It would be amazing if every person you engaged on LinkedIn went to your site and became a customer. Unfortunately, most of them don’t.
The ugly truth is, at best 6.1% of people who hit your landing page convert. The rest fall out of your marketing funnel, never to be heard from again.
But LinkedIn retargeting campaigns can help. Retargeting with ads on LinkedIn will remind those lost prospects why they were interested in your brand and product in the first place. In other words, LinkedIn retargeting ads help you capture the prospects that got away.
If you’re new to LinkedIn advertising, start here. You’ll learn how to create high-performing LinkedIn ads from scratch.
In this post, we’ll show you the nuts and bolts of how to create LinkedIn retargeting ad campaigns, and we’ll leave you with five retargeting strategies you can start using today to increase ROI.
What Are LinkedIn Retargeting Ads?
Remember the time you looked at a website selling mattresses, and, suddenly, mattress ads popped up on every website you visited for a week? That’s the magic of retargeting — the tactic of displaying ads to people who have previously engaged with your brand.
LinkedIn retargeting ads work the same way. A user completes an action that you’re tracking, like visiting your website, and then your retargeting ad appears in the user’s LinkedIn feed.
LinkedIn lets you build retargeting ad audiences from several different sources. In this post, we’ll review audiences created from:
- a list of emails you’ve gathered and uploaded to LinkedIn,
- people who have visited your website and are also LinkedIn users,
- people who view your ad video on LinkedIn, and
- people who fill out a lead generation form through one of your LinkedIn posts.
The power of retargeting is that you can send very relevant ads to highly targeted, “warm” audiences that have already shown interest in your brand or product.
How to Create LinkedIn Ads Retargeting Campaigns
LinkedIn makes it easy to create a retargeting campaign. There are three steps you’ll need to take to do it:
- Install the LinkedIn Insight Tag on your website.
- Create an audience.
- Create an ad campaign.
Step 1: Install the LinkedIn Insight Tag
In order to retarget people who have visited your website, you’ll need to install the LinkedIn Insight Tag on your website.
Like the Facebook Pixel, the LinkedIn Tag is a unique bit of code you install on your website that drops a cookie in the browser of people who visit. With the Tag installed, LinkedIn can tell when one of its users visits certain pages of your website.
For a step-by-step guide on installing and testing your LinkedIn Insights Tag, go here.
Step 2: Create a “Matched Audience”
A retargeting audience is made up of groups of people who have already engaged with your brand. In LinkedIn parlance, those groups of people are known as “Matched Audiences.”
We’re going to show you how to create four different types of Matched Audiences. Each one differs by how that group of people interacted with your brand. For example, one audience might come from your existing list of emails, while another consists of people who have visited your website.
You start the process to create each audience in LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager.
From your Campaign Manager dashboard, click Account Assets > Matched Audiences, and then click the blue Create Audience button on the next screen.
Next, choose which type of Matched Audience you want to create. You do that from the Create Audience drop-down menu.
From here, the process differs for each type of Matched Audience you create. Here’s how to finish creating four types of Matched Audiences.
Via email list upload
If you have a list of emails you’ve gathered outside of LinkedIn, you can use it to create a Matched Audience by uploading up to 300,000 of them.
Choose Company/Contact from the Create Audience drop-down.
Name this audience, and select a file you want to upload. To make sure the data is clean, use the Excel template LinkedIn provides.
Want an even easier way to populate your email list Matched Audience? Use AdEspresso’s Data Sync.
With Data Sync, you make the connection once, and AdEspresso automatically ads leads to your LinkedIn Matched Audience as they come in.
Via website visitors
With your Insight Tag installed, you can target people who have visited pages on your website.
Select Website from the Create Audience drop-down.
Name this audience, and add the URL(s) you want LinkedIn to follow for this campaign.
LinkedIn will start building your audience right away, but it won’t be valid and usable until it contains at least 300 people (meaning, 300 LinkedIn users have visited your website).
Via LinkedIn lead forms
LinkedIn allows you to create lead generation forms that are shown in ads. People fill these forms out to subscribe to your newsletter, register for a webinar, or get a downloadable asset.
You can retarget people who have either opened or filled out one of your forms.
From the Create Audience drop-down, choose Lead gen forms.
Name this audience, and answer the questions on the page.
Via video ad views
You can retarget people who have watched some or all of a video you’ve included in a LinkedIn ad.
From the Create Audience drop-down, choose Lead gen forms.
Name this audience, and answer the questions on the page.
Step 3: Create a campaign using your Matched Audiences
Assuming you’ve run ads on LinkedIn before, you know how to create an ad campaign. The difference for retargeting campaigns is the way you define the audience. Instead of targeting LinkedIn audience attributes such as company size or member interests, you’ll use the Matched Audiences you’ve already created.
Start the same way you would when creating any LinkedIn ad campaign, by clicking Create Campaign in Campaign Manager.
As usual, you’ll see a checklist starting with Objective Selection on the left side of the screen.
When you get to Audience, pick either “List Upload” to build a retargeting audience from your email list or Retargeting to build a retargeting audience from other sources. If you choose a retargeting audience, pick which type.
You’ll see a list of Matched Audiences you’ve already created. Pick it and complete your ad setup—format, placement, budget, etc.—like you would for other LinkedIn ads.
5 LinkedIn Ads Retargeting Strategies
LinkedIn retargeting ads are a great tool for marketers to re-engage people who have shown some interest in your brand or product. Like any tool, though, they become most effective when you have a solid strategy for using them. Here are five strategies you can use to put your new LinkedIn retargeting ads to work recapturing missed sales opportunities.
LinkedIn retargeting strategy #1: Retarget lost leads
Display retargeting ads featuring a reminder to people who have begun, but not finished, filling out a lead generation form.
The idea here is that people who open your lead gen form had some intention to complete it. Did they get distracted? Retarget them with more chances to complete what they started.
There are two versions of this strategy. One is for people who have opened but didn’t complete one of your forms on a LinkedIn ad; the other is for people who opened but did not complete a form directly on your website.
From unfilled LinkedIn forms
If you remember when we talked about creating a retargeting audience from LinkedIn lead generation forms, LinkedIn lets you choose two options:
- Everyone who opened your form (including people who submitted it)
- Only people who submitted the form
So you can’t directly create an audience made up only of people who opened your lead gen form but did not finish it. But what you can do on LinkedIn is create an audience from one group of people and then exclude certain members of that group. That’s what we’ll do here.
1. First, you need to create two audiences. One we’ll call the target audience; the other will be the exclusion audience.
2. Go to Create audience > Lead Gen forms like before.
3. For the first audience, choose “Anyone who opened your lead gen form,” and for the second audience, choose “Only people who submitted your lead gen form.” Make sure you name them so you can tell the difference.
4. Next, create a campaign that includes one audience and excludes the other.
5. In Campaign Manager, go to Create campaign > Audience > Retargeting > Lead gen form.
6. Choose the target audience you created from anyone who opened the form.
7. Then, click the Exclude button under your audience selector.
You’ll get an identical audience selection tool, but this time, whatever audience you select will be excluded from seeing your ads.
8. Use this tool to create an excluded audience of people that submitted your form. Chose Retargeting > Lead gen form again. Pick the excluded audience you created from people who submitted the form.
Your campaign now has an audience of people who opened your form but excludes everyone who submitted it.
From unfilled forms on your website
Since you have the Insight Tag installed, we can also target people who have opened a lead generation form on your website but have not yet submitted it.
We’re going to use the same strategy as before. This time, our target audience is everyone who visited the lead generation form page on your website. Our excluded audience consists of people who landed on the “Thank You” page (showing that they submitted the form).
1. Go to Create audience > Website and create two audiences. Use the URL from your lead generation form for the target audience. The exclude audience will use the URL from your Thank You page (or whatever page people land on after submitting their form).
2. Next, create a new campaign. Your target audience for this campaign is Retargeting > Website > choose the Lead gen form URL audience you just created.
3. Finally, go to Exclude > Retargeting > Website and choose the Thank You page URL audience you just created.
Your campaign now has an audience who has opened a lead gen form on your website but never summited it.
LinkedIn retargeting strategy #2: Retarget abandoned carts
Display retargeting ads to people who abandoned their shopping cart on your website featuring your products.
Nearly 70% of shoppers will leave unpurchased products in their shopping cart. You can win back some of those lost customers with an ad reminding them why they were interested in the products in the first place.
Once again, we’ll create two audiences.
The target audience is people who landed on your website’s “Add to Cart” page. The exclusion audience is people who landed on your “Thank You” page (or whatever page customers land on after completing a purchase).
1. First, create your two website audiences, as we did before. For one, use the URL of your Add to Cart page. For the other, use the URL from your Thank You page.
2. Then, create your campaign. For your target audience, choose Retarget > Website and pick your Add to Cart URL audience.
3. For your excluded audience, click Exclude > Retarget > Website and pick your Thank You page URL audience.
Now, your campaign will target people who have been to your Add to Cart page but never made it to the Thank You page.
LinkedIn retargeting strategy #3: Retarget blog readers with a download
Display retargeting ads featuring a downloadable asset to people who read an article on your blog.
The goal here is to move people from website visitor to lead.
For example, you may have a blog post titled “How to claim small-business deductions” on your tax-preparation website. Every reader of that post would get a LinkedIn lead generation form ad featuring the highly valuable guide, “The 10 Most Costly Tax Mistakes for Small Businesses.”
Create two audiences again.
This time, the targeted audience will be everyone who lands on the blog post URL. The exclusion audience will be anyone who is already a lead. That can come from your list of existing leads, which we’ll upload to LinkedIn.
1. First, go to Create Audience > Website, and create a website Matched Audience using the blog post URL.
2. Then, go back to Create Audience > Upload a list to create an audience from your list of leads.
3. Create your campaign using your blog post URL audience as the target. Then, click Exclude > List upload and choose the lead list audience you just created.
Now, you can target people who read a specific blog post with a downloadable asset while excluding everyone who has already received the asset.
LinkedIn retargeting strategy #4: Retarget current customers with a higher-tier product offer
Display retargeting ads featuring a higher level of service or product tier to current customers.
When you’re marketing to cold prospects, you often lead with free trials or entry-level product tiers. Your current customers, however, don’t need that. They need to know that a higher tier of service exists, and they need to know what it can do for them.
This one is very easy to do using the tools we’ve discussed. Simply create a Matched Audience by uploading an email list of current customers. Then, add that audience in a new campaign.
You can now target existing customers with an ad for one of your higher-tier products.
LinkedIn retargeting strategy #5: Retarget video viewers with a discount
Display retargeting ads featuring a product discount to people who have watched at least 75% of a video ad.
When someone sticks around to watch your video ad, they’ve shown interest in your brand and some intent in purchasing your product. In fact, 84% of people from this survey said they’d been convinced to buy a brand’s product or service by watching their video.
Close those high-intent customers with a LinkedIn ad featuring a discount.
LinkedIn makes this targeting very easy. When you’re creating a Matched Audience that has seen your video ad, just choose “People who viewed at least 75% of your video ad.”
Then use the audience you just created as the target audience of a new ad campaign.
Improve Your Sales Funnel with LinkedIn Retargeting Ads
The traditional linear marketing funnel assumes some people will leave at each stage. That’s why the funnel gets smaller and smaller from interest to conversion.
What the traditional funnel doesn’t account for is how to get all those lost customers back.
LinkedIn retargeting ads fix that. With a good retargeting ads strategy, more people make it through each stage of your marketing funnel. That means less of your advertising budget goes to waste, and you convert a higher percentage of your audience into leads and customers.