Linkedin Retargeting for the B2B Marketer: The Updated Guide
by Ariana Killpack
The odds that a Linkedin user clicks on your ad once and becomes a customer? Slim to none.
And no, I’m not dissing your Linkedin advertising skills. It just turns out only 2% of website traffic will convert after a first visit. What’s a LinkedIn advertiser to do?
The first step is to not give up on the 98% who interact with your ad and then disappear. Yes, those users didn’t convert this time — but with some persistence, they might.
Retargeting is the perfect strategy to identify these Linkedin users and convince them they should interact with you again. In fact, retargeted customers are three times more likely to click on your ad than a cold audience.
Your prospect pool has a natural drop-off at each buying stage. Retargeting helps leads progress through your funnel.
While you may already know about the power of retargeting in general, this article will focus entirely on how to use Linkedin retargeting. This includes:
A comprehensive look at Linkedin’s updated retargeting options
How to set up retargeting essentials
Using Linkedin retargeting options in campaigns
Best practices for creating Linkedin ads for retargeting audiences
What are LinkedIn Retargeting Ads?
Linkedin retargeting ads (sometimes known as remarketing ads) are served to LinkedIn users who previously interacted with your brand.
These past interactions indicate these users are interested in your offering. Armed with this knowledge, you can deliver tailored retargeting ads to these users.
Linkedin website retargeting example
For example, imagine that a user clicks on your Linkedin ad and navigates to a landing page on your website.
Even if they click away without converting, you know they’re now aware of your brand. You can switch away from awareness-level ads and instead serve ads with consideration-level content, like a free eBook. LinkedIn retargeting ads can reignite users’ initial interest giving you a second (or third, or fourth) chance to convert them.
The Insight Tag
LinkedIn uses a pixel to track users’ behavior and conversions.
Linkedin’s pixel is called the Insight Tag. The tag powers conversion tracking, website audiences, and website demographics for all Linkedin ad campaigns.
When you install this simple piece of code on your website, the Insight Tag can collect and pass visitor data between your site and the platform. For example, the visitors’ professional traits, the type of ad or content they interacted with on Linkedin, and any conversion activity that occurs (or doesn’t…) on your site. We’ll cover how to install the pixel in a minute.
Note: The insight tag does not track all website activity. For more robust tracking on social and beyond, you’ll need Google Analytics or Adobe Analytics implemented on your website.
The second component of Linkedin retargeting is Matched Audiences.
Matched Audiences are audience segments you custom build in Linkedin Campaign Manager. Use them when you’re ready to apply targeting in a Linkedin ad campaign. Matched Audiences contain users who previously interacted with your business through Linkedin, and you can use them for retargeting.
New Linkedin Retargeting Updates
You may have noticed some changes to Linkedin retargeting since the summer of 2020. Before then, Linkedin limited retargeting with Matched Audiences to website audiences and list uploads.
In other words, the ability to build Video, Lead Gen Form, Company Page, and Event audiences is entirely new.
And these Linkedin retargeting updates have something in common: they track on-platform engagement and conversions.
Engagement retargeting is great because social media users are so resistant to leaving the platform. Convincing Linkedin users to visit external web pages is difficult, slow, and expensive. The new engagement retargeting options mean that Linkedin can deliver the retargeting data you want directly from the platform and not rely on browser cookies.
The possibilities with engagement retargeting are limitless, but a few include:
Matched Audiences that grow faster and require less budget.
Insights about Linkedin Engagement, so you can create content that fits your customers’ funnel-stage.
Independence from third-party data and all its related issues (I’m looking at you Safari… and, well, Chrome too, now).
We’ll cover these Linkedin retargeting options for Matched Audiences in more depth later.
LinkedIn Retargeting Cost
Our clients often want to know how retargeting helps their business and how much Linkedin retargeting costs.
In the original Linkedin pilot study, 2,000+ Matched Audiences campaigns reported (on average):
🏆 30% increase in click-through-rate (CTR) with Website Retargeting ads.
🏆 14% decrease in post-click cost-per-conversion (CPC) with Website Retargeting ads.
🏆 37% increase in CTR with contact targeting.
Retargeting scoops up would-be-lost leads and converts them. So naturally, successful Linkedin retargeting campaigns will also increase your conversion rate and lower your average cost-per-lead (CPL).
This effect is true for a recent campaign by Scorpion, a Healthcare Services company. They saw:
🏆 56% increase in conversion rate
🏆 3.14x greater opportunity to customer rate
🏆 33% decrease in CPL
How to Create Linkedin Ads Retargeting Campaigns
If you’ve been wondering how to retarget on Linkedin, this is the section for you. I’ll walk you through how to set up all the retargeting necessities discussed above, plus how to bring it all together in a Linkedin ads campaign.
The full process includes:
Set up conversion tracking with the Linkedin insight tag
Segment out retargeting groups with Linkedin Matched Audiences
Target Matched Audiences in a Linkedin ads campaign
1. Set up Linkedin pixel
We’ve established what the Insight Tag does, so how do you implement Linkedin conversion tracking on your site?
While essential, the conversion tracking setup is wicked easy (the process only takes a few minutes). Plus, if you do it right, you’ll only need to do it once. Let’s get started.
👉 Boogie on over to Linkedin Campaign Manager.
👉 Check the box next to your business account & check out the Campaigns tab.
👉 In the Account Assets tab dropdown, click on Insight Tag.
Navigation: Accounts > Campaigns > Account Assets > Insight Tag
👉 Click Install my Insight Tag.
👉 Enthusiastically hit the button, I will install the tag myself.
Install the Linkedin Insight Tag
👉 See the tag code revealed by clicking I will install the tag myself? Copy all of it.
👉 Hit I’m done (we’re almost done!)
👉 On each page of your domain, scroll to the end of the <body> tag in the global footer.
👉 Paste the Insight Tag code just before the <body> tag ends.
Check each page for correct Insight Tag installation
Did you really set up Linkedin conversion tracking, or was it all a fever dream?
👉 Navigate back to Insight Tag under Account Assets. Correctly installed tags will send a signal from your website to Linkedin when a Linkedin member visits that page. The domain name will appear here.
👉 Wait up to 24 hours for a page visit to verify.
👉 In the Status column, verified domains show up as active (green).
Linkedin Website Tracking page
👉 Make the SameSite attribute None.
👉 Add the Secure label to your cookies.
Don’t have time to understand SameSite attributes? This is a judgment-free zone; you can launch this request over to a friendly developer near you.
Navigation: Campaigns > Account Assets > Insight Tag > Manage Insight Tag > See Tag
I could tell you were more excited about creating Linkedin retargeting audiences anyway. 😉👇
2. Build Linkedin retargeting audiences
The second step to creating retargeting campaigns on Linkedin is to build retargeting audiences. Really easy; all your retargeting options will be on the same page.
👉 Log into Linkedin Campaign Manager.
👉 Select the account you want to work in.
👉 On the Campaigns page, under the Account Assets tab, select Matched Audiences.
👉 Click on Create audience on the right side of the Matched Audiences page.
Linkedin Matched Audiences Options
👉 Click on the audience type you want to build.
👉 Go through the selected page’s flow and hit Create to build a new audience.
Note: Audiences take ~ 48 hours to build. Matched Audiences require at least 300 members before you can serve retargeting ads to those users. If you’re struggling to get enough audience members, expand the number of URLs or campaigns in that audience and analyze results. You can find more audience size best practices here.
In essence, that’s it! That’s all you have to do to create an audience. Obviously, each audience page will look slightly different, so I’ll run through each Matched Audience retargeting option next.
Website audience set up
⚙️ Use to: Retarget users who visited a page on your website using Website audiences. You’ll need the Insight Tag for this audience.
Linkedin retargeting website audience
👉 Name your audience. Use a name that you can remember later in your campaigns, so be specific.
👉 Add key pages from your website under Match a URL that… You can add multiple links to one audience.
👉 Pay attention to page rules:
Equals – this rule will only include the exact URL you list. A useful option when you want to restrict subpages. Example: “www.mybusiness.com/home” will not include “www.mybusiness.com/services” or “www.mybusiness.com/home/ex1/.”
Starts with – includes all pages starting with your input. Example: “www.mybusiness.com” will also include “www.mybusiness.com/services,” “www.mybusiness.com/blog,” etc.
Contains – contains asks you to type in a word or string. This option would make it easy to group URLs in a pattern, like related products, service offerings, or blog topics whose URL string includes the same keyword or phrase. Example: Entering “Linkedin ads” would include “www.lineardesign.com/blog/linkedin-ads” but not “www.lineardesign.com/blog/linkedin-ad-examples.”
AND/OR: Use AND to retarget users who both visit a page URL and visit another URL containing a word you specify. Use OR to group URLs and retarget people who visit any page listed.
⭐Best practice 1: Think about your ad campaigns.Create audiences that model the personalization you want to use in your ad copy or creative—for example, bundle URLs based on service type, product use case, or key home pages.
⭐Best practice 2: Pay attention to volume. Don’t be so specific with your audiences that you won’t have enough traffic to run retargeting ads.
Video audience set up
⚙️ Use to: Retarget users who viewed a video ad.
Linkedin retargeting video audience
👉 Name the audience.
👉 Choose viewing percentage (25%, 50%, 75%, or 97% of the video).
👉 Select lookback period (30, 60, 90, 180, 365 days in the past)
👉 Click the checkbox next to the video campaigns you want to include.
👉 Hit Create.
⭐Best practice 1: Use Linkedin retargeting video view audiences for brand awareness and consideration level campaign objectives.
⭐Best practice 2: Expand and include users who view video ads on the Audience Network.
Lead Gen Form audience set up
⚙️ Use to: retarget audience members who opened or submitted a lead gen form.
Linkedin retargeting lead gen form audience
👉 Surprise! Name the audience.
👉 Choose the engagement level. Either Anyone who opened your lead gen form (including submissions) or Only people who submitted your lead gen form.
👉 Like with video audiences, you can specify how long ago the audience members engaged with this form: a range between 30 days to a full year.
👉 Check the box next to the campaign(s) you want to retarget.
⭐Best practice 1: Use this retargeting option for conversion campaign objectives.
⭐Best practice 2: If you want to retarget members who opened the lead gen for but did not submit it, create another audience for Only people who submitted your lead gen form. Include the same campaigns in this audience. Exclude the ‘submitted’ audience in your retargeting campaign.
Company Page audience set up
⚙️ Use to: Retarget users that engaged with your business page.
Linkedin retargeting company page audience
👉 Name it.
👉 Choose an engagement type. Engagement on a company Linkedin Page includes a page view or a click on your page’s header CTA.
👉 Like lead gen form audiences, you get to pick how recently audience members engaged.
👉 Oh ya! Create.
Event audience set up
⚙️ Use to: retarget Linkedin members that RSVP to your Linkedin Event. This option includes upcoming and past Linkedin events.
Linkedin retargeting event audience
👉 Name the audience.
👉 Check the boxes next to Event names to include the events you want.
👉 Click Create.
(BONUS) List upload audience set up
⚙️ Use to: retarget users from a file upload (usually CSV) of email contacts matched with users on Linkedin. This option only counts as retargeting if all contacts have engaged with your website or ads previously.
Linkedin retargeting list audience
👉 Name the audience.
👉 Upload your list (if you need help, more details here).
👉 Click Create.
⭐Best practice 1: Upload a list including at least 10,000 email addresses. Not all addresses will match to Linkedin users, so this will help make sure you reach at least 300 people.
⭐Best practice 2: Make sure your list complies with relevant privacy laws (e.g., GDPR).
3. Use Matched Audiences in a Linkedin retargeting campaign
If you haven’t yet set up a Linkedin ads account, do so. In this section, we’ll cover how to add retargeting Matched Audiences to a Linkedin advertising campaign.
Once you build your retargeting audiences, you can use them with any ad format (for example, Linkedin sponsored ads or InMail message retargeting).
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Step 1: Create a Linkedin campaign
In Campaign Manager, run through campaign setup as usual.
Imagine you chose ‘Lead generation’ as our objective. Let’s insert a retargeting audience into the campaign.
👉 Scroll to Who is your target audience?
Target audience options
👉 Click Audiences > Retargeting
👉 Select from the options of Matched Audiences: Company page, Events, Lead gen form, Video, Website.
👉 Choose the Matched Audience under that type; for example, Lead gen form audiences.
👉 Finish out the campaign set up. Particularly, with ad format, placement, budget and schedule, bidding, and conversion tracking information.
👉 Move on to create your ads and launch the campaign.
Note: With retargeting campaigns, avoid layering the other targeting options on top of your Matched Audience targeting.
Step 3: Create ads following LinkedIn retargeting best practices
Linkedin retargeting ad specs should align with the ad format you choose to advertise with. You’ll ad copy and images like every other campaign. However, your ads should follow certain retargeting best practices.
⭐ Tailor your ad content. When you created Matched Audiences, you bundled campaigns or URLs for a reason. Your images and ad copy should reflect that. In other words, content should be different for a retargeting audience who engaged with your blog than those who downloaded an eBook. Match the audience’s action or type with the retargeting experience you offer them.
⭐ Use multiple ad formats. Retarget intentionally. Your primary objective is to re-convert prime members of your audience on Linkedin. Ultimately, you want to move them down your sales funnel and make them a customer. Different ad formats will work better for certain objectives and stages. For example, Lead gen form audiences work best for conversion objectives.
⭐ Aim to measure and improve. The key to success with any PPC endeavor is to test, measure, and improve. A/B test the performance of your retargeting audiences. And when you observe trends, you can spend more time and money on what works and less on what doesn’t.
Feeling a little winded after all the new Linkedin retargeting updates? That’s ok.
We made it! You’re armed with everything you need to know to get Linkedin retargeting campaigns up and running.
LinkedIn membership is booming — 690 million users in Q3 of 2020.
This growth is great for B2B advertisers. Users are mostly professionals, and 80% are decision-makers. Millions are ready to consider your business-related product or offer.
However, a hurdle remains: longer B2B sales cycles make it difficult to keep Linkedin users’ thinking about you long enough for them to convert. Retargeting puts the spotlight back on your business and helps you convince past interactors to reinvest their attention.
Hopefully, you feel ready to take on everything you’ve learned here — it’s time to apply it to your own Linkedin retargeting campaigns.
Try it out. Then tell us how it went!
Director of Content
Ariana prides herself on always learning everything there is to know about pay-per-click advertising and conversion rate optimization, which is why she can create such excellent content. When she’s not writing fantastic content, you can find her hiking, swimming, or baking bread.