Best Practices for Account-Based Marketing on LinkedIn

One of the biggest advantages of advertising on LinkedIn is utilizing the Account-Based Marketing (ABM) list. Advertisers can upload a list of companies or contacts to directly market to, allowing them the unique opportunity to target stakeholders.

Successful ABM requires sales and marketing teams to work closely together. Both teams need to know what companies and roles they’re going after in order to deliver the ideal campaign.

To maximize the use of your budget on the platform, follow these best practices for ABM on LinkedIn.


Create Your Ideal Customer Profile

First and foremost, it’s important to identify the Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). This guiding persona will determine what job titles, job functions, company size, and industries to target in a campaign.

One way to start building this is to look at your current customers. Take note of those who have been using your product the longest, and those that are profitable to your company, easy to work with, and overall happy with your product and the value it provides. In other words, look at your best customers.

Some other factors to consider are:

  1. Company industry/vertical
  2. Company size (Will they scale?)
  3. Integration requirements
  4. Company geography
  5. Budget
  6. Size of customer base
  7. Revenue

Determine Your Company List

Once you narrow down your ICP, run the initial list of targeted accounts against it to ensure they’re meeting the requirements of being a great, lifelong customer. 

In order to maximize your budget on the platform, it’s important to only market your product to the companies that are the best fit. For example, your product might be best suited for companies with more than 500 people, or for those who desire to scale. Or your product might not be a fit for certain industries.

If a company doesn’t meet the ICP now, it doesn’t mean they’ll never fit. Segment the list by those who will have the strongest chance of turning into a customer now and those who will be better to target later. 

Add those who won’t benefit from your product to an exclusion list.


Get to Know Your Audience

On average, most products need to be approved by 6-10 decision makers before any deals are signed. That’s a lot of hoops to jump through, which is why you need to know exactly who to go after in the accounts being targeted.

Some examples of stakeholders might include the CEO, CFO, CTO or other C-Suite executives. The best way to identify ideal job titles to target is to look at who was involved in the buying process previously. 

You can also ask your sales team what roles they previously talked to or provided demos for. Take note of the first and last person that they came in contact with as that can help you determine what roles to target throughout the funnel.

Other roles to consider:

  1. Who are the gatekeepers? Gatekeepers are those in close contact with the decision makers, and could therefore bring the product to their attention. These job titles might have a lower CPC than the competitive C-Suite executives, so it might make sense to target them with ads.

  2. Who are the influencers? These might be the expert roles decision makers rely on for research and knowledge about tasks that could be solved by your product.

Understand the pain point of each role and how your product can solve it. This will help with ad messaging.


How to Upload an ABM List

Once you’re ready to launch a campaign, you’ll need to upload your ABM list to LinkedIn. In order to use them, LinkedIn must be able to match a minimum of 100 companies or 300 contacts in order to use it in campaigns. There is a maximum of 300,000 contacts and 300,000 companies.

The larger your lists, the better chance LinkedIn has of matching.

Let’s review how to upload a list.

In Campaign Manager, navigate to Account AssetsMatched Audiences. Then go to Create AudienceUpload a ListCompany/Contact.

Screenshot of the 'Company / Contact' selection of the "Create Audience" dropdown of LinkedIn's Campaign Manager.

Name your audience list, then download the template for the desired list.

  • For company ABM, you need at least one of the following:
    • Company name
    • Company website
    • Company email domain
    • LinkedIn page url
    • Stock symbol
    • Optional to increase match accuracy: industry, city, state, company country, or zipcode

  • For contact ABM, you need at least one of the following:
    • Email address (LinkedIn will match to the email address used to create the account, so use personal email addresses where possible)
    • First and last name
    • Mobile device id
    • Google user id
    • Optional to increase match accuracy: company, job title, or country

Once you fill the sheet out, delete any column titles you didn’t use. Upload it to LinkedIn. 

It can take up to 48 hours (in some cases, longer) for LinkedIn to match.


Create Campaigns

LinkedIn offers several types of ads to best reach your ABM list.


Sponsored Content

These are native ads that appear in the news feed. Did you know that there are 280 billion feed updates viewed annually? Ads on the feed will get a large amount of impressions, so these are great to use for accounts at the top of your funnel.

Screenshot of a Sponsored Content feature in the LinkedIn dashboard.


Sponsored Messaging

Message Ads and Conversation Ads are the best way to get directly in front of your targeted user. The main difference is the number of CTAs allowed in the ad.

If you want the user to take a single specific action, use Message Ads. To let them steer the conversation and choose their path down the funnel, serve them a Conversation Ad.

Screenshot of a Sponsored Message Ad in the message inbox on LinkedIn.

As these tend to be more expensive, it’s best to reserve these for those in the middle to the bottom of your funnel.

Read our blog to learn which is the best LinkedIn ad for your campaign goal.

Users on LinkedIn come to the platform for networking, industry updates, expert advice, career education, and so much more. With 50 million companies and 690+ million active members (⅘ of these users drive business decisions!), B2B paid advertising on LinkedIn is a must.



To get started with successful Account-Based Marketing campaigns on LinkedIn, reach out to us for help!

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