7 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences

April 2, 2019

Odds are if you’re in marketing, you’ve spent time thinking about your best customers and how to attract more professionals who are just like them. Reaching the right people with your ads is one of the hardest parts of advertising. To help make this easier, recently we introduced lookalike audiences.

LinkedIn’s lookalike audiences combines the traits of your ideal customer with our rich member and company data to help you market to new professional audiences similar to your existing customers, website visitors and target accounts. Since these members are already on LinkedIn, they’re in the right professional mindset to engage and respond to your marketing messages.

In this article, we’ll cover 7 things you may not know about LinkedIn’s lookalike audiences and give you links to resources to help you get started.

How do lookalike audiences work?

Before we jump in it’s important to understand how lookalike audiences work. Lookalike audiences start with a matched audience -- for example, a list of target accounts or contacts from your CRM, or an audience that’s visited your website. From there LinkedIn’s targeting algorithms finds more members  who are similar to your original matched audience, helping you focus your campaigns to the right professionals.

7 Things You Need to Know About LinkedIn Lookalike Audiences

#1: Each lookalike audience includes only active members

When a lookalike audience is built, only members recently active on LinkedIn will be included in your audience. This means your ad dollars will be spent on engaged as well as qualified audiences.

#2: Testing lookalike audiences is easy

A best practice we often recommend to our customers is to always be testing -- this includes testing audiences. To make it easy to test lookalikes audiences, we build your lookalike audience so it only includes similar professionals -- not your matched audience of existing customers. This means you won’t need to spend time excluding your matched audience from campaign -- it’s already done for you.

It’s also an option to you add your matched audience of existing customers to the same campaign as your lookalike audience if you prefer to run both audiences in a single campaign.

#3: Our model is built on LinkedIn’s accurate professional and company information

One of the reasons many advertisers use LinkedIn’s platform is access to our 600M member profiles and 8M+ companies profiles. When members and companies complete their profile they provide valuable information on their profession, educational background, skills, company industry, employee count, work history, interests and more (traits like age and gender are not provided by members and are not used in our lookalike model). Members provide this information because they are incentivized to keep their profiles accurate and up-to-date for networking, personal branding, and job opportunities.

With LinkedIn’s lookalike audiences we tap into all the information provided to produce a lookalike audience of people and companies that’s tailored to your business. This increases the scale and reach of your campaign while not sacrificing precision to reach the right professional audience.

#4: You can refine a lookalike audience by adding professional targeting options

When looking to target very specifically you can use LinkedIn’s professional targeting options -- like job titles, industry, or function -- to further refine your lookalike audience. Fore more information on the professional targeting options available and how to use them refer to our e-book Reach Your Audience: Targeting On LinkedIn.

#5: Members come first

In light of GDPR, we often are asked how our lookalike model handles member settings. As a member of LinkedIn you can control the information you share. This means if you decline to share profile information with LinkedIn for the use of personalizing ads, you will not be included in a lookalike audience and your profile information will not be used to model a lookalike audience.

#6: You can use lookalike audiences to find companies similar to your ideal customer profile (ICP)

If you’re a marketer in charge of reaching target accounts (ABM), you may be interested in finding accounts who fit a similar profile to existing logos. Lookalikes audiences on LinkedIn can you help you do this by finding companies similar in company industry, size, and with similar employees to companies who do business with you today.

#7: You are able to see forecasted results before you launch

It can be helpful to have an idea how your lookalike audience will perform before you launch your campaign. Using the forecast panel within Campaign Manager you can get a preview of estimated spend, performance, and potential audience reach for your lookalike audience campaign.

If you’re ready to get started with creating a lookalike audience you can view our Getting Started Kit for step-by-step instructions plus best practice tips.