You may have heard about LinkedIn’s Matched Audience feature. Or maybe your “ad vendor hype filter” turned it into white noise.
Should you care? Is it worth your time?
Yes and yes.
Let’s start by covering the three components of Matched Audiences, and then we’ll dive into why they matter and what you can do with them.
A standard retargeting setup. Install the LinkedIn pixel into the global header of your website and create ‘audiences’ to serve ads from any combination of URLs.
Similar to Facebook’s ‘Customer List’ customer audience feature. Upload a CSV file of your customer or prospect’s email addresses, and LinkedIn looks for email matches. Pro Tip: If you have Marketo or Eloqua, you can avoid the upload and do an auto-push.
Upload a list of account names and LinkedIn matches as many of them as possible to existing company pages and then puts the listed employees into your audience.
While all of the above targeting options are useful, the real power is in combining them with the traditional LinkedIn audience filtering tools (I.e. location, job title, job function, skills, etc).
If you get creative, this provides the ability to execute an unprecedented level of targeted marketing. Let’s look at two of the (endless) use cases:
Use Case #1: Salvaging AdWords Bounces
You just spent $32.83 on a highly relevant AdWords click and didn’t convert it. Ouch. But being the clever marketer you are, you have a plan. Using website retargeting layered with job title and industry filtering, the prospect now sees your solution in their LinkedIn feed with content tailored to their role and business.
Example: The prospect is Rick, a CFO for a construction company looking for expense tracking software. He searches for 'best expense tracking software.' Rick clicks your ad, but the generic messaging doesn't seem quite right and he bounces. The next time Rick logs into LinkedIn he notices an article titled "How Construction CFOs Can Simplify Expense Tracking" and reads it. Pretty cool, huh?
Let’s say you DID convert the click. With a similar setup, the prospect is now being delivered relevant content to move them to the next stage of the evaluation cycle.
Use Case #2: The Complex Sales Cycle
The average B2B purchasing decision has 6.8 stakeholders. Frequently, there are one or two contacts associated with the CRM opportunity, and the remaining 4.8 are lurking in the shadows. Influencing the deal on internal conference calls, but out of your sales rep’s reach (usually, on purpose).
With Matched Audiences, this becomes a simple, automated solution. Let’s say you’re selling marketing automation and have four key personas: The CMO, CEO, CFO, and IT Director.
It’s likely that none of these people are interacting with your sales team in the beginning. There’s probably a Marketing Director or Manager triaging the vendor evaluation. Simply upload the new account names into an audience, and then use the LinkedIn job title filtering to create four separate campaigns for your personas.
Now, each of your buyer personas begins seeing content that aligns with their interests. The IT Director learns about your security chops, the CFO learns about revenue attribution, and you crush sales targets.
Bonus: The same concept can be applied to product launches and upsells.
Two Money Saving Tips
Tip #1: Do the math before choosing the cost per click bidding option. In a recent test, I found that CPC was only the more cost efficient model if less than 3.94 out of 1000 views clicked. Of course, the numbers will vary some based on the audience. If yours end up in that ballpark, CPC is only logical with an incredibly low level of confidence in your messaging.
Tip #2: Everyone wants to target execs, which makes the bidding pricey. Remember that LinkedIn is about networks. Getting an exec’s employee to like or share your content can get you in front of the exec while avoiding the high bid prices. In short, don’t exclude specialists and managers simply because they can’t “sign paper.”
LinkedIn’s Matched Audience features have changed the game with what’s possible from a personalization and Account Based Marketing perspective. If you’re not currently using LinkedIn ads as a piece of your marketing strategy it may be time to re-evaluate that.
If you have an interesting use case for Matched Audiences, please put it in the comments, I’d love to hear what others have thought of.
I help small businesses find and wow their dream customers.