As a leading platform in B2B marketing, LinkedIn has built a system around marketing solutions with optimized interfaces and in-platform features. LinkedIn Matched Audiences is a tool that allows businesses to build audiences from email lists, website traffic, and high-value LinkedIn accounts. It enables you to upload a list of companies or contacts you may like to target, retarget people, integrate contacts from a third-party system, and create a lookalike audience.
- Why you should use LinkedIn retargeting options
- What is LinkedIn targeting?
- How to find your target audience on LinkedIn
- What is LinkedIn Matched Audiences?
- LinkedIn Matched Audiences results
- How to use LinkedIn Matched Audiences
- How to add a matched audience to LinkedIn campaigns (for both Account and Contact targeting)
- LinkedIn account targeting
- LinkedIn contact targeting
- LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ best practices & tips
- LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ minimum audience size
- LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences
- More of the LinkedIn’s marketing features
- LinkedIn and GDPR
- LinkedIn Matched Audiences case studies
In this article, you will learn about LinkedIn Matched Audiences and how to use it to improve your campaigns’ efficiency. Additionally, we’ll introduce some automation integrations that you use to take your LinkedIn advertising to the next level, such as:
Why you should use LinkedIn retargeting options
LinkedIn retargeting helps businesses reach audiences based on their interaction with their brand, such as those who viewed their LinkedIn Page or clicked on a call-to-action button. This tool uses a piece of code to track people who have been to your website so you can retarget them with ads as they browse the internet. A study revealed that click-through rates (CTRs) for retargeting display ads could be as high as 10 times more successful than non-targeted ads. Also, retargeting ads provide a 1,046% increase in trademark search behavior. Other LinkedIn retargeting benefits are:
1. It allows you to send highly relevant and personalized content to your audience.
For example, if a user has visited a product page on your website, you can target the user with exclusive offers related to that product. This will improve your conversion rates immensely. The more personalized your content is, the higher conversion rates you will get.
2. It helps accelerate the buyer’s journey from awareness to conversion.
With this method, most of the users you are targeting have already interacted with your business, which makes them warm leads. All you need is to rekindle their interest with a persuasive offer and move them further down the sales funnel.
3. It helps retain your customers through personalized offers to improve customer lifetime value.
Customer retention increases profits and reduces expenses. A study carried out by Bain & Company revealed that a 5% increase in customer retention correlates with at least a 25% increase in profit. Also, Fundera revealed that a 2% increase in customer retention could reduce costs by 10%.
What is LinkedIn targeting?
LinkedIn allows you to target a high-quality audience in a professional environment. If you advertise or run sponsored content on LinkedIn, the platform helps you define and then launch campaigns that are perfectly optimized for your audience targeting. This process is done by establishing various criteria, such as company size, number of employees, job titles, etc. Considering all these factors, LinkedIn is an ideal medium for running flexible marketing_ whether for advertising, content marketing, or networking.
If you are new to advertising on LinkedIn, read this article to learn how to create your first LinkedIn ad campaign here.
After answering the question of what LinkedIn targeting is, it is important to know how to actually implement LinkedIn’s targeting features for running optimized campaigns. This brings us to the targeting options available on the platform.
How to find your target audience on LinkedIn
In order to get your message across to your ideal LinkedIn target audience, there are different options available. Let’s take a quick look at these options.
LinkedIn targeting options
Attracting your LinkedIn target audience by location is quite effective since users often expect to hear from brands in their geographical location. You can decide to reach potential customers based on where they live. To target the location, you can base your category on the data specified by the member in their profiles or their IP address for short-term visits.
2. Audience attributes
You can also reach your LinkedIn target audience based on the information found in their profiles. These kinds of targeting options include the following data:
- Company: It includes further details such as degree of connections, number of followers, growth rate year over year, industry, name, revenue, and size.
- Demographics: It offers info such as the member’s age and gender.
- Education: It provides data such as schools, fields of studies, and degrees.
- Job experience: It categorizes individuals based on function, level of seniority, job title, specific skills, and years of experience.
- Interests and traits: These include groups that the member is associated with, claims derived from the member’s engagement with specific content, and personal and social traits concluded based on the member’s actions on the platform.
3. Matched Audiences
Matched Audiences allow you to create custom audience segments from lists of contacts in your CRM – or other marketing platforms – that you can include in your campaign targeting selections.
LinkedIn audience insights
One of the most notable advantages of advertising on LinkedIn is the ability to track analytics and your campaign’s performance. Using LinkedIn audience insights, you can know who has engaged with your content. This way, you can access useful details about the content or ads you post.
For advertisers, LinkedIn insight engagement directly affects the LinkedIn metrics and their tracking process. And since engagement is the deciding factor in conversion performance, these insights are crucial to your success.
For an improved tracking of your audience engagement, LinkedIn allows you to discover audiences with a high engagement rate, determine content and topics, and ultimately test the performance and strength of your metrics.
Want to increase your B2B audience engagement? Learn all about tracking LinkedIn’s audience insights and metrics here.
What is LinkedIn Matched Audiences?
LinkedIn Matched Audiences is a tool that enables you to retarget website visitors and promote your product and services to contacts from your CRM databases and marketing automation platforms. With this account-based targeting feature, you can reach decision-makers at target companies.
Matched Audiences helps you focus your marketing efforts on the audiences and accounts likely to convert. You can manage your LinkedIn target audience in one dashboard and grow your business with lookalike audiences.
LinkedIn Matched Audiences is available for Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, and other LinkedIn ad formats.
LinkedIn Matched Audiences results
In 2017, LinkedIn created a six-month pilot program that enabled 370+ advertisers to create 2000+ campaigns for a beta test.
The customers using account targeting saw:
- A 32% increase in conversion rates after a click and a 4.7% decrease in cost per click with account targeting.
- A 37% increase in CTR with contact-based targeting.
- A 30% boost in CTR and a 14% decrease in cost per click from website retargeting ads.
How to use LinkedIn Matched Audiences
With LinkedIn Matched Audiences, you can create three types of targeting to reach the ideal customers for your business. The first is website retargeting. It lets you run a consistent campaign. An average website gets up to a 700% increase in traffic after running retargeting campaigns.
You need to place a simple tag on your website to create audiences by matching the visitors’ data to your site. This data can be used to create ongoing marketing campaigns. For example, you can run a campaign for visitors who visit a particular product page with an offer to increase conversions.
Contact targeting is the next option for creating matched audiences and a great way to upsell products or services to leads and customers. According to the LinkedIn case study, they experienced a 37% increase in click-through rate with contact targeting.
Contact targeting produces a high yield on ad spend because the contacts are in the final stage of the buyer’s journey (decision-making phase).
The last option is account targeting, which helps businesses reach out to influencers and key decision-makers in companies. In a case study carried out by LinkedIn, they received a 32% increase in post-click conversion rates and a 4.7% drop in post-click cost per conversion. That is a very high conversion rate for businesses targeting decision-makers.
With 580 million company profiles on LinkedIn, you can target your products and services to decision-makers and influencers in your industry.
Now that you know how to use LinkedIn Matched Audiences, it is time to add a matched audience to your LinkedIn campaigns.
How to add a matched audience to LinkedIn campaigns (for both Account and Contact targeting)
The LinkedIn Matched Audiences tool allows you to add matched audiences to your campaigns. You can do this either by uploading a company or contact list, or through a third-party app.
1. Uploading a company or contact list.
The company or contact list is a list of email contacts of companies. Here’s how to upload a company or contact list as a matched audience to your LinkedIn campaign.
a. Click on Advertise on LinkedIn’s home page. This will take you to the Campaign Manager. Select the right campaign group and account name.
b. On the Campaign Manager page, click on Account assets and then click on Matched Audiences.
c. Find the Create audience in the dropdown menu and click on Company / Contact under Upload a list.
d. Give the audience a name and click on the Select list button to pick up the CSV file from your computer.
There are two files specified list templates in the image above. The company list template and the contact list template. Use them appropriately to create your list to make it easy to upload.
e. Upload the saved file from your computer and click Upload.
At this point, you are all done! However, uploading takes about 48 hours to process and 24 hours to start delivery. After that, you can select and add the list to your campaign.
2. Use a third-party software.
LinkedIn allows you to create an audience from the emails sent from your contact management platforms such as Mailchimp, HubSpot, and ActiveCampaign. This is done by integrating your contact management platform with LinkedIn through third-party software like LeadsBridge.
Mailchimp integration with LinkedIn Matched Audiences
HubSpot integration with LinkedIn Matched Audiences
ActiveCampaing integration with LinkedIn Matched Audiences
LeadsBridge helps you connect your LinkedIn Matched Audiences with your favorite tool with a few clicks. Considering that we offer over 380 integrations, you can find the best integrations for your marketing, or get a tailor-made integration that matches your exact requirements. Here are two more of our popular LinkedIn integrations you can use:
Zoho CRM integration with LinkedIn Matched Audiences
Pipedrive integration with LinkedIn Matched Audiences
Creating these data bridges through LeadsBridge helps to streamline your data sync processes. As a result, you can keep your list up to date automatically. This is particularly useful for large companies with high-volume CRM segments. In addition, with it, you can create audience segments and use them in your LinkedIn campaigns.
Through LeadsBridge integrations, you can create audience segments and use them for your LinkedIn ad targeting. Additionally, you can scale audience-building by automating the task of sending new email addresses as they come into LinkedIn Matched Audiences from your CRM software.
LinkedIn website retargeting
The website retargeting feature of the Matched Audiences tool enables you to target LinkedIn users who have been to your website with ads. This is done by defining your target audience and offering them relevant ad content based on their interaction history: pages they visited, such as the product page, blog pages, or content they viewed on your website.
With the website retargeting feature, you can:
- segment website visitors based on the website pages they visited;
- tailor your ad content based on their page visit history;
- convert more prospects to paying customers.
How to create a website retargeting campaign
2. Create an audience to retarget.
On the campaign manager, click on Create an audience to retarget and set up the three rules for tracking.
There are three URLs to fill in, as shown in the image above: Starts with, Exact and Contains.
- Select Starts with to retarget users who have been to your website using the specified URL;
- Select Exact to retarget LinkedIn users who visited the URL you specify;
- Select Contains to retarget visitors to URLs that contain a specific string of characters.
You can also add additional website URLs according to which visitors you want to retarget.
Once you define your URLs, LinkedIn will display ads to anyone who has been to your website in the past 90 days. Consider that you need to have an audience size of 300 (at least) to see results. What’s more, this process may take up to 48 hours.
The second LinkedIn Matched Audiences feature is account-based targeting.
LinkedIn account targeting
Also known as ABM, LinkedIn account targeting enables you to target companies on LinkedIn pages. The best advice is to target professionals who make or influence the buying decisions of your targeted accounts. You can do this by combining your target account list with targeting facets such as Job title, industry, etc. However, ensure you don’t add too many facets to avoid the hyper-targeting pitfalls.
This feature helps you target a list of up to 300,000 organizations and target the specific demographics of these companies. With LinkedIn account targeting, you can show ads to the influencers and decision-makers at the companies you want.
Setting up LinkedIn account targeting
1. List out your target accounts.
You can do this using a spreadsheet. In the first row, write the Company name, then type in the names of the company and save it as a CSV file. See a sample below.
You can download LinkedIn templates and use them when creating the company contact lists to keep things organized and avoid errors.
2. Create your ads for account targeting.
Upload your company’s list by following the processes outlined above under the section How to add Matched Audiences to LinkedIn campaigns. Once it is uploaded, LinkedIn will match the companies against other companies and give you a list of accounts you can target best.
The third LinkedIn Matched Audience is contact targeting.
LinkedIn contact targeting
The contact targeting option of the LinkedIn Matched Audiences is similar to the Facebook custom audiences. It requires that you upload the email addresses you want to target on LinkedIn. With the contact targeting option, you can:
- upload a list of email contacts to target on LinkedIn;
- contact potential customers, current customers, and unresponsive customers;
- get more conversions.
If you are uploading the contact list manually, the first thing you need to do is to prepare your email list in a spreadsheet. Ensure you format the CSV file with a single column and one email address per row.
It is recommended to use the word email as the title of the first row. LinkedIn allows you to upload up to 300,000 email addresses, given that you have at least 300 email addresses on your list.
Alternatively, download the LinkedIn contact list template and add your list to it to make it faster and keep your lists error-free.
When you are done with the formatting, follow the process outlined under the section How to add Matched Audiences to LinkedIn campaigns above to upload the list of email contacts.
Once you upload the file and click Next, the contact list will be uploaded and matched.
Want to know more? Check out this guide about how to download leads from LinkedIn.
LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ best practices & tips
1. Find your target accounts.
The best practice you need to follow when setting up your LinkedIn Matched Audiences is to find the right target accounts. Pre-qualifying your target accounts will help you save time and money. List out the ideal demographics of the clients (age and gender), the company (name, size, and industry), education (degrees, fields of study), job experience (job title, function and seniority, and years of experience), and interests (groups and members).
2. Build your audience.
Once you have the target accounts listed out, it is time to build your audience. LinkedIn offers templates for the list in order to avoid errors. Download the template, add your list to it and upload it. Alternatively, you can integrate LinkedIn with your contact management platform to automatically upload the list through third-party software such as LeadsBridge. This method is much faster and more accurate in all aspects. After uploading the list, you can create and deliver ads to targeted accounts and individuals.
3. Don’t hyper-target your audience.
When starting out with your target audience, the rule of thumb is to use about 50,000 audiences for sponsored content and text ads, and 15,000 for message ads. You will see the estimated reach and a suggested range as you build the audience. This will help you have a wider audience right at the start, and as you test the audience to know what works best, you can narrow your campaign’s focus on result-driving factors.
4. Run A/B tests on your audiences and campaigns.
Test two or more similar campaigns with slightly different targeting criteria. You can change a factor in each campaign, such as skills, job titles, industry, etc, and then compare the results. This will help you identify the campaign that works best and how to reach people who will respond faster and better to your campaigns.
LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ minimum audience size
LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ minimum audience size is 300 members, and the maximum is 300,000. In addition, location is a requirement for targeting. Therefore, when using LinkedIn Matched Audiences, you need to have a list of an audience that is more than 300 in size. Since the location will naturally reduce the number of your audience, some marketers find this as an obstacle.
However, if you have a small list of fewer than 300 contacts, you can use multiple lists or create a lookalike audience to get the LinkedIn Matched Audiences minimum audience size for your campaign to start. As a general rule; the larger the contact lists are, the better the match rates will be.
LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences
Once you’ve created your segment of high-potential converting customers, you can expand on that with another tool: LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences. This tool matches the characteristics of your ideal customers with other members and companies on LinkedIn to help you find and target new professional audiences that share similar attributes to your existing customers, website visitors, and target accounts.
LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences uses data such as member profiles and company attributes to determine similar characteristics – except for sensitive demographic data, which are prohibited, such as sex or age. What is great about this tool is that the lookalike audience size can be up to 15 times larger than the original audience size, which rapidly expands your reach and therefore increases your potential for conversion.
Obviously, the original Matched Audiences segment is automatically excluded from the new lookalike audience.
More of the LinkedIn’s marketing features
Besides customer match, engagement insights, and LinkedIn metric tracking, the platform offers other valuable tools for providing a better marketing experience.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms
When it comes to any form of marketing, you need to increase your consumer base through continuous lead generation. This lead acquisition process also must be from a reliable source in order to guarantee high-quality leads that are worth your efforts. Nevertheless, generating good leads is a challenging task for about 65% of businesses.
To address this pain point, the platform features the LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms to help marketers generate massive targeted leads for their businesses.
Statistics show that marketers who used LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms saw a significant increase in return on investment. However, it is important to streamline your lead generation processes by automating lead data management.
LeadsBridge offers integrations that help you sync data automatically between any point of your marketing stack. What’s more, you can try any one of these integrations for Free by registering for LeadsBridge Freemium Plan.
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms integration with Pardot
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms integration with Google Sheets
LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms integration with Email Notification
There are no events without having attendees. LinkedIn Events feature provides you a solution to create and promote professional events, like meetups, online workshops, seminars, etc. This feature is designed as a community-centered means for both ordinary LinkedIn members and advertisers. While you can market your event and grow your business; LinkedIn users can find and join communities, network with others, and learn new skills.
All in all, this feature enables you to announce your event to an extensive target audience through an event ad campaign.
LinkedIn and GDPR
With the constantly evolving customer-privacy landscape, the question comes naturally: While handling all this data, how exactly is LinkedIn operating within GDPR regulations and policies?
The “social” nature of a platform such as LinkedIn makes it clear that, upon signing up, users are automatically agreeing to share their own data and in return have access to other fellow users’ data for professional purposes.
When this happens, LinkedIn becomes the data controller and processor and is therefore completely responsible for protecting the personal information of all its members. So, as long as the members communicate and interact with each other on LinkedIn – through Matched Audiences and Lookalike Audiences, for example – LinkedIn and GDPR go happily hand in hand and there are no violations of the law.
However, the picture changes if you decide to download your LinkedIn contacts and feed them to your email marketing software. When downloading that data from LinkedIn, you automatically become the data controller and are therefore responsible for its protection and GDPR compliance. Keep in mind that any email marketing activity generated from a LinkedIn list of contacts will result in heavy fines and legal proceedings.
LinkedIn Matched Audiences case studies
Scorpion healthcare used LinkedIn’s audience segmentation and retargeting features to reach out to senior healthcare decision-makers. Following this practice, they generated high-quality leads. The company wanted senior healthcare decision-makers to be aware of its products. So, they created a campaign that allowed them to reach the senior healthcare decision-makers, build relationships and trust, and generate leads and ultimately, conversions.
The company used LinkedIn’s sponsored content and the LinkedIn Matched Audiences tool to target and deliver quality leadership content to prospects and customers. They received a 56% increase in conversions, a 33% reduction in cost per lead, and a 3.14x increase in opportunity-to-customer rate.
Sage is a company that deals with accounting and payroll software. The company wanted to create awareness for its payroll solutions by withholding tax requirements and offering support to its existing customers.
They used LinkedIn’s retargeting options to engage prospects with a free compliance guide, sponsored content, and landing pages to achieve their goals. The campaign generated 700,000 impressions in six weeks, generating more leads that exceeded their target by 4x. They also reduced the cost per lead, which was less than a fifth of Sage’s previous average CPL.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Hewlett Packard Enterprise is a global, edge-to-cloud SaaS company, built to transform businesses. HPE’s goal was to create awareness around the company’s new solutions and generate annuity revenue from large enterprise accounts.
By leveraging LinkedIn Matched Audiences’ unique targeting capabilities, HPE was able to create a custom audience of approximately 1,200 leaders from 450 priority accounts, focusing on key decision-makers it had previously been unable to connect with.
As a result, HPE made 399 new connections, effectively engaging leaders from 42% of HPE’s target accounts. They witnessed an increased number of mentions by 21%, which exceeded the company’s estimated engagement by 250%. Additionally, they succeeded in creating valuable interactions with 215,000 unique professionals.
Zycus is a company that specializes in procurement technology and advanced solutions that help global enterprises up their delivery game with unique and innovative AI-powered Source-to-Pay and Procure-to-Pay suites across various segments and industries. In order to open up to new opportunities that were presenting themselves in markets across Europe and Asia-Pacific, Zycus resourced to LinkedIn to expand its reach and engagement amongst key decision-makers in these target markets.
Zycus leveraged LinkedIn Matched Audiences to exclude their list of existing customers and engage high-quality lookalike audiences instead. As a result, they generated approximately 460 new leads per month over the course of 9 months, decreasing their average cost-per-lead to $29, increasing MQLs yearly conversions by 150%, and increased ROI by 7.4X on LinkedIn spends.
The LinkedIn Matched Audiences tool offers exciting features for businesses. It reduces your advertising costs and keeps your brand fresh in the minds of prospects with decision-making power. It saves valuable time and helps you to achieve better ROI with LinkedIn advertising by making it possible to create audiences from your contacts and show your ads to any one of its 500 million members.
With LinkedIn Matched Audiences, you can target decision-makers and influencers in your industry or collect their information with lead generation campaigns. You can know how people respond to your ads. You will see the number of views and clicks. It is worth mentioning that these features have turned LinkedIn into a powerful competitor against Facebook or Twitter.
Explore all the available integrations for LinkedIn Matched Audiences by LeadsBridge.