All posts by Brian Connelly

New Opportunities for Education Marketers with LinkedIn Matched Audiences

LinkedIn matched audiences for education

In a move that levels the retargeting playing field, LinkedIn has enabled website visitor, account and contact retargeting. This gives the 500-million-member professional network audience matching capabilities to rival their peer set of Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest.


So what’s in it for EDU?

Saied Amiry, LinkedIn’s head of vertical marketing, shared his perspective on the update and its impact for education marketers with us:

“For a prospective student, selecting the right university is a big deal. It’s a complex decision, and aside from purchasing a home, is likely the largest financial investment that an individual will ever make in their lifetime. Website Retargeting, Account Targeting and Contact Targeting will allow universities, and their partners, to address the relevant concern of the student at the right time.”

Here are three huge opportunities for EDU marketers to consider with the update:

  1. Capitalize on website traffic.
    Enhance user experience (UX) with customized communication touchpoints based on the pages that prospective students have visited on your site. Use the right content to effectively nurture highly-engaged prospects based on what’s most important to them. This will help reduce waste of messaging and increase lead, application and enrollment yield.
  2. Speak to your prospects on the professional network, in a professional context.
    Build a customized audience by securely uploading your student lead email lists or connecting with your contact management platform. Big advantage here: LinkedIn owns the professional networking space and will have access to both personal and work email addresses. This gives EDU marketers and recruiters better success with business address match rate.
  3. Target feeder companies and schools.
    Run account-based marketing (ABM) campaigns, powered by LinkedIn data. Securely upload a list of target companies and/or schools to match against over eight million Company Pages on LinkedIn. For EDU, this will be effective to reach industries that align with your programs, alumni and stakeholders.


Expected Results

Over the past six months, LinkedIn conducted a successful pilot program for Matched Audiences with over 370 participating advertisers and 2,000+ active campaigns. The extensive pilot program delivered high-ROI and lowered costs. On average, customers using Matched Audiences saw:

  • 30% increase in click-through rate (CTR) and a 14% drop in post-click cost-per-conversion with Website Retargeting
  • 32% increase in post-click conversion rates and 4.7% drop in post-click cost-per-conversion with Account Targeting
  • 37% increase in click-through rate (CTR) with Contact Targeting


Getting Started

Go into the campaign in your Campaign Manager that you’d like to apply the email targeting list to. Click on the “Audiences” tab to see this screen following at the top of the list of targeting facets.

LinkedIn matched audiences for education

Click on “Create an audience” under “Target a list of accounts,” and you’ll be greeted by the following dialogue box where you can name your email list. Select the option, “Match based on a list of email addresses,” then upload your CSV.
LinkedIn matched audiences for education

Also, should you want to apply a negative (exclusion) list, simply select “Include” and change it to “Exclude” on the list targeting option, which will ensure that no email address in that list will be allowed into your targeting.

LinkedIn matched audiences for education

CSV requirements

For the sheet to work, it needs to meet the following requirements:

  • Format must be .csv.
  • First column must be labeled as “email” with one email address per row underneath.
  • Once you hit “Next,” you’ll be greeted by the Account Lists screen. Navigate back to your campaign targeting, and find the “Target a list of accounts” option like in the screen shot below. Your list is now created, so click the “See full list” option to find a list of the audiences you’ve created. Select the one you want to use, save the campaign, and the targeting will be applied.
  • Notice that it can take up to 48 hours to process your list, so don’t be worried if the list shows a size of <300.


Ready to test out Matched Audiences?

Check out this article from LinkedIn for more tactical insights on account targeting. We’re interested in hearing how this new functionality is working for you. Send me a note with questions or comment below to keep the conversation going.

What’s New with LinkedIn University Pages?


The long awaited merger of LinkedIn University pages and Company pages is finally here. According to a December 12 email from LinkedIn’s product management team, you can now preview the changes to your newly refreshed University Page. LinkedIn made the official announcement back in September and subsequently transitioned all existing University pages to read-only.

Over the next few weeks, LinkedIn will start rolling out the pages to LinkedIn members. Here are the need-to-know facts and insights for higher education marketers:

What’s new with LinkedIn University pages?

  • You can post sponsored content from your University Page.
    Up until now, you could only sponsor content from your company page. This is big news for schools struggling with a centralized presence on LinkedIn.
  • Expanded analytics dashboard with more actionable insights.
    Centralized content coupled with enhanced analytics will help you better measure the impact of your marketing and improve ROI. Note: this change is “coming soon” according to LinkedIn.
  • A refreshed look and easier to manage content.
    Dedicated administrative experience, which includes in-line editing and more robust content/data options (i.e., General School Information, Students & faculty, and Financial Aid statistics) on the page.
  • LinkedIn will automatically merge your Company page into your University page.
    You’ll have one piece of real estate to share between alumni, faculty, marketing and job recruitment. The good news is they will also merge all followers and content. So basically, your new merged page is a Company page with the look, feel and functionality of a University page.
  • Only admins will be able to post updates to the new University page.
    This used to be open to members including students, alumni and staff.
  • Updated tools for alumni engagement and outreach.
    A version of the Alumni Tool (allowing you to Find Alumni by fields, locations, companies, etc.) will stay, the notable Alumni section has been removed.
  • You will no longer be able to edit your old University Page.

Get your team prepared for the change.

The key to success will be communication and organization between the various stakeholders at your institution. This is a good time to reposition your program/school/department to get the exposure you want and have a seamless transition. If you don’t know already, you’ll want to find out who the primary admin is for your current University page. You can also reach out to your LinkedIn Account Executive or find more on information in the Help Center.

Converge Consulting is always available to help you strategize. Contact me with questions on the transition and best practices regarding LinkedIn and all of your digital marketing needs.

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Goodbye Minimums, Hello Self-Service for LinkedIn Sponsored InMail


Sponsored InMail is joining the growing suite of self-serve LinkedIn products available through LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager. Up until now you needed to commit to $25,000 in overall LinkedIn marketing spend on an IO, and $5,000 per InMail sent. There are now no overall spend commitments with LinkedIn and no minimum spend per InMail sent.

As Higher Education Marketers you now have the advantage.

Target only the audiences you want.

In the past you were forced to send/spend a minimum of 5,000/$5,000 per InMail. That meant even if your desired audience targeting generated a delivery of $2,000, you had to expand targeting to use the product and meet a $5,000 threshold. You can now be as selective as needed and reduce waste.

Test more, only pay for what works.

Without minimums you can cost effectively segment audience, messaging and timing of delivery at lower cost points. This allows you to test and reinvest in what is working, and then trim out what is not.

Regain control and visibility of your campaigns.

Realtime reporting through the campaign manager means not waiting for results. In the past campaigns were reported by a LinkedIn representative at 7 and 30 days. Seeing results realtime will allow you to make faster decisions on campaign performance.

Losing minimums is great, but it’s also important to consider audience sizes and the time it takes to see meaningful results. Converge is currently advising our clients on best practices for successful InMail campaigns. Let us know how we can help?

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