Neil Patel

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Matched Audiences: LinkedIn’s Newest Secret Advertising Weapon You’re Not Using

linkedin matched audiences

When Microsoft bought LinkedIn for $26 billion, everyone thought they were crazy.

Up until then, LinkedIn was largely unsuccessful and they were having a notoriously difficult time catching on.

Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter almost immediately gained traction. But LinkedIn was a different story. For a long time, the platform seemed like a sad attempt at a business social media space.

But that’s all changed.

Seemingly out of nowhere, LinkedIn caught fire like a torch drenched in kerosene. And the fire doesn’t seem to be going out anytime soon.

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And with all of that power has come a new era of LinkedIn capabilities.

Influencers crowd the platform like a stack of hotcakes, and Microsoft is doing its best to establish LinkedIn as an advertisement zone, much like Facebook.

The move makes sense.

Now that LinkedIn has a significant number of users, it is capable of hosting advertising campaigns that reach highly targeted audiences.

In some ways, it might even be better at this than Facebook.

As part of Microsoft’s attempt to optimize the platform for advertising, they recently launched their biggest marketing development to date.

They call it Matched Audiences.

Here’s what Matched Audiences is and how you can use it as a powerful advertising tool.

What is Matched Audiences?

It’s extremely simple and wildly familiar.

Think of Facebook for a moment. Have you ever visited a website, then clicked out to visit your Facebook newsfeed only to see an ad for exactly what you were just looking at?

If you haven’t, you probably don’t have a Facebook account. It happens all the time.

Here’s one that’s currently on my newsfeed from Ninja Outreach.

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These are called retargeting ads.

The idea behind them is that you can target people who are already interested in your product or service. This is far better than targeting people who might be interested. That’s what makes retargeting ads so powerful.

But, have you ever wondered how this happens?

How does Facebook know when you’ve visited a website and then target you with those ads?

The answer lies in what LinkedIn just created with its Matched Audience’s feature.

Here’s a video that explains how it works.

Basically, Matched Audiences allows you to market to people who have visited your website.

It also allows you to upload a prospect’s contact information to better advertise to them.

Then, search engines report back to LinkedIn, telling it what websites the user visited recently and if there are any additional people it thinks you should send advertisements to.

LinkedIn will then allow you to retarget people who are interested in your product or service.

Boom: A win for the marketer and a win for the consumer or client.

Why LinkedIn?

But why LinkedIn?

Isn’t Facebook or Instagram far more powerful? Those platforms have way more users and they are still more popular overall.

I mean, honestly, LinkedIn is still trying to find its footing in the social media world.

That’s true, but LinkedIn is also untainted by years of social media spam and clutter.

Since it’s still a fairly new platform, it’s wildly capable of reaching audiences with clarity, authenticity, and uniqueness.

But it’s not just new. It’s far more targeted than almost any other social media platform.

Consider Michaela Alexis’ profile.

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Here, she tells us exactly what she’s interested in and what her field of expertise is.

Further down, she has a description that tells us even more about who she is and what she likes.

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Now you’re probably thinking, “Well, Facebook and Instagram have all of that.”

And you’d be right.

But LinkedIn has something that Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter don’t have.

If you scroll toward the bottom of someone’s profile page, you’ll see this nifty section.

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This is the “skills” section where LinkedIn users endorse each other for a variety of skill sets.

Why is this so powerful for advertising?

Well, advertising revolves around effectively targeting large groups of people.

What if you found, for example, that people who are remarkable writers are more likely to buy your product?

Or what if your ideal audience is people who are phenomenal SEO strategists or social media marketing experts?

The point is that all of that extra data allows your advertising efforts on LinkedIn to be even more targeted, which means that it’ll probably be more effective as well.

But we don’t just have to look at what LinkedIn is capable of doing. We can look at what it actually does.

LinkedIn generates more leads for B2B companies than Facebook, or Twitter.

LinkedIn Better for Lead Generation for B2B and B2C Than Facebook and Twitter - HubSpot study

Similarly, 93% of B2B marketers consider LinkedIn to be the best website for lead generation.

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And it’s not just B2B. 51% of B2C companies have acquired a customer using LinkedIn.

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Finally, to illustrate the holistic success of LinkedIn marketing efforts, the platform is responsible for a whopping 64% of all corporate website visits from social media.

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There are still many LinkedIn naysayers who believe the platform is worthless and who are unwilling to try it out. But those stats are difficult to argue with.

So why not LinkedIn?

It’s insanely powerful and more targeted than most social media sites.

And its new Matched Audience’s feature is leveraging those facts.

Here’s how you use it.

How to use LinkedIn’s newest feature

There are several moving parts to LinkedIn’s newest feature.

But you might be familiar with it if you’ve ever used another social media advertising tool.

First, let’s look at the ability of Matched Audiences to retarget your audience.

In the upper right corner of your advertising dashboard, you’ll see a button that says, “Create an audience to retarget.” Click on it.

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Then, this window will pop up where you need to tell LinkedIn who you want to retarget. In other words, you need to name your audience and enter the URL that you want to focus on.

Whenever people visit that URL, LinkedIn will take note and retarget them with your product or service advertisements.

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Next, it will give you an “Insight Tag.” This needs to go somewhere on the URL you selected so that LinkedIn can communicate with your website and receive an alert when LinkedIn users visit your selected web page.

If you don’t have an easily customizable website like WordPress or Squarespace, just send this tag to your developer and they’ll know what to do with it.

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Click “Next.”

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Now your retargeting campaign will be off and running.

But retargeting isn’t the only amazing feature included in LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences tool.

If you click on the tab to the right that says, “Uploaded list audiences,” you can upload a new list of contacts to LinkedIn. These can be your cold prospects, warm leads, or email list.

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Click on “upload a list.”

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LinkedIn will allow you to upload up to 300,000 contacts on a single list.

Depending on the size of your list, this might take a little bit of time.

But once you upload your list, you can easily add it to any of your advertising campaigns.

Say, for example, that you’re offering a free upcoming webinar and you want everyone on your email list to join. You can email them yourself, but you can also run LinkedIn Ads targeted to them.

You can have multiple lists. You could, for example, have one list for cold leads, one for warm leads, and one for loyal customers.

Then, depending on the ad you’re running, you can choose the list that you think will be most appropriate.

To continue uploading your list, come up with a name for your list and either copy and paste your contacts or upload a file with the contacts in it.

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Then choose either “Match against a list of accounts” or “Match against a list of contacts.”

You’ll use the first if you’re uploading accounts from an account-based marketing database.

You’ll use the second if you’re uploading contacts from your list of email addresses.

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Now, upload your accounts or contacts.

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Again, this might take some time, but it will be well worth the wait once it’s all set up.

Finally, LinkedIn allows you to connect your advertising profile to a data-integration service.

Click “Connect to data integration.”

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It will give you a public key and a secret key. Simply copy the code and attach it to your data-integration service.

This will make sure that you aren’t looking all over for your metrics. Instead, you’ll be able to see all that data in one place.

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Enter the requested information.

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Submit it.

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And your data integration is finished.

And that’s how you use LinkedIn’s Matched Audience’s feature. Why not try it out today?

With all of those new features, it’s difficult to think that LinkedIn ads are a waste of time.

In some ways, it’s more powerful than other social media platforms.

This new advertising tool allows you to target all of that potential.

But what about retargeting?

After all, that’s the heart of this new tool. Is retargeting worth your time or is it a waste of energy?

The power of retargeting website visitors

Lots of marketers are talking about retargeting.

They claim that it’s wildly powerful.

They say it generates more leads than any other type of advertising and that it changed their lives.

But is all of that raving just hot steam?

In short, no.

Retargeting does work.

But how well does it work, and why?

Well, for starters, consider this:

After four weeks of retargeting efforts, websites see an average 726% increase in traffic.

But why? Why do websites that use retargeting ads see so much more traffic than before they started using them?

Let’s think about it.

You know advertisements are most powerful when they’re highly-targeted. Generally speaking, the more targeted your advertisements, the more effective they’ll be.

With retargeting, the only people who see the ad are people who already visited your designated website.

You might, for example, choose a single product page and then retarget people with that exact product.

That kind of focus makes for remarkably-targeted marketing.

“But,” you might be thinking, “do your consumers trust online ads?”

And that’s a great question. Based on research, here are consumer reactions to online ads:

30% have a positive response, 59% are neutral, and 11% are negative.

Perhaps the most noteworthy thing about those stats is that only 11% of consumers have a negative reaction to online ads.

Plus, data shows that only 2% of consumers who visit your website for the first time convert. Retargeting gives you a second crack at the remaining 98%.

Ultimately, consumers don’t mind ads. And if the ad is showing something that they are actually interested in, then they might even find it helpful.

Maybe they forgot about a product they were going to purchase because they got busy and your retargeting campaign reminded them of it.

In that case, the consumer will probably be glad you targeted them.

And with online ads, it’s far easier to target your ideal client than it is with billboards or banner signs.

For that reason, retargeted ads lead to an average 1046% increase in branded searches.

You also have to remember that you’re competing for conversions.

In one study, 88 percent of respondents reported that they already use retargeting. You don’t want to get left in the dust.

That leads us to discuss the final benefit of retargeting ads. Since people who care about your brand see your advertisements more regularly, they’re more likely to seek you out.

They might not be interested at the exact moment they look. But when they are, they’ll search for you online.

Since they consistently see your ads, your product will be at the top of their mind instead of the competition. And, usually, whatever is at the top of mind wins.

Retargeting ads are remarkable at building brand awareness and thus lead generation.

Amazing retargeting examples

Since LinkedIn is still relatively new to the advertising world, the marketing efforts are few and far between.

But on Facebook, they’re not.

In fact, you’d probably have trouble scrolling through more than five Facebook posts without seeing a retargeted ad from somewhere you visited earlier that day or in the last couple of days.

The lack of clutter is partly what makes LinkedIn so ripe for the taking.

And because not many people have turned to advertising on the platform, the advertisements that are there are more noticeable and less intrusive.

The more ads people see, the more they get used to them and the less effective they become.

But that doesn’t mean we can’t learn some effective strategies from Facebook Ads to use with LinkedIn.

Just check out this retargeting ad from Expedia.

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What I like most about this Facebook Ad is that it’s simple.

They don’t try to be too creative, and because of that, prospects hear their message loud and clear. Namely, they currently have deals that will save you money on your next vacation.

The discount adds an extra incentive for someone who visited but didn’t convert.

And since they know you’re already interested in their product, that incentive might just be enough to convert you.

Then, if you were to click the previous Facebook Ad and not convert, Expedia would retarget you with this ad shortly after.

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In this follow-up advertisement, they include a sense of urgency by using the line, “Time is ticking.”

They even mention the exact hotel I was thinking of booking. Talk about highly targeted.

This makes you feel like it’s do-or-lose time. Either purchase or lose money later on.

And that’s a win for the marketing strategy.

Here’s another example of retargeting, this time from HubSpot.

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I was looking at their CRM system but didn’t convert. This is their gentle nudge to remind me.

The ad emphasizes the benefits of using Hubspot’s tools. Great sales copy pushes on the pain point that the prospect is going through and then offers a remarkable solution.

And that’s exactly what Hubspot does with this advertisement, which is why I love it.

Most the time, when you’re trying to organize your sales data, it takes an inordinate amount of time. Excel sheet after Excel sheet clutters your computer, and making sense of all of it is another battle all on its own.

HubSpot claims that its CRM only takes about 25 seconds to set up and can save up to 124 hours every year.

That’s a lofty promise that many data managers can’t help but buy into.

Using your product as the solution to your prospect’s pain point is a perfect way to remind them why they need you.

Or you can take the approach that Grant Cardone does with his retargeting ads.

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This one has a few great marketing tactics First, he uses the catchy phrase, “Transform your business, income, and life…”

This appeals to a lot of people. Who doesn’t want to live a different life, improve their business, and increase their income? And anyone who knows about Grant Cardone is probably a little envious of the life he’s living.

With those two facts in tow, the ad appeals to anyone with an eye for self-improvement.

Second, he creates urgency. “Almost sold out.”

And lastly, he offers an incentive by discounting the price with his “Limited time offer.”

All of that makes for a successful Facebook Ad. And when you boil it down, LinkedIn Ads are no different.

Russell Brunson is another master of retargeting ads.

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Instead of trying to sell his product on his own, Russell uses loads of social proof to do it for him.

Everyone knows who Tony Robbins is so when Russell says that Tony endorsed his book, that’s a shocking statement.

Similarly, Russell begins his ad with a testimonial from someone who’s read his book to illustrate the value that the book provides.

All of this social proof, combined with the fact that the book is free, makes it an easy decision for anyone who’s serious about their business.

LinkedIn retargeting is no different than Facebook. Use the tips from these examples to retarget like a pro.


LinkedIn might not have always been cool. But with Microsoft’s optimization and Matched Audiences, it has become a goldmine to retarget your prospects.

You definitely don’t want to miss out on this trend.

Like I mentioned, LinkedIn ads are going to be the most effective at the beginning of their life, when people aren’t yet accustomed to them.

And right now is their beginning.

Now that you know what Matched Audiences are and how to use them, why LinkedIn is thriving, the power of retargeting ads, and examples that can guide you, you’re ready to leverage all of the marketing power that LinkedIn has to offer.

Get ahead of the trend while your ads will be most effective. Grab your slice of the pie before LinkedIn ads become just as commonplace as Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram ads.

Once it’s commonplace, it will be more difficult to stand out.

What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard for optimizing your retargeting ads?

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