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4 Ways to Improve LinkedIn Ads with Matched Audiences

LinkedIn is not the cheapest advertising channel out there, but the platform offers some of the best B2B targeting options available. To avoid wasting budget on the wrong targets, Matched Audiences is LinkedIn’s most focused targeting feature.

Marketers use Matched Audiences to build custom audiences of both people and companies.  If you are using LinkedIn Ads, there are 4 ways you can use Matched Audiences to get more from your ads.

 

1. ABM:
Personalize campaigns with micro-targeting

The most obvious use case for Matched Audiences is targeting a specific set of companies. It’s often used by marketing teams that are doing Account-Based Marketing.

At Ocean.io, we have had great success with account-based micro-targeting on LinkedIn. We group companies based on common characteristics like industry, size and location and then personalise the campaigns for each group. For example, in one campaign we targeted companies offering AI solutions and in another campaign we targeted IT solutions. We uploaded lists for each group as a Matched Audience in LinkedIn and then customised the ad message for each group.

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When using Matched Audiences, it’s important to make sure your audience isn’t too small. The larger the audience, the better LinkedIn can learn who are likely to interact with your ad. LinkedIn recommends a minimum of 50,000 people, and from our experience audiences can be as small as 2,000 people, but the campaign will run out of audience and stop performing after a few weeks.

One option to increase your audience size is to target multiple personas at your chosen companies. Because the B2B buying decisions are typically made by a committee, it’s often best to target a wider group of people at a select group of companies. Targeting by job title can be more expensive on LinkedIn, so to make your ads go further; you can target audiences by job function instead of specific title.

 

Technical setup

- The Matched Audiences can be found in LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager, under Account Assets.
- Click Create Audience to see the different upload and re-targeting options.
- For uploading company lists a template can be downloaded.

- Our experience is that including more parameters on the upload sheet doesn’t always end up with the best match rates. Instead, we regularly achieve greater than 90% match rates by only including a company name and homepage url to the upload document.

 

2. Quality and Quantity:
Create a bigger and better audience

If you’ve advertised on LinkedIn before, you know their industries leave a lot to be desired. They are simply too broad. There are too many companies labeled as only “Software” or “Internet” and it doesn’t help marketers to narrow down what industry the company is actually in.

Matched Audiences is an easy fix for this problem. When building Matched Audiences, there is no limit to the number of companies that can be included. So instead of using LinkedIn’s industry targeting, you could consider building an audience of companies you are interested in.

The big hurdle here is that building these lists can be a time consuming process. Make sure you only include the most relevant data and find hacks that help speed it up. Try for example our URL finder sheet that finds websites based on company names.

Or use Ocean.io - you can build a free list here.

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Ocean.io provides a hyper-accurate, searchable database of companies so B2B marketing and sales teams can easily build targeting lists. Easily find the very best lookalikes of your favourite companies, or connect your CRM for a custom market segmentation with targeting lists as output.

 

3. Re-think Re-targeting:
Expand retargeting beyond your pixel

With Matched Audiences it’s also possible to build excellent retargeting audiences. Besides URL re-targeting (through the LinkedIn script on your website), you can also re-target based on LinkedIn behavior.

The different possibilities are:

  • Website: visitors of your website (or specific URLs)
  • Event: registrants of your Linkedin event
  • Company Profile: visitors of company profile
  • Video: people who viewed one of your videos
  • Lead Gen Form: people who opened or submitted your LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms


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Matched Audiences also give you insights in engagement levels per account - based on ad interaction and organic website visits. 

 

4. Be Exclusive:
Leave out your customers and competition

Instead of only using list uploads to target companies, Matched Audiences can also be used to exclude any companies from your targeting.

Take, for example, competitors and customers who are highly likely to engage with your ad but unlikely to turn into a deal. LinkedIn’s ad machine doesn’t differentiate, and will start showing them more ads because of higher engagement. With Matched Audiences you can exclude these groups from your campaigns. 

So instead of spending budget on competitors and customers, you will use your budget to reach more prospects.  

At Ocean.io, we have a standard list of competitors and customers that we exclude from all our campaigns. Additionally, we export all the companies from our CRM that are labeled as “bad-fit” to avoid more inbounds from those companies.

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Conclusion

In summary, LinkedIn ads is an incredibly powerful tool for any B2B marketer. It allows you to target with high-precision, but the ads get expensive and your budget will quickly disappear if not done thoughtfully.  By using Matched Audiences, you can create specific groups of companies to either include or exclude from your ads and make your budget go further on LinkedIn. 

 

 

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