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What LinkedIn Matched Audiences mean for B2B marketers

#B2B, #Innovation, #SocialMarketing

LinkedIn may lag behind other social platforms like Facebook and Twitter when it comes to new features, but when it comes to the B2B space, we still welcome it—and it’s late-to-the-game features—with open arms.

That’s because roughly 80% of B2B social media leads come from LinkedIn. That makes Linkedin a powerful and essential tool. Most B2B marketers are already familiar with LinkedIn’s ability to target based on industry, seniority, department etc. Now, with the addition of Matched Audiences, LinkedIn is playing catch-up again—and opening a whole new way to get your message out to exactly whom you’d like.

What are Matched Audiences?

There are 3 different Matched Audiences that LinkedIn made available through its self-serve platform this past April: Account Targeting, Contact Targeting and Website Retargeting. Let’s break them down quickly.

Website Retargeting is similar to retargeting on Facebook. It lets you target just LinkedIn members who have visited your website, or specific pages on your website. It’s as simple as inserting a small javascript code (called the LinkedIn Insight Tag) on your pages. Like the other matched audiences, you’ll still be able to layer over other targeting criteria on top of this audience.

Account Targeting allows you to target a list of up to 300,000(!) different companies. The best part is you can layer on any of the normal targeting on top. For instance, target only senior members of, say, the marketing team at a group of specific companies. For B2B marketers this brings forward a huge new opportunity for focused marketing.

Finally, Contact Targeting allows you to target a list of up to 300,000 individuals (via their email addresses). It’s similar to the Look-a-Like audiences offered by Facebook and Twitter, where these platforms find “similar” users. However, with Contact Targeting, you’re efforts are focused on a very specific list of people, no exceptions, suggestions or additions.

So now that LinkedIn has these capabilities, what does that mean for B2B marketers?

List management is crucial

Within email marketing, list management has always been the case, but now it’s exceptionally important for social marketers as well.

But with this added degree of maintenance and scrutiny we gain some huge benefits. For instance, do you have a list of current clients? You can exclude them from any of your campaigns so that you’re not wasting money on current customers. Do you have products that naturally fit a business lifecycle or that stack on top of one another? Use a list of those who have purchased the first product for messaging about the second.

While Linkedin offers you a great set of targeting solutions, you can help yourself by keeping your prospect and client lists managed and using them for campaigns aimed as specific lists.

Personalization at scale

When you can target individuals, and you’ve managed your lists appropriately, you can really nail down your messaging! Did you grab a large number of contacts at the last conference you attended? Create an ad that specifically calls out the conference and target it directly at those contacts!

This is even more potent when used with Sponsored InMail. You can create what is essentially a direct mail campaign delivering InMail to specific contacts when they’re online. LinkedIn Sponsored InMail has a huge open rate and you can include hyperlinks, CTA and a visual.

LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences give you the opportunity to hone your messaging down to a very fine point, enhancing the impact and relevance of your Sponsored Content.

Nurture Down the Funnel

You can tell a lot about where a visitor is in their buyer journey based on where they visit on your website. When a website visitor checks out your blog or content hub, they’re at the top of the funnel, looking for thought-leadership and perspectives to help resolve their problems. If they’ve got deep down into your service or product pages they’re probably right around the midpoint. And if they’ve arrived at a thank you page after requesting a quote, they’re right at the bottom.

Using website retargeting, you can create audiences for any given URL that the visitor has touched and craft specific messaging for that campaign. This gives you a lot of insight and understanding about where a prospect might be in their journey and allows you to nurture them through to the final sale.

LinkedIn has consistently been the top social network for B2B marketers looking to reach their target audiences. With LinkedIn’s new Matched Audiences, B2B marketers now have new tools and new ways to reach those very specific decision makers. That said, these new tools won’t do everything for you. Understanding and managing your client and prospect lists as well as understanding the journey your website visitors go through will be key parts of successful LinkedIn campaigns.