So you want to run LinkedIn Ads Lookalike audiences, do you?

Well, hold on! There are some things you might want to consider first before just jumping in to using this feature.

Though popularized by Meta, (more details on Meta’s Lookalike audience feature here), LinkedIn’s Lookalike audience feature is a few miles behind when it comes to its practicality and effectiveness.

But don’t worry! In this article, we’re covering everything you need to know in order to make an informed decision on whether or not leveraging LinkedIn Ads Lookalike audiences is right for you.


How They Work


If you’ve been following AJ Wilcox and B2Linked for a while, you’ll know our stance on the LinkedIn Ads feature “Enable Audience Expansion”, which is to avoid at all costs. That’s because Audience Expansion extends your reach and shows your ads to users who LinkedIn thinks are similar to the target audience parameters you set.

Unfortunately, from our experience, LinkedIn’s machine learning isn’t quite advanced enough to target this accurately and utilizing Audience Expansion often results in your ads reaching lower quality audiences.

Lookalike audiences on LinkedIn Ads are another form of Audience Expansion.

When you create a Lookalike audience, LinkedIn will try to identify similar people to the existing matched audience your Lookalike is based on. Because LinkedIn uses the same machine learning, though, as Audience Expansion, to identify new audience members to target, chances are your targeting won’t be as accurate as you’d hoped.



The Strategy


So does that mean Lookalike audiences aren’t worth your time? Not necessarily! One way to increase the likelihood of Lookalike audience success is to layer on additional targeting criteria.

Lookalike audiences are created based on existing matched audiences. This includes any website retargeting, lead gen form retargeting, ABM lists, etc that you’ve created a matched audience off of previously.

As a best practice, use your Lookalike audience as your primary targeting criteria and drill down by adding secondary targeting criteria like company size, seniority, company industry, etc. This can help increase your chances of reaching more of the right people.

Note, however, that this strategy is not guaranteed. It could help improve your Lookalike audience targeting, but LinkedIn’s algorithm could still result in a slew of unqualified people seeing and/or clicking on your ads.

If you find that the impressions, clicks, and leads generated from your Lookalike audiences are still not within your ideal customer persona (ICP), or that CTR and conversion rate are low compared to your non-Lookalike campaigns, pause them and pivot to other targeting methods.

Check out this post for more tips on how to effectively target your audience on LinkedIn Ads.


How to Create One


As mentioned earlier, to create a Lookalike audience, you must first have a matched audience created. Matched audiences must have an audience size of at least 300 and cannot be building, expired, or in an error state in order to base a Lookalike off of them.

First, click on Account Assets and then Matched Audiences.



Next, you can start creating a Lookalike audience in one of two ways.

The first is to click Create Audience and then Lookalike.



Then, a popup box will appear, which will allow you to name your Lookalike audience and select the matched audience you want to create your Lookalike from. Once done, click Agree & Create.



The second method is to click the checkbox next to the matched audience you want to create a Lookalike from and click the Create a Lookalike button.



A Lookalike audience will automatically be created when following this method. If you want to edit the name of your newly created Lookalike, click the three dots on the right side of your Lookalike and click Edit.



What’s Your Experience?


Though we haven’t found a lot of use cases where LinkedIn Ads Lookalike audiences have generated quality leads/traffic for us, we’re curious to hear from you. Have you seen success leveraging this LinkedIn Ads tool? What’s been your experience? Feel free to comment below!

Also, if you can’t already tell, we really dig this stuff. 😉 In the 8 years we’ve run LinkedIn Ads, we’ve spent $150M+ on the platform, are official LinkedIn Marketing Partners, and have managed some of the largest LinkedIn Ad accounts in the world.

B2Linked increases your lead quality while lowering costs at the same time. Say goodbye to wasted ad spend! If you want to ramp up your LinkedIn Ad efforts, apply to work with our team of experts.

Thanks for reading and happy advertising!


Eric Jones

Eric Jones - B2Linked