Navigating LinkedIn Ads Lookalike Targeting Removal: What You Need To Know.

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On the 29th February 2024, LinkedIn discontinued it’s lookalike targeting feature, meaning that new lookalike audiences can no longer be created, and existing lookalike audiences can no longer be used for targeting.

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What is/was lookalike targeting?

Lookalike targeting was a LinkedIn advertising feature that let you target users who shared similar characteristics and interests to your existing audience segments. This was a great way for users to expand their contact base into a wider professional market that matched the characteristics of their buyer personas.

The system used LinkedIn’s targeting algorithms – which have become extremely precise and effective – to find more users with a similar profile to the original matched advertising audience.

All you needed to do to create a lookalike audience would be to sign into your campaign menu, navigate to Create Audience-Lookalike, or select Create Lookalike from the three dots next to the audience.

The system was simple, straightforward, and worked well, and LinkedIn has not given a specific reason for their decision to discontinue the feature.

We suspect that there may have been data protection issues associated with the feature, or the computer hardware required to run the complicated algorithms involved might have been too costly for the company to justify the increased advertising income.

They may also have discontinued lookalike audiences in order to shift the focus of advertising to other targeting options.

What is the alternative to lookalike targeting?

In place of lookalike targeting, LinkedIn recommends using Predictive Audiences and Audience Expansion for audience targeting, making use of the platform’s extensive member and company data to reach and engage a professional audience of ideal customers.

While lookalike targeting used a straightforward profile matching algorithm, which, however extensive the dataset, was always prone to matching errors, Predictive Audiences and Audience Expansion are AI tools that may provide a more efficient and accurate way for users to reach potential customers.

Predictive Audiences: this feature uses LinkedIn user data to create a brand new, AI-curated audience of users that share similar characteristics with your existing data source, doing essentially the same thing as lookalike targeting. Any data source could be used to create a Predictive Audience, including a contact list, Lead Gen Form submissions, or conversion events.

Audience Expansion: this tool takes an existing audience and expands it to reach people who are similar in profile or demographics to existing audience members, helping you expand your advertising reach without manually expanding your campaign.

All change? No change?

Although lookalike targeting is withdrawn, LinkedIn users haven’t really lost anything, as Predictive Audiences and Audience Expansion both provide essentially the same service, but with (hopefully) greater efficiency and accuracy. Although LinkedIn are constantly changing or upgrading the technologies they use behind the scenes, the user experience for you and your customers should be relatively unchanged.

What next?

To find out more about LinkedIn advertising and how to get the best return from your investment, please contact one of our social media marketing team today by clicking here.

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