Don’t Spam Your Prospects. Audience Match Them Instead!

The year is 1999. I have a list of emails and phone numbers of prospective clients that I want to sell to. How do I reach them? Since it’s 1999, the only way I can reach them is by emailing them or calling them on the phone. Does that work? Well to a certain degree, yes, but this cold calling approach is a numbers game and very time-consuming. Luckily, we aren’t in 1999 anymore.

Besides that fact that we no longer have to worry about Y2K anymore, we also have access to a much more efficient way to turn our cold leads into warm and even hot leads through a little something from the information superhighway known as audience matching.

Audience Matching: With audience matching, you can show my ad to any user whose contact details (email or phone number) you have access to. This is a great way to target potential customers who reached out to you in the past but have not closed the deal yet, to remarket to existing customers (to have them purchase again), or to show ads to prospective clients whose contact details you gathered (hopefully by non-nefarious means)

How does this work?

Step one:  Start with an audience list (as simple as an Excel or CSV file with a list of emails or phone numbers on it).

Step Two: Upload that list onto an ad platform (Google, Facebook / Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat or LinkedIn). The ad platform then matches that audience list you uploaded with the user’s profile. For example, if is on your list, and you upload that list onto your ad platform, if a user exists with that email, and they also have an account on that service (for example, LinkedIn), it will match their email with their profile, and they’ll see your ad.

Based on my experience, conservatively around 20% of emails you upload will be matched. So if you have a list of 1,000 emails you upload to LinkedIn, I would expect an average of 200 to be matched for targeting (the reason it can be so low is that people often have multiple emails, and not all of them are linked to all of their online accounts).

Step three: Create an ad and for that targeting method, choose the matched audience.

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Audience matching is a great way to target users whose contact details (email or phone numbers) you have if you:

  1. Don’t want to spam them with emails
  2. Don’t want them to know that you have their contact details. 

It is also widely used in the B2B (business to business) community for sales. How it usually works is that you target your prospective clients with an audience targeted ad, which warms them up to you, because many of them would see the ad, so when your sales team reaches out to them (even if it’s a cold call or email), they would have some prior knowledge of your company offering.

Let’s Do It

Now, I’ll show you step-by-step, how you would implement audience targeting, in the 4 main channels that have popularized this method.

Audience Matching on LinkedIn

  1. Go to your Linkedin Ads account (or create one if it’s your first time):
  2. From your ad account go to Account Assets -> Matched Audiences
  3. Choose Create Audience -> List Upload
    List Upload
  4. LinkedIn gives you two options to upload a list (along with templates you can download for each)
    Linkedin audience match

    1. Account List: You can include in this file just the company name and url of the company you want to target. It will create an audience list for all employees in that company. I only recommend this in very rare cases where you want to target an entire company.
    2. Contact List: This is the one that we want. This is the format that allows us to upload a list of emails or phone numbers.
  5. Once you uploaded and created your list, it usually takes a few hours to be matched. Once it’s ready, you can start running ads targeting that list!

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Audience Matching on Facebook / Instagram

  1. Go to your Facebook Ads Manager (or create one if it’s your first time):
  2. In Ads Manager, head to AudiencesAds Manager Audiences
  3. In Audiences, Click Create Audience -> Custom Audience
    Create Audience
  4. Choose Customer List Customer List
  5. Choose “Use a file that doesn’t include LTV” (which stands for Customer Lifetime Value data).
    Facebook Non LTV
  6. Upload your list (you can download the file template if you are unsure of the Excel format). You can include many fields in the upload, but the most important are email or phone number.Upload Facebook List

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Audience Matching on Twitter

  1. Go to your Twitter Ads Manager (or create one if it’s your first time):
  2. Click on Tools -> Audience Manager

    Twitter Audience Manager
  3. Choose Create new audience -> Upload your own list
  4. Upload your list and create your audience (with emails or phone numbers, same as previous example)

Audience Upload Twitter

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Audience Matching on Snapchat

  1. Go to your Snapchat Ads Manager (or create one if it’s your first time):
  2. Choose New Audience -> Snap Audience Match
  3. Upload your list (similar to previous examples)snapchat audience targeting

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