LinkedIn Launches 3 New Targeting Options for Advertisers, Catches Up with Facebook, Twitter

If you’re new to marketing, explaining ad retargeting goes something like this: Every time a new visitor comes to a web site, the code drops an anonymous browser cookie. Later, when cookied visitors browse the Internet, the cookie will let the retargeting provider know when to serve ads, ensuring ads are served only to people who have previously visited a site.

If you’ve ever visited a web site, then suddenly started seeing ads for that brand on other sites around the Internet, well, that’s retargeting. It’s been around for quite awhile and has become commonplace for users of Google, Facebook, and Twitter ad products.

LinkedIn, for whatever reason, has been absent from the do-it-yourself retargeting ad solution party.

That changed this week. And not only did it introduce retargeting to the masses, it also unveiled two other ad targeting options that had been made popular by sites like Facebook, but had yet to make it to LinkedIn.

On Monday, LinkedIn announced the addition of three new ad retargeting options for marketers, branded Matched Audiences, which also includes companies hoping to get in front of candidates, by the way.

“With Matched Audiences you can use LinkedIn to retarget your website visitors, market to your contacts from your customer databases and marketing automation platforms, and reach decision makers at target companies for your account-based marketing programs,” said Eva Chau, senior product manager at LinkedIn, in a corporate blog post. “Matched Audiences helps increase ROI by enabling you to focus your efforts on the audiences and accounts that are most likely to drive revenue.”

Here’s breakdown of what’s new:

  1. Website Retargeting. Basically, visitors to your site will now see your ads on LinkedIn, as well their network. To take advantage of this option, aside from paying LinkedIn money, just need to place some code on their website.
  2. Account Targeting. Advertisers upload a list of company names and match that against the nearly 12 million company pages on LinkedIn. This might come in handy for companies looking to poach talent from their competition.
  3. Contact Targeting. Similar to account targeting, users upload a CSV list of email addresses. The max is 300,000 addresses. Advertisers can also connect directly to popular marketing platforms they may already be using, like Marketo, Oracle Eloqua, or LiveRamp to import lists of contacts. Time to dust off all those old resumes in the database and reengage. Chau says they’re exploring integrations with additional platforms, so I expect Hubspot, Mailchimp, Highrise, and others to come soon. Applicant tracking systems should be on their radar too.

For the past six months, LinkedIn has been running a pilot program for its new targeting solutions with over 370 participating advertisers, representing over 2,000 active campaigns. LinkedIn says their pilot delivered above-average performance compared to product benchmarks.

In fact, participants in the pilot saw a 30 percent increase in click-thru rate and a 14 percent drop in post-click cost-per-conversion with Website Retargeting, as well as a 32 percent increase in post-click conversion rates and a 4.7 percent drop in post-click cost-per-conversion with Account Targeting. Contact targeting users saw a 37 percent increase in click-thru rate.

Savvy employers will take advantage of these new ad solutions, just like they currently use Facebook or Twitter to get in front of job prospects. However, vendors looking to peddle their wares to an audience of HR professionals and recruiters should be particularly excited.

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While most vendors already enjoy success on existing platforms that provide targeting and retargeting options, LinkedIn is particularly appealing for the simple fact that so many recruiters and HR folks use the professional network so regularly.

The key for marketers, of course, will always be return on investment. LinkedIn has historically been far more expensive than other options, which drove many away. If I put my marketing hat on, this is a big step for LinkedIn and one that should win back a lot of advertisers, as well as land new ones.

For more, here’s a video explaining LinkedIn’s new targeting solutions.

Joel Cheesman has over 20 years experience in the online recruitment space. He worked for both international and local job boards in the late ‘90s and early ‘00s. In 2005, Cheesman founded HRSEO, a search engine marketing company for HR, as well as launching an award-winning industry blog called Cheezhead. He has been featured in Fast Company and US News and World Report. He sold his company in 2009 to Jobing.com. He was employed by EmployeeScreenIQ, a background check company. He is the founder of Ratedly, an app that monitors anonymous employee reviews. He is married and the father of three children. He lives in Indianapolis.

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