LinkedIn can be difficult to master but the right messaging and targeting brands can help you generate results.

Matched audiences enable you to reach people who have been involved with your business in some manner and to pursue lists of “dream businesses” that you would like to work with.

This article will provide an overview of how to get started with matched audience and tactics for using them in your campaigns.

Types of matched audiences

LinkedIn allows you to use a variety first-party and second-party methods to build your audience. These are the categories available at the time this article was written:

  • Contact lists – Targeting individuals.
  • Company listings: Targeting all employees of a specific organization.
  • Pixel-based Retargeting: Reaching people who have visited certain pages on your website.

  • Retargeting based on engagement

    Based on in-platform activity such as:

    • Single image ad engagement.
    • Video views.
    • Submit/open Lead Form
    • Engagement on company pages
    • LinkedIn event RSVPs.


To be eligible to serve, the minimum size of a matched audience must be 300. After uploading and processing the list, 300 people must be matched on the platform.

There will be some drop-off as the platform is unable to match every person in your original document.

After the list is synced, the platform will display a match rate. This allows you to double-check your fields in case the match rate seems low.

However, targeting 300 people is not enough. CPAs and CPCs that target larger audiences are more effective. A minimum of 50,000 people is ideal.

LinkedIn recommends that you include at least 1,000 companies for company targeting.

LinkedIn recommends that you have at least 10,000 email addresses for contact targeting. If more than one email address matches the same user, the person will only be included once.

Maximum file size for either list type is 20MB or 300,000.

Use the templates provided by LinkedIn when uploading a list. If you prefer, you can use the email field to create a contact list, or the company name field to create a company list. However, the more columns you include, the more precise the matching process will be.

You will also need to wait for LinkedIn’s processing of a list before targeting it in your campaigns. Lists are usually ready within 48 hours. However, sometimes they may take longer.

Some CRMs and automation platforms also allow you to sync your lists directly. If you have the ability to sync lists directly, this can reduce the amount of work required to get it in place and allow you to keep it updated.

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Layering Targeting

You can combine matched audiences with LinkedIn’s other targeting options. You can think of ways to use your own audiences and additional layers such company size, job function seniority, titles, etc. You cannot combine contact lists with traits and interests.

If you are looking to avoid junior-level employees, you could target a company with job seniorities at Senior level and above.

You can also retarget visitors to your website, which is possible for companies with more than 500 employees.

When setting up layers, you can use both “AND” and “OR” targeting. For example, you can reach people on either list A or B if they have Director-level seniority.


Lists can be a great way to ensure you are not spending money on people you don’t want.

To avoid them being reached, you could upload a list with your customers. Also, you should exclude competitors companies so that their employees don’t see your ads.

Website retargeting audiences are a great way to build exclusions.

To attract job seekers, create an audience by inviting people to your “Careers” page.

If your product is an online experience, you can exclude customers who visit the log-in page. These are likely to be existing customers.

Upselling and ad sequence

If you want to sell additional levels of service to customers, sync customer lists based on their tiers or existing plans. This will allow you to place ads for new products and services.

Users of CRM software might be up-sold to add marketing automation features into their existing plans.

After people have completed interactions with your brand, you can plan to offer them different content.

You can use lead forms to promote a downloadable buyer’s guide. Target people who have completed the form and offer the chance to request a demo.

You can control which lists you include or exclude from campaigns and set up ad sequence between campaigns to spread exposure throughout the sales funnel.

Targeting lookalikes

Once you have matched your audience, you can create a corresponding lookalike audience. This will help you find people who have similar characteristics to the ones on a specific list.

If you upload a list with current customers, you can create a lookalike audience. This will include people with similar job titles and group memberships, interests, etc.

You should test lookalikes in separate campaigns to segment results. This is because you cannot isolate one audience’s performance within a single campaign.

Data collection from audiences

LinkedIn offers a number of useful analytics tools that allow you to view details about your contacts.

This information can be accessed for any contact list you have uploaded. Navigate to the Audiences section and select an audience. Click the Insights button in upper right.

Now you can view the top characteristics of your choice, including:

  • Interests
  • Localities
  • Job functions
  • Seniority in the job market
  • Years of experience
  • Titles
  • Companies
  • Size of the company
  • Industries
  • Growth rates

The Company Engagement Report will be displayed when you select a company from the list. It shows how often employees have visited each company.

  • Engaged with ads
  • Engage organically with your company’s page.
  • Or visited your site.

This report can also help you to verify that your list matches up with the correct companies.

Website retargeting audiences can be viewed by going to Analyze > Web Demographics. You may also be able to compare the characteristics between two audiences.

Start testing audiences

If you’ve been able to identify matched audiences that you haven’t yet tested, you can start to think about how to incorporate them into your campaigns.

You can either build prospect lists for LinkedIn or start building engagement-based audience to target people who are engaged with your brand. Content that is relevant to the level of interaction people have with your brand is important.

Search Engine Land’s first post, LinkedIn matched audiences: How you can get started appeared on Search Engine Land.