market share rising steadily year on year, particularly in the US, and cost per clicks are often cheaper than on Google, so it’s well worth a test.


A platform that gets ruled out immediately for a lot of B2B advertising is Facebook. And that’s understandable, most people on there aren’t using it for work purposes. But that doesn’t mean they are an irrelevant audience, and a surprisingly low number of people seem to know that there are ‘work’ targeting options on here:

As with Microsoft Ads, you can target by company name or industry, but importantly you can also market based on job titles. Facebook can therefore be a great way to reach out to your target audience, and while they may not be in a frame of mind to convert there and then, by interacting with your ad or website, they can get added to remarketing lists for later.

With behaviour changing so rapidly at the moment, and many now working from home permanently, it would be logical to expect the use of work devices for break time (or dare I say it, not strictly breaktime) Facebook browsing to be on the increase.

Google Display

You also don’t just have to target job titles or functions to know you’re hitting the right audience. With a little out of the box thinking, you could increase your reach to them by appearing on websites they are likely to be browsing, using Google Display. Consider setting up a “custom intent” audience on Google Ads, using keywords and websites to build a profile of your ideal customer. I’ve included a screenshot below of how you might go about this if you were looking for HR professionals:

You also have the option to add places these people have likely visited and apps they use, as well as broader interests or purchase intentions.

Likely Future Developments

As highlighted in the Microsoft Ads section, networks are always looking for ways to obtain more data for you to use on advertising, whether that’s through increasing membership of their existing products or by expanding their portfolio of businesses. So it’s worth keeping an eye on where the big players go next. Let’s not forget, Microsoft also owns Skype and Teams, Facebook – WhatsApp and Instagram – and Google, YouTube and Gmail. This covers a lot of what we do on our laptops and phones throughout the day, and so new ways to target specific audiences are always being worked on.

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