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LinkedIn Retargeting: How It Works & How to Set It Up

Did you know LinkedIn currently boasts an impressive 690 million users worldwide? With stats like that, it’s important to make sure you’re using the platform correctly to your brand’s best advantage.

However well-structured your LinkedIn marketing campaign may be, there’s never any guarantee for excessive conversion… or even a little conversion.

Did you know that only 6.1% of LinkedIn users who engage with your LinkedIn ad campaign may then go on to allow themselves to be driven and converted? Given the amount of users currently active on the site, that’s a disconcerting percentage. What happens to the rest of them? Well, they simply aren’t grabbed enough to convert for whatever reason.

While this may be scary and disheartening for many brands and marketers alike, fear not. Sometimes all it takes is a minor tweak or rewording of your LinkedIn ad campaign to turn a ‘no’ or ‘maybe’ into a ‘hell, yes’ from a lead. Another thing that helps? Hooking audiences who’ve already previously engaged with your brand on LinkedIn in the past. This is called a LinkedIn Retargeting Campaign and it is designed for brands looking to expand their lead generation with another digital marketing tactic.

LinkedIn retargeting campaigns are similar to regular ad campaigns that you may have created in the past, but there are a few key areas that differ. This article explains in depth how LinkedIn retargeting ad campaigns work, how to set them up, and the best LinkedIn ads retargeting strategies used by our LinkedIn ads agency.

1 – What are LinkedIn Retargeting Ads?

We’ve all borne witness to the magic of retargeting campaigns, whether we know it or not.

We’ve all engaged in internet shopping (even just internet “window shopping”) for a particular product or service, and then have chuckled to ourselves when weeks later, we’re being bamboozled with ads and convenient reminders about the product in question on every website we visit.

Ladies and gentlemen, that is retargeting for you. It’s a brand’s way of reminding you that your desired product is still available and could you hurry up and purchase it, please?

How it works isn’t peer pressure, per se. How many times have we all been browsing the web for something and we’ve “ummed and ahhed” about it, and have been interrupted by a phone call or a family member needing assistance, and have then quickly forgotten about the product/service we were eyeing?  

The purpose of retargeting is to remind you that a brand exists and they’ve got what you need to solve a problem or improve your life in some way or another. In a nutshell, from a marketer/brand’s point of view, it is displaying ads to users who have previously engaged with your brand. It reminds them that they can trust you to service their needs again – and that they should do just that.

But where does the professional networking site, LinkedIn, fit into all of this? It works the exact same way. If you’ve previously run a LinkedIn ad campaign with the purpose to drive LinkedIn traffic to your website, a LinkedIn retargeting ad campaign will serve as a reminder to previous engagers that your website still exists and still caters to the user’s needs.

How does it work? LinkedIn’s algorithm keeps track of previous ad campaign engagers and is aware of who’s likely to be re-converted.

As with your initial LinkedIn ad campaign, you will be able to create a retargeting audience from multiple sources. For your retargeting campaign, your ads will be aimed at what’s called your “warm” audience (users who’ve already shown interest in your brand online in the past).

Here are your audience-building options:
– Leads who view your ad video on LinkedIn
– Leads sourced from a list of emails you’ve gathered and uploaded to LinkedIn
– Leads who have visited your website but are also LinkedIn members
– Leads who fill out a lead-gen form through one of your LinkedIn posts

LinkedIn Retargeting Costs

While the conversion figures we mentioned earlier may have been somewhat daunting, you’ll be pleased to know that these statistics aren’t applicable to LinkedIn retargeting campaigns. On the contrary, success rates are much higher:

– 37% increase in CTR with contact targeting.

– 30% increase in click-through rate (CTR) with Website Retargeting ads.

– 14% decrease in post-click cost-per-conversion (CPC) with Website Retargeting ads.

If you’re wondering why LinkedIn retargeting ads are generally much more successful at guaranteeing a conversion, it’s because these users have already been converted in the past, or have at least liked your brand enough to engage with it. Hence why they’re considered a “warm” audience.

The other piece of good news? Not only is conversion more likely here, but a LinkedIn retargeting ad campaign will also lower your average cost-per-lead (CPL), thus almost guaranteeing a ROI in your LinkedIn ads budget.

2 – How to Create LinkedIn Ads Retargeting Campaigns

If all of this has piqued your interest, but you’re still wondering how to ensure you’re on the track to conversion success with your LinkedIn ads retargeting campaign – here’s how to go about it to guarantee maximum conversion.

2.1 – Set Up LinkedIn Pixel

You’re probably already aware how important KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) measures are within your digital ad campaign’s journey. LinkedIn allows conversion tracking – and the great news is, it’s quick and easy to set up.

Firstly, you’ll need to find your unique Javascript code. Here’s how to do that:

–  If you haven’t installed your Insight Tag yet, first go on to your LinkedIn campaign manager page

– Click on the account assets tab.

– This will then open a dropdown. From the Account Assets tab dropdown click on conversion tracking.

– Click on Data sources then click the Install my Insight Tag button.

– Click Manage Insight Tag button and select See tag from the dropdown.

install insight tag linkedIn

Installing Your Insight Tab:

– Here you’ll need to Copy all of the tag code from the I Will Install The Tab Code Myself, then click I’m Done.

– On each page of your domain, scroll to the end of the <body> tag in the global footer.

– Paste the Insight Tag code you’ve just Copied just before the <body> tag ends.

Check each page for correct Insight Tag installation:

– Head back to Insight Tag under Account Assets. Correctly installed tags will send a signal from your website to LinkedIn when a user visits that page. The domain name will appear here too.

– LinkedIn will then need to verify this page, which can take up to 24 hours.

– Once verified, your verified domain will show up green (Active) in your Status column on LinkedIn.

2.2 – Build LinkedIn Retargeting Audiences

Now that you’re all installed with your Insights Tag, it’s time to start building your LinkedIn retargeting audiences. Here’s how:

– Head to your LinkedIn Campaign Manager (if you’re not there already) and select the account you’ll be working with.

– Find the Account Assets tab and select Matched Audiences.

– Click on Create Audience of the Matched Audiences page (located on the right side of the page).

– Select the audience type you wish to build.

– Scroll down and then choose Create to build a new audience.

linkedIn retargeting matched audience

Please note: it can take up to 48 hours to build an audience on LinkedIn, so don’t be miffed if you don’t see results immediately. Another thing to consider is that you’ll need a minimum of at least 300 LinkedIn users compiled as an audience before you’ll be able to send your retargeting ads.

Different audience pages will slightly differ in the way they appear. Here are the audience page options:

Website Audience Set Up

Naturally, the purpose of this variation is to retarget the LinkedIn users who have previously visited your website.

LinkedIn retargeting website audience

Here’s how to build a Website Audience on LinkedIn:

– Give your audience here a name. You’ll need to remember this name later in your campaigns, so be specific, or make note of what it is in case you forget.

– Add key pages from your website under Match A URL. This means you can add multiple links to one audience.

– Take stock of the page rules (this is important).

  • Equals – this is the exact URL you list and is great to use when you want to restrict subpages. A useful option when you want to restrict subpages
  • Starts with – includes all pages starting with whatever you enter.
  • Contains – contains asks you to type in a word or string. This option would make it easy to group URLs in a pattern, like related products, service offerings, or article topics whose URL string includes the same keyword or phrase.
  • AND/OR: Use AND to retarget users who both visit a page URL and visit another URL containing a word you specify. Use OR to group URLs and retarget people who visit any page listed.

Video Audience Set Up

Video ads are becoming increasingly popular in the digital marketing world, and LinkedIn’s platform is no exception. LinkedIn ad video retargeting allows you to target previous users who have viewed a video ad.

LinkedIn retargeting video audience

Here’s how to build this type of audience:

– Name the audience (same advice applies to making sure you recall this name).

– Choose the Viewing Percentage (25%, 50%, 75%, or 97% of the video).

– Select Lookback Period (30, 60, 90, 180, 365 days in the past).

– Click the checkbox next to the video campaigns you want to include.

– Click Create.

Lead Gen Form Audience Set Up

If you’ve previously used LinkedIn to generate leads with a lead-gen form, this approach will help you when retargeting that particular audience.

– Name your audience (same rules apply as above!)

– Select the engagement level you require. This can be users who opened your lead-gen form (including submissions), or only users who opted to submit your lead-gen form.

– You can specify how long ago the audience members engaged with this form (between 30 days to a year).

– Check the box next to the campaign/s you wish to retarget.

Company Page Audience Set Up

This variation is designed for audiences who have engaged with your company’s LinkedIn page as a whole (regardless of whether they engaged with the previous ad campaign or not).

LinkedIn retargeting company page audience

The process is this:

– Name the audience (you get the picture!)

– Choose the engagement type you require. Engagement on a company’s LinkedIn Page includes a page view or a click on your page’s header Call To Action (CTA).

– Select how recently your page’s audience members engaged.

– Click Create.

Event Audience Set Up

This variation is only applicable to companies who schedule/create events on LinkedIn that require users to RSVP, and will allow you to retarget LinkedIn users who are likely to RSVP to an event.

LinkedIn retargeting event audience

Here’s how to do it:

– Name the audience.

– Check the boxes next to Event names to include the event/s you want to create.

– Click Create.

Single Image audience Set Up

Single image ad retargeting allows you to create an audience based on members who’ve engaged with your single image ad on LinkedIn. You can choose to create the audience based on any interactions people had with your ad or when people perform chargeable clicks on your ad.

single image audience retargeting

– Name the audience.

– Select how your audience members engaged with your ads

– Click Create

2.3 – Use Matched Audiences in a LinkedIn Retargeting Campaign

For this method, you’ll need to set up a LinkedIn ads account. Once you’ve done this, you’ll have the freedom to create an ad campaign with any ad format (LinkedIn sponsored ads or InMail message retargeting). Once your LinkedIn ads account is set up, here are the next steps:

Step 1: Create a Linkedin campaign

Head to Campaign Manager and go through the usual set-up procedure.

– Create a New Campaign.

create new campaign linkedin ads

– Select a campaign group.

– Choose your objective.

LinkedIn ad campaign objective

Step 2: Use Matched Audience in Campaign

– Scroll to Who is Your Target Audience.

LinkedIn  targeting options

– Click Audiences > Retargeting.

– Select from the options of Matched Audiences: Company page, Events, Lead gen form, Video, Website.

– Choose the Matched Audience under that type. For example, Lead-Gen Form audiences.

– Finish out the campaign set up. Particularly, with ad format, placement, budget and schedule, bidding, and conversion tracking information.

– Move on to create your ads and launch the campaign.

Step 3: Create ads following LinkedIn retargeting best practices

While creating a LinkedIn retargeting campaign is not dissimilar to creating a generic ad campaign on the platform (with the focus being on retargeting previous audiences, of course), there are some good practices to follow to enhance your chances of success.

– Design your content to be specifically tailored to each audience. The bundled campaigns and URLs that come with Matched Audience are there to give you more resources to personalise your ads to better your chances of success. Match the audience’s previous action to what you know will appeal to them in this ad campaign.

– Use more than one ad format. Different ad formats are designed for different campaign objectives, so it is important to match your ad format with your campaign’s end goal.

– Always measure to improve (if need be). LinkedIn’s KPIs are there to help you improve and tweak your campaigns to maximise their success. Sometimes your ad campaign won’t hit the mark first time around – and your KPIs will highlight the areas in which improvement is needed. The only thing you won’t be able to do is alter the campaign’s objective.

Pro tip: With LinkedIn retargeting campaigns, try to avoid layering the other targeting options on top of your Matched Audience targeting.


So, there you have it! You’re now fully knowledgeable and ready to go with creating a killer Retargeting Ad Campaign on LinkedIn. Congratulations!

The key to successful marketing on LinkedIn is to understand your audiences and understand the objective behind your retargeting ad campaign – which is lead generation aimed at LinkedIn users who have previously engaged with your company’s LinkedIn page or your website. Those users are your key focus here. Retargeting does not work for users at the beginning of their buying journey with your brand, so be sure that your audiences are selected based on their previous engagement as outlined by LinkedIn’s KPIs.

It is likely that you’ll have more than one audience type, and your ad formats need to mirror the needs and desires of each specific audience. This is an important stage that will enhance your conversion success. Where available, try and personalise your content as much as possible. This is especially relevant if your campaign is an Inmail one, which lands directly into your audience’s LinkedIn message box while they’re active on the site.

Taking the time to understand how LinkedIn’s algorithm works in terms of marketing and sales will help you utilise this useful platform to ensure your brand gets the best out of this resource. LinkedIn is an ideal channel for B2B marketing; be that for lead generation, brand awareness, and everything in between. The trick is to stick to what works and always take stock of your measuring tools.

We hope you have found this article to be useful and insightful for your future LinkedIn marketing endeavours. Best of luck with your retargeting ad campaign!

If you’d like to learn more about how we help B2B SaaS and Tech companies grow their MRR through LinkedIn advertising, contact us online or send us an email today at to speak with someone on our team.

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