The PPC Pro’s Ultimate Guide to LinkedIn Retargeting

This post is part of our series The PPC Pro’s Ultimate Guides to Retargeting.

LinkedIn first introduced Matched audiences in April 2017. Matched Audiences gave advertisers the ability to retarget ads to website visitors for the first time on the LinkedIn platform. Advertisers could also upload or import lists of existing contacts from their customer database to engage with these audiences through LinkedIn Ads.

Getting Started With LinkedIn Matched Audiences

With LinkedIn Matched Audiences you can retarget your website visitors, connect with your contact lists, or upload target accounts you want to engage with.

linkedin audience targeting

Getting Started with LinkedIn Website Retargeting

Step 1. Add the LinkedIn Insight Tag to your site

The LinkedIn Insight Tag is a lightweight JavaScript tag that powers conversion tracking, retargeting, and web analytics for LinkedIn ad campaigns. To access your Insight Tag, go to the Account Assets tab in the top navigation bar and select Insight Tag from the drop-down.

LinkedIn Insight Tag

Once added, your website will be listed as Verified if your tag is added properly.

LinkedIn Verify Domain
If you already have the Insight Tag installed on your website for LinkedIn conversion tracking or web analytics, you can skip this step.

Step 2. Create website retargeting audience segments

To create an audience segment, navigate to Account Assets > Matched Audiences.Here you’ll see two tabs, one for website audiences and another for uploading audience lists. Click “Create an audience” under website audiences.

LinkedIn Create Website Audience

Note that you must have “Account manager” or “Campaign manager” level access to the LinkedIn account to access website retargeting

First, you’ll want to give your audience a name. Make sure to name it something that clearly defines who is included in the audience both for you and for other account users.

Next, you’ll define your audience based on the URL of pages they visited. The URLs must belong to a domain you entered in your Insight Tag, so make sure your tag is on all domains and subdomains of your website.

You have three different website URL options when setting up your website retargeting audience segment:

  1. “Starts with” – Select this option to include any page whose URL starts with these characters.
  2. “Exact” – Select this option to target pages whose URL matches these characters in their entirety.
  3. “Contains” – Use this only on pages whose URL contains these characters.

You can add multiple URLs to your audience when creating it and also come back at any time and add additional URLs later.

LinkedIn Retargeting Audience

Keep in mind that adding additional URLs to a single audience will use OR logic, not AND, meaning a visitor only needs to visit one of the URLs in the segment to be added to the audience.

Step 3. Let your audience build up

After you’ve installed the Insight Tag and defined audience segments, your audience will grow as more LinkedIn members visit your site. While the tag may take up to 48 hours to build your audience, you can set up your website targeting segments right away.

Each website segment must generate at least 300 people before ads can be delivered to that retargeted audience.  LinkedIn website audience segments will use a 90-day cookie window.

Getting Started with LinkedIn Contact Targeting

Method 1: Email List Upload

Format your list as CSV file with a single column, one email address per row, with the word “email” as the first row. You can upload up to 300,000 email addresses and LinkedIn recommends at least 10,000 emails on your list.

You’ll upload your email list by navigating to Account Assets > Matched Audiences. This time, go to the Uploaded list audiences section and hit Upload a list.

LinkedIn Upload List

Give your audience a name, upload your file, and click Next.
LinkedIn Upload Audience

Once LinkedIn matches your email list to at least 300 members, you can start delivering ads to this audience. If the matches are below this threshold you’ll see “Audience too small” listed under Match rate. Try uploading a larger list or use less segmentation with your lists to increase the number of matches.

Method 2: Integrate With Your Contact Management Platform

Data integrations are currently available for Marketo, Eloqua, or LiveRamp.

If you want to set up data integrations, you’ll select “Connect to data integration” from the Uploaded list audiences page.

LinkedIn Ads Data Integration

Agree to the terms and then link the API keys on your contact management platform.

Once you’ve linked the API keys on your marketing automation platform, your lists will automatically populate on your Uploaded list audiences menu within 24 hours.

Getting Started with LinkedIn Account Targeting

Step 1. Prepare your account list

This process is very similar to the process used to create your email list.

Format the list as a .CSV file with a single column, one company per row, with the word “companyname” as the first row. You can upload up to 300,000 company names and a list size of at least 1,000 is recommended.

Step 2. Upload your account list

You’ll upload your list in the same way you uploaded your contact email list.  Navigate to Account Assets > Matched Audiences and click “Upload a list. “

LinkedIn will match your account list against the 8M+ company pages on LinkedIn to create a targeting segment. It can take up to 24 hours to generate your audience. Once your list matches to a minimum of 300 members, your ads will be eligible to show to this audience.

Your list may take up to 48 hours to match and become available for targeting.

Creating LinkedIn Retargeting Campaigns

Matched Audiences is available for all LinkedIn advertising products, including Sponsored Content, Text Ads and Sponsored InMail. When creating a Retargeting campaign, you’ll first select the type of ads you want to use for that campaign.

LinkedIn Campaign Types

You’ll then choose which matched audience you want to target in the Audience Creation section of the campaign settings. If you haven’t already created the audience you want to target from the Account Assets page, you can create the new audience right from the campaign settings by defining a website retargeting audience or uploading a list.

LinkedIn Retargeting Campaign

If the audience you want to target already exists in Account Assets, all you need to do is start typing the audience name into the search bar. A list of all matching audiences will appear for you to select from. You can also select “See full list” to see a list of all of your existing audiences.

LinkedIn Audience List

You’ll want to make sure to adjust the dropdown based on whether you want to include or exclude the selected audiences.

LinkedIn Audience Include Exclude

You can include and exclude multiple audiences within the same campaign. For example, you might want to target people who downloaded any of your white papers but exclude people who are already customers.

Remember that when you choose multiple options within a targeting facet, they act as an “or” statement and LinkedIn will target members who fall in any of the audiences. So if you choose to include an audience for people who watched a video demo and also include an audience for people who signed up for a product demo, your ads will be targeting anyone who is on either list.

When you choose options between targeting facets. For example, a Seniority of Senior and a job function of Finance, Campaign Manager will target only members who fall into both categories. This will generally decrease your audience size.

LinkedIn Matched Audiences Tips

Now that you have all of these audiences, make sure you are taking advantage of them with your advertising strategy.

For website visitors, tailor your ad content based on what visitors viewed on your site. If they visited your video demo page, show them ads for your free product tour. If they’ve already done the product tour, show them ads encouraging them to sign up.

For contact targeting, show relevant ads to leads based on where they are in your sales funnel. Divide your contacts into custom audience segments like prospects, current clients, and churned customers. You can further segment prospects like those who never opened emails vs those who have. Make sure to keep in mind minimum audience size.


For account targeting, market to the professionals who can make or influence buying decisions at your target accounts. You can do this by combining a target account list with targeting facets, like job seniority.

Don’t add too many facets though, or you’ll risk hyper-targeting. Keep your target audience over 50,000 for Sponsored Content and Text Ads, and over 15,000 for Sponsored InMail. Use the tools in Campaign Manager to keep an eye on estimate reach.

Are you using Matched Audiences in LinkedIn? If so, let us know how they have worked out for your campaigns.

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the posts in our Retargeting Series!