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Social savvy | LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences feature

LinkedIn has introduced its own version of retargeted marketing. Here's what you need to know.

LinkedIn, the most corporate-minded of social media platforms, has finally introduced its own version of retargeted marketing. Dubbed ‘Matched Audiences’, this new feature will alleviate some headaches for B2B social media managers, without removing them entirely.

Finally: LinkedIn has stepped up to offer their own version of retargeted marketing. Launched in late April, its Matched Audiences function was introduced as “a set of targeting capabilities that gives you the unique ability to combine LinkedIn’s powerful professional data with your own first-party data”. The ad feature is inclusive of all of the platform’s advertising products, from Sponsored Content to Sponsored Inmail. As a result, business is in a better position than ever before to facilitate nurturing of known audiences and cultivate more meaningful leads.

The smart-suited platform has been trailing behind Facebook and Twitter, which provided tailored marketing options back in 2013. And, despite the hype, LinkedIn is still on the backfoot, lacking in a broader targeting range (for example, capturing targeting options for people who have interacted with a post). Still, at least B2B marketers have their own set of shiny tools to brag about. With three choices of retargeting – website retargeting, account targeting and contact targeting, all found in the Campaign Manager section of LinkedIn – those 6.983 million Australians on LinkedIn just became a whole lot closer.

2 reasons why B2Bs can rejoice

1. Match rates

B2B marketers can face a bit of a conundrum when it comes to subscriber lists. Typically, the fair share of their database addresses are corporate emails. Yet this tends to thwart Facebook or Twitter retargeting, since who uses their work email as a social media login?

LinkedIn, however, is different, since many users add their work email as a secondary address. Audiences that were elusive on other social media platforms become accessible; those dismayingly low match rates are given a lift.

2. More granular audiences

The three targeting options give marketers flexibility and a more ‘kid-glove’ approach. Using hypotheticals, here’s a quick run-through.

Website Retargeting

You’re a mid-sized travel company, offering a new half-priced Business package to London. You can segment your site visitors to those who have previously checked out your page and upload their addresses through LinkedIn. To this end, you can choose between ‘Exact’, ‘Contains’ and ‘Starts with’.

‘Contains’ means retargeting visitors to sites containing a string of specific characters. With this option, you can put your domain name in and it will target everyone who’s visited your website – a good option for general campaigns. For instance, if your domain name is ‘travelwithus’, you can set that as the URL and everyone who has checked out your site will be targeted.

‘Exact’ means you’re retargeting visitors to a specific URL. You can add more than one URL by clicking ‘Add another URL’. For example, if you want to target for an ad featuring a specific London hotel package, you could use a highly specific URL:

‘Starts with’ means you can retarget anyone who’s visited the site, beginning with a URL. For instance, you could retarget those who visit:

  •, and

For this specific scenario, your travel company finds the ‘Starts with’ option the most suitable to achieve the campaign objective, as ‘Contains’ is too general for the audience you’re chasing, and ‘Exact’ is too specific. Through this Matched Audience option, your ad is put in front of those looking for flights to London.

Account Targeting

You’re a large data security company with a core business strategy in healthcare. Using Account Targeting, you can input a customised list of your ideal clients, which LinkedIn will match up with its huge database of company pages. Company employees – and their tech buyer decision-makers – are zeroed in. Best of all, account targeting enhances LinkedIn’s demographic targeting, as you’re able to target your competitor’s accounts (and others relevant to your campaign).

Contact Targeting

You’re an education-based software company with a large existing customer base. Your goal is to drive those existing customers to upgrade their existing products.

With Contact Targeting, you can upload a CSV of emails to LinkedIn, or use the feature’s data integration option to transfer existing contact lists from platforms like Marketo or LiveRamp (with LinkedIn promising even more integration platforms to come). This way, you’re minimising cost-ineffective ‘scattergun’ approach, so that the dollars you invest in your ad get a better chance to pay off.

2 reasons why B2Bs should demand better

So far, so sweet. However, this positive step forward is still waiting to hit the ideal stride. Here are two reasons why.

1. Minimum audience sizes

LinkedIn has set a minimum audience size of 300. If you don’t have 300 target email addresses or accounts, you’re going to have to reach the threshold with untargeted account ‘stuffing’. This is annoying at best.

2. Inflexible lists

Once you’ve uploaded a list, you can’t go in to edit it or delete it. Just why, LinkedIn? Why?

LinkedIn has yet to hit its ideal stride, but the step forward that Matched Accounts represents is nonetheless significant. B2Bs: celebrate. Moderately.

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