Social Media Articles

Creative Network-Marketing Research Initiative
27 Apr 2017

LinkedIn’s new Matched Audiences feature just blew Facebook Custom Audiences out of the water for B2B


As LinkedIn rolls out Matched Audiences, columnist AJ Wilcox takes a look at the advanced email match strategies you can use with the new feature and explains why it’s a big win for B2B advertisers.

This week, LinkedIn released a new feature to its advertising product for which advertisers have been waiting on pins and needles.

Facebook and Twitter advertisers have enjoyed the ability to target people by email address for advertising since 2013, and AdWords advertisers got Audience Match back in 2015.

As of April 24, LinkedIn advertisers now get access to this feature as well, and it’s called “Matched Audiences” in LinkedIn parlance.

The significance of this release, though late to the game, should not be understated for B2B advertisers. Here’s why.

LinkedIn always wins on audience

B2B marketers often lament the low match rates on both Facebook and Twitter Ads against the corporate email addresses they collect regularly. Sahil Jain, a fellow Marketing Land contributor, finds B2B lists regularly match less than 15 percent of the email addresses within. This is because so few Facebook and Twitter users register accounts with their work email addresses.

For B2B advertisers, a low match rate means ad volume from this targeting is doomed to be low. Advanced advertisers consider their Return on Effort (ROE) for taking the time to test a new feature. Many of these B2B advertisers explain to me that they never even bothered to set up email match on Facebook Ads because it would drive so little volume that it wasn’t worth their time to set up.

All of this changes significantly with LinkedIn Ads’ new feature.

A quick, informal poll with a few other advertisers indicated that the vast majority of us have both our personal and work-related emails registered within our LinkedIn profiles. (Check here to see what emails LinkedIn has for you now). For those curious about why you might have a work email there, I found that the reason I had mine was that whenever a work colleague sent an invitation to my work address, and I clicked through and authenticated to my LinkedIn profile, LinkedIn automatically made that association between our accounts.

That makes LinkedIn the network that is most likely to have both your personal and work emails. Worried about a low potential match rate? Don’t be. By my estimate, the less than 15 percent that you’re used to with Facebook could average more like 75 percent, conservatively, on LinkedIn.

Advanced email match strategies

There are some awesome use cases for this new feature for LinkedIn advertisers. I’m going to share some of the advanced strategies I’ve used over the course of the pilot:

  1. Add all of your current customers’ email addresses into a Matched Audiences segment. Add this list as an exclusion for all of your demand generation campaigns. No need to spend budget on those who’ve already become customers.
  2. Add all of your current customers’ email addresses into a Matched Audiences segment to use as a product updates messaging channel. Due to the fact that you’re showing interesting messages to the most relevant audience, you can expect to see astronomically high CTRs (3%+) so you can bid CPM on these and get the clicks for massive discounts (I’ve seen <$1).
  3. Add all of your leads that never closed into an audience and advertise to them, and be sure to exclude current customers from #1 above. Advertise to keep your brand top of mind for those who at one point considered doing business with you. As soon as they become a customer and are added to the customer list, they’ll automatically be excluded from this dynamic audience.
  4. Add all leads that haven’t closed to an exclusion list for all of your campaigns. This will allow you to save all of your spend for those who haven’t yet interfaced with your brand, granting you additional exposure with fresh audiences.
  5. Have an employee or founder who is big-time stuff in your industry and has lots of pertinent connections? Consider exporting their LinkedIn connections to CSV and upload that as a Matched Audiences segment. This will allow you to show ads only to those with whom the company already has a connection. Use the employee/founder’s name in the ad to get ridiculously high CTRs. (Like #2 above, consider bidding CPM to get steeply discounted clicks.)
  6. Have a large list of email addresses for the media? Use them in a PR segment meant to drum up interest from the media in your company. Stories written about your company result in free leads and links that help your company’s SEO efforts. The same strategy can be used to impress potential investors for capital infusion!


Of course, as with any feature, there are some limitations to be aware of:

Match rate feedback

When you upload a list of email addresses for targeting, LinkedIn matches them against the email addresses it has in its database. Unfortunately, there is no feedback upon uploading on which email addresses did not properly match — only a percentage displaying how many did match.

Minimum audience size

As with the rest of LinkedIn’s new targeting options, the minimum audience size is 300 people. This is unfortunate for those with smaller lists because it may preclude being able to run until the list has grown larger. You may need to upload a list with 500+ email addresses to ensure you have over 300 matches.

No list management

Mistakes in list uploads live in the account forever because there’s no list deletion or management of any kind.

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