Saying Farewell to Lookalike Audiences on LinkedIn: Embracing Predictive Audiences

As LinkedIn announces the sunset of lookalike audiences on February 29th, it marks a significant shift in the platform’s advertising landscape. This move is in line with the growing emphasis on user privacy across all social media platforms. But what does this mean for your LinkedIn marketing strategy?

Let’s begin with a quick recap of what lookalike audiences entail. These audiences allow advertisers to upload a customer list (1st party data), and LinkedIn’s algorithm identifies users with similar traits to target them with ads. Lookalike audiences have been instrumental in many paid social strategies for finding new customers likely to convert.

So, what changes with the departure of lookalike audiences?

Good News: Active campaigns currently utilizing lookalike audiences will continue to target this audience.

Bad News: Existing lookalike audiences will no longer refresh and will become static. Additionally, creating new lookalike audiences will not be an option come March.

But fear not, as LinkedIn introduces two alternatives: Predictive Audiences and Audience Expansion.

Predictive Audiences:

These audiences are constructed similarly to lookalike audiences, drawing from uploaded customer lists, lead gen forms, and on-site conversions. Although unlike lookalikes, predictive audiences rely more on LinkedIn-specific data.

Audience Expansion:

This feature broadens targeting beyond manual settings, reaching audiences with related interests to those in your campaign targeting. While it opens doors to new potential conversions, it lacks transparency regarding the demographics being targeted.

How can you prepare for this transition?

Upload Customer Lists: Ensure all customer lists are uploaded and lookalikes are created, even though they won’t update.

Experiment with Predictive Audiences: Test the effectiveness of predictive audiences compared to lookalikes, especially when built from Lead Gen forms and on-site conversions.

Audience Expansion? The jury’s still out. I’d recommend testing Predictive Audiences first & utilizing this feature if you have the budget & you really want to find new audiences. But the main thing is that this is not a replacement for Lookalikes.

Have you ventured into predictive audiences or audience expansion yet? How do you anticipate the absence of lookalikes impacting your LinkedIn marketing efforts?

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