Haishan Liu, David Pardoe, Kun Liu


Online social network advertising platforms, such as that provided by LinkedIn, generally allow marketers to specify targeting options so that their ads appear to a desired demographic. Audience Expansion is a technique developed at LinkedIn to simplify targeting and identify new audiences with similar attributes to the original target audience. We developed two methods to achieve Audience Expansion: campaign-agnostic expansion and campaign-aware expansion. In this paper, we describe the details of these methods, present in-depth analysis of their trade-offs, and demonstrate a hybrid strategy that possesses the combined strength of both methods. Through large scale online experiments, we show the effectiveness of the proposed approach, and as a result, the benefits it brings to the whole marketplace including both LinkedIn and advertisers. The achieved benefits can be characterized as: 1) simplified targeting process and increased reach for advertisers, and 2) better utilization of LinkedIn’s ads inventory and higher and more efficient market participation.