LinkedIn To Discontinue 'Lookalike Audiences' For Ad Targeting

Starting Feb. 29, marketers will no longer be able to use LinkedIn’s “Lookalike Audiences” as an ad-targeting option.

While the business-to-business social-media platform changes how marketers are able to reach their target audience, it is suggesting alternative targeting methods that utilize its own internal data paired with the power of artificial intelligence (AI).

Historically, Lookalike Audiences has made it possible for marketers to input a list of customer information from their own database. LinkedIn’s system, then automatically looks over the provided information and takes note of specific customer traits. From there, the feature matches those traits to the traits of other LinkedIn users to help marketers expand their reach to people with a similar profile.

At the end of February, however, “existing lookalike audience data will no longer refresh, and a lookalike audience will become a static lookalike audience,” the company wrote in a blog post. “Any active campaigns using lookalike audiences will continue to deliver using the static audience.”



LinkedIn has not provided information to explain why it is discontinuing this targeting option, but it has suggested alternatives within its system that depend more heavily on AI.

Predictive Audiences, for example, uses AI to create new audience segments by extracting demographics, firmographics, and behavioral attributes from first-party data, lead generation from completions and data compiled from in-app conversions.

Unlike Lookalike Audiences, the Predictive Audiences tool works from multitude of data points instead of a fixed methodology, while continuing to learn and evolve as campaigns continue to grow and amass new data insights.

Through internal testing, LinkedIn reported a 21% cost-per-lead reduction in campaigns using Predictive Audiences, which could improve overall ROI for businesses on the app.

LinkedIn also suggests that marketers experiment with the Audience Expansion tool, which focuses on shared interests when targeting users.

“For example, if your campaign targets members with the skill ‘Online Advertising’, Audience Expansion might expand your audience to members who list the skill ‘Interactive Marketing’ on their profile,” LinkedIn explains. “This means you can discover new quality prospects and automatically drive them into your marketing funnel.”

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