LinkedIn Phases Out Lookalike Audiences, Encourages New Targeting Methods

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LinkedIn Phases Out Lookalike Audiences, Encourages New Targeting Methods

LinkedIn is altering its ad targeting approach by discontinuing the Lookalike Audiences feature, which has implications for advertisers aiming to pinpoint their desired audience within the network.

The Lookalike Audience capability has allowed advertisers to submit their own customer data, which LinkedIn then analyzes for specific characteristics. By identifying users who share these characteristics, LinkedIn facilitates advertisers in connecting with a broader audience that mirrors their existing customer base. 

However, this service will be removed as LinkedIn has decided to phase it out. Starting February 29, 2024, the platform will no longer support the creation or editing of lookalike audience profiles. Ad campaigns that are already running will continue to operate, but they will do so using a static version of their original lookalike audience data.

This change is noteworthy, considering the advantages that lookalike targeting has offered advertisers in the past, namely the ability to tailor campaigns to users resembling their current clientele.

Despite this shift, LinkedIn still provides alternate targeting tools that are worth considering. Predictive Audiences, for example, is a feature that draws on data collected from LinkedIn's own Lead Gen Forms, user-uploaded contact lists, and insights captured through the LinkedIn Insight Tag. Even though this might restrict sourcing to LinkedIn-related information, it has the potential to yield improved outcomes because it's more in tune with the data patterns understood by LinkedIn's system.

Another tool at advertisers' disposal is Audience Expansion. Using this feature, companies can broaden the scope of their ad campaigns to reach individuals with adjacent interests. For instance, if an advertisement is originally targeted at members with expertise in "Online Advertising," Audience Expansion could broaden the audience to include members with "Interactive Marketing" listed in their skillset. Employing this feature helps in attracting new prospects that could enter the marketing funnel automatically.

While the elimination of the Lookalike Audiences might necessitate advertisers to modify their strategies, these new tools harness LinkedIn's proprietary data for targeting, potentially leading to more refined and effective ad campaigns. As the network's ad targeting capabilities continue to evolve, LinkedIn likely determined that leveraging internal tools supersedes the benefits of external data-based lookalike targeting. Advertisers accustomed to the older system will need to adapt and explore the updated offerings for targeting in their future campaigns.