How to Build a LinkedIn Ads Audience — Custom, Matched & Lookalike

LinkedIn ads is the preferred method of advertising for many business to business companies. In fact, 59% of B2B marketers say LinkedIn generates leads for their business and 90% say they reduced cost per lead by using LinkedIn Advertising.

LinkedIn has over 610 million members, including 180 million senior-level influencers, 63 million decision makers, and 10 million c-level executives. In addition, four out of five LinkedIn members drive business decisions, and LinkedIn’s audience has two times the buying power of the average web audience.

With so many users out there, how can your business tap into your social media potential and reach your target audience? The answer lies in LinkedIn Ad’s targeting facets.

LinkedIn Targeting Methods

Today, we’ll discuss how you can use LinkedIn’s many targeting options to build the perfect audience for your B2B marketing strategy.

Building a Custom Audience for LinkedIn

LinkedIn has five different target facet categories from which you can build your custom audience. They are:

1. Experience

Job Function

Job Title

Job Seniority

Years of Experience

2. Company

Company Name

Company Industry

Company Size

3. Education



Fields of Study

4. Interests



5. Identity




When creating a custom audience, make your audience specific… but not too specific. If your audience is too broad, your ads will reach unqualified users. If your audience is too specific, there may not be enough users to show your ads to and they may not be able to spend their budget. I like to call this quest to find the perfect sized audience “the Goldilocks challenge.”

In order to successfully face this challenge, use LinkedIn’s audience estimation tool. When creating ads, this tool will show on the right side of the screen, and it will tell you whether your audience is too broad or too specific — or just right!

As you’re building your audience, keep an eye on the audience estimation and note how including and excluding targeting features impacts your potential reach. If your audience is too specific, try taking away some targeting facets, and if it’s too broad, add a few more. It’s all about testing what works best and keeping an eye on LinkedIn’s prediction tools.

LinkedIn Matched Audiences

With the matched audiences feature, LinkedIn allows you to target users who have visited your website, as well as your current contacts or target companies/accounts. This feature allows you to get very specific in your targeting and accurately serve ads to your target audience. (Please note that you must have a list of at least 300 contacts to use this feature.)

By installing a LinkedIn Insights tag on your website, you can track your website visitors and serve them ads on LinkedIn. LinkedIn allows you to highly target these users by giving you the option to target visitors to all pages on your site or just visitors to a few specific pages.

For example, if a company sells office furniture and they want to advertise a new line of desks, they could target people who have visited their website page showing the desks they carry.

If you want to target your current contacts, it’s as simple as uploading your contact list (with email addresses) into LinkedIn. LinkedIn will then search your list and match your contacts with existing LinkedIn profiles, based on their emails.

The process is the same for targeting current companies and accounts — simply upload a list of the companies you’d like to target, and LinkedIn will do the work from there.

LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences

LinkedIn’s newly released lookalike audience feature allows you to target users who very closely resemble those in a matched audience you have created. While LinkedIn just released this feature in March 2019, lookalike audiences has been a feature of Facebook Ads for years.

This feature is one of the most accurate ways you can reach a potential new audience. While you can try your luck at building a custom audience using LinkedIn’s targeting facets, the matched audiences feature does all the work for you and, in most cases, produces a more accurate audience. To create a lookalike audience, LinkedIn analyzes all the data from the users in your matched audience and automatically finds users that closely resemble them.

You can create a lookalike audience from any matched audience you’ve created, either from website visitors, current contacts, or target companies/accounts. As a reminder, if your list length is too small to create a matched audience (less than 300 contacts), you will not be able to make a lookalike audience.

Improve Your LinkedIn Ads Targeting Today

For more comprehensive help with your social media marketing in Houston or Austin, contact MARION’s experts today! Our marketing agency has helped hundreds of businesses appeal to their target audience, and we’d like to serve you next!

Follow these tips for creating a LinkedIn Ads audience, and you’ll be well on your way to reaching your perfect target audience!

Originally published at on July 11, 2019.

Marion Integrated Marketing

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