How Tableau Used Matched Audiences on LinkedIn to Boost Qualified Leads

The data software provider turned a corner on LinkedIn with two key strategic pivots. Here's what other companies can learn from Tableau's experience.

February 12, 2018

Noise. It is one of a marketer’s worst fears. Specifically, I’m talking about creating content that becomes an indecipherable part of the noise, blending in with the digital static audiences have grown accustomed to tuning out.

Tableau, a business intelligence firm based in Seattle, is driven by a mission to “help people see and understand their data.” But getting its message across to the right people, and ensuring it wouldn’t fall on deaf ears, required the company to first redefine a broad audience.

With a couple of key pivots in its LinkedIn strategy, Tableau was able to dramatically improve results, achieving click-through and conversion rates that smashed previous benchmarks.

Pinpointing the Right Prospects

Here’s the thing about Tableau’s solution: almost anyone can benefit from it. In this age, what business isn’t using data as part of its operations? And who couldn’t use a bit more clarity around that data?

However, delivering its content to a general audience on social media wasn’t enabling the company to break through with its marketing efforts.

“Even though other platforms could place our ads in front of large audiences, they couldn’t deliver the type of people who would actually care to see our message,” according to James Carroll, who runs Tableau’s paid social team. The leads generated through this unspecific approach “ended up just being noise for our sales team,” he adds.

Even on LinkedIn, Tableau wasn’t getting the Sponsored Content results it wanted with a broader targeting scope. So the marketing team buckled down, dug deeper, and started serving more defined segments with content that specifically addressed their needs.

"With targeting, we can deliver different campaign messaging and content based on how an audience interacts with data,” Carroll explained.

This led to substantial improvement in both the quantity and quality of leads. But Carroll says his company really turned a corner by incorporating one of LinkedIn’s newer functionalities, and the takeaways he shared from this experience may help inform your approach.

The ROI Impact of Matched Audiences and Retargeting

By taking advantage of LinkedIn Matched Audiences, businesses are able to retarget their website visitors on the social media network.

There’s much to be said for a familiar sound and its ability to resonate, so delivering content to users who had already encountered the brand seemed like a natural way to get heard.

Tableau’s team initially started retargeting users based on which sections of the company website they visited. However, they found that their results improved when they altered this plan, instead retargeting all users who visited Tableau.com and layering in professional filters afterward, based on LinkedIn profile information, to tailor their messaging.

Carroll called it a “game changer,” adding that implementation of this tactic reduced his team’s cost per lead by a whopping 30%. Music to any executive’s ears.

The improved spending efficiency that Tableau experienced with Website Retargeting aligns with results from an extensive pilot program testing the feature, wherein participants saw a 30% increase in click-through rate and a 14% drop in post-click cost-per-conversion.

Getting the Most Out of LinkedIn Matched Audiences

Website Retargeting is one of three capabilities available through Matched Audiences. Marketers can also utilize Account Targeting to enhance their pursuit of specific high-value B2B prospect organizations, and Contact Targeting to import and leverage their own email lists.

“LinkedIn Matched Audiences allows us to customize content for our Tableau customers based on the industries and topics most important to them,” says Carroll. “We have seen improvement in all key metrics compared to our traditional targeting in LinkedIn.”

If that sounds good to you, then we encourage you to try out LinkedIn’s Matched Audiences features for yourself and cut through the noise with your campaigns.