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Could LinkedIn make Bing more interesting?

Like most people in B2B marketing, our first port of call for advertising on the web is Google AdWords search ads. This is because there’s no hotter target than prospects searching for products, and there’s nowhere they do this more often than on Google. However, there are alternatives. If you’re trying to target prospects searching for products, the second most likely place you’ll find them is on Bing search. If you’re trying to target a particular demographic, regardless of whether or not they’re searching for products, LinkedIn may be your most interesting platform. Nowhere has more information about professionals.

There’s a problem though. You can target prospects searching for products, or a particular demographic, but not the crossover. If you sell widgets to the aerospace sector, you either have to advertise to widget buyers in all sectors, or to everyone in the aerospace sector, whether or not they buy widgets.

If you follow the comings and goings of the online advertising industry, you might already know that Bing and LinkedIn are both owned by Microsoft. And this in turn leads me to wonder what might happen if Microsoft combined those two. For the first time ever, we’d be able to say: “show my ads to people looking for widgets in the aerospace sector”. I think that’s going to happen sooner rather than later. It may not be a big thing, but it might be something which we’re willing to pay a premium for.