LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences

By | July 1, 2017

New: LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences will target ads based on people’s web browsing, email addresses ¾

Later this year LinkedIn will once again let businesses target people who visit their websites with advertisements on the Microsoft-owned, business-centric social network. On top of re-adding website retargeting — which is offered by Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest — LinkedIn will enable business to target ads based on people’s email addresses, as its aforementioned rivals

LinkedIn’s campaigns are detailed in a presentation published to the company’s Marketing Solutions site as well as videos posted to the division’s YouTube. Manny Rivas from digital ad targeting firm Aimclear brought the YouTube videos to attention earlier on Monday.

“Matched Audiences is a natural evolution of our Marketing Solutions business & we are currently testing it with key customers. We have spent the last few years heavily investing in our infrastructure, and enhancing Campaign Manager translates into better results for customers,” a LinkedIn spokesperson said in an emailed statement.

The new website retargeting & email targeting options can be part of a new ad-targeting program called Matched Audiences that LinkedIn campaigns to make available to certain advertisers in November 2017, due to the leaked presentation. In addition to incorporating the account targeting option that LinkedIn introduced, the Matched Audiences program appears to be where LinkedIn can resurrect the Lead Accelerator program that it shown in February 2016 it would shut down. The previous program enabled advertisers to aim ads at LinkedIn users who visited their sites when these people were on other sites, including but not limited to LinkedIn. When LinkedIn exited the ad network business altogether, the company said it could merge the then-standalone Lead Accelerator program.

Based on the presentation & videos detailing Matched Audiences, the new website retargeting & email targeting options can be used for LinkedIn’s Sponsored Content advertisements that appear in people’s LinkedIn feeds and Sponsored InMail campaigns that are slotted in their LinkedIn inboxes. They can be combined with LinkedIn’s standard ad targeting selection, like the target audience’s location, job title, seniority level, gender & age.

LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences program seems standard compared to similar versions from FB, Google, Twitter & Pinterest, except for the main thing that differentiates LinkedIn from its competitors. When marketers advertise to everyone on those other sites and apps, they are running up against baby photos, cat videos, news articles & home decor ideas, which may not be the ideal context for a company to court a new client. Meanwhile on LinkedIn they are catching people in work mode, plus everyone is more likely to have their work email addresses attached to their LinkedIn accounts than the accounts on the other platforms.

LinkedIn paved a path toward returning to website retargeting when it added a way for businesses to track when their advertisements on LinkedIn lead people to do something on the advertiser’s site, like buy a product / register an account. The piece of code used to perform that conversion tracking – called the “LinkedIn Insight Tag” — will be used for website retargeting, due to the company’s presentation.

LinkedIn’s website retargeting selection appears to work the same as other platforms’ web retargeting selections. Businesses can combine multiple URLs / URL fragments to retarget against, so that they can aim their advertisements at anyone who visits any page on their sites, anyone who visits certain categories of pages / anyone who visits a single page. For instance, an advertiser might want to show one general ad to people who visit its home page, more tailored one to people who visit its product pages & one aimed at people who checked out its contact page. Starting in November, the element will be limited to an early access program for advertisers that are clients of marketing automation software providers Eloqua, LiveRamp & Marketo. LinkedIn plans to allow advertisers upload CSV files containing the list of email addresses to target. As with other platforms’ email-based targeting selections, LinkedIn will use a process called “hashing” to scramble the matches between an email address & a LinkedIn account. As result advertisers won’t allow to see which individual email addresses were matched to a LinkedIn account / access information about these LinkedIn accounts.