LinkedIn Matched Audiences has been ushered into the world and we couldn’t be more in love.
We’ve long been admirers of the full (even all-star!) profiles that users of the popular social media network tend to complete to showcase their skills and experience.
We’ve enthused over the geographic, “job title” and “seniority” targeting options, hereto available. We have put our money where our mouths are and used the targeting available for our clients too – specifically amplifying their content to get it seen by a wider business audience.
Without the ability to use all of LinkedIn’s data for retargeting though, it’s been an on-off fling rather the real thing. That was until last week.
Wait a minute, what are LinkedIn Matched Audiences?
LinkedIn Matched Audiences give advertisers the ability to use their own customer’s email addresses (or those of prospects or LinkedIn connections even) to target a message to LinkedIn users that have that same email address attached to their account. These are people that advertisers would not be able to reach otherwise, no matter how granular the targeting.
Segmenting an email database is not a new phenomenon, but the ability to show business audiences a message and accurately combine it with other variables such as country or seniority in this way is very new.
Targeting by email address isn’t it all, either. Through this feature launch, people who have visited your website can be retargeted on LinkedIn and shown a specific message.
Maybe that message is encouraging them to come back to the website to complete an action like downloading a meatier piece of content in exchange for information about their company or indeed their contact information to kick off a sales conversation.
Or perhaps it is re-engaging existing customers, as existing customers are widely considered to be the best source of repeat business.
LinkedIn (and by extension: Microsoft) has followed in the footsteps of the big players in bringing to market a retargeting feature. Facebook launched its own retargeting product called “Custom Audiences” in late 2012. Google launched “Customer Match” in September 2015. Twitter has a similar product called “tailored audiences” which launched in 2013.
These products all have fundamentally the same rules for CRM/email retargeting. That is: a threshold of cross-checked email addresses between your offline database and the online user base (be it Google, Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn) must be reached to allow ads to run. These thresholds for each are as follows:
- Google Customer Match: 1,000
- Facebook Custom Audiences: 1,000
- Twitter Tailored Audiences: 500
- LinkedIn Matched Audiences: 300
The threshold is another area where LinkedIn Matched Audiences outperforms the competition with its more generous threshold.
What sets LinkedIn apart from these competitors for business to business marketing is that on Facebook, there are a subset of users that fill out the “about” section fully. These are in the minority, with a majority preferring to keep details private which leads to assumed “interests targeting”.
LinkedIn strips all assumed logic away and uses the full profiles that people tend to fill out showcasing their career as targeting criteria.
Do people even use LinkedIn?
LinkedIn Matched Audiences can draw from half a billion LinkedIn users that are registered on the social network. So, yes, people use LinkedIn in vast numbers across many countries. This includes countries like China, where there are some 32 million users registered.
Indeed, this is up from only 4 million as recently as 2014, which shows the steady growth of LinkedIn across the world. The Chinese market is out of the reach of Google and Facebook (both blocked) who tend to dominate in Europe and the US. Now with LinkedIn Matched Audiences, marketers can use one platform to retarget the best business audience for their products and services.
LinkedIn (never a company that wishes to boast!) has even provided a graphic on the spread of users across the world. Handy, eh?
To put that into context, that’s roughly half the amount of Facebook registered users.
What about other social retargeting platforms?
Facebook is a much larger ecosystem, but using it for business to business marketing has been wrought with difficulty due to the assumed interest targeting that is relied upon and a lack of ‘complete’ profiles inclusive of the job title.
There’s also the problem of many users of Facebook not using their work email address for Facebook but rather personal email addresses. This causes an issue when the email address you have on file is a work email address.
The same issue occurs with Google Customer Match. In many cases, a user of Google products and services will not be using their professional email address for their Google account. LinkedIn is a professional network, and has less difficulty in this area.
Wordstream conducted a study on match rates over Google, Facebook and Twitter and found that Google and Facebook are comparable, but that Twitter falls away considerably in comparison.
This though is just a general test. It does not consider data sourced from an inbound marketing initiative where you can encourage prospects to give over their work email address in exchange for valuable content. In this arena, a LinkedIn match rate for business is sure to outperform the others.
The main benefit of LinkedIn Matched Audiences is in increasing the return on ad spend of LinkedIn advertising. Someone who has engaged with your brand – by visiting your website or handing over an email address – is more likely to convert than someone who hasn’t.
LinkedIn has a massive, worldwide professional network of users to draw from – all of who provide their data willingly, making it the only show in town for business to business marketing.