LinkedIn selling more marketing content into users' feeds

Marketers will be able to target their posts to any segment of LinkedIn's 225 million members, the company said

A sponsored post on LinkedIn as it would appear on a user's smartphone.
A sponsored post on LinkedIn as it would appear on a user's smartphone.

LinkedIn is giving companies the ability to place their marketing content into users' feeds, in a move that expands the site's revenue opportunities.

LinkedIn, which is traditionally known as a social networking site for professionals, has been testing the program over the past six months with companies like Nissan, Xerox and Adobe. The so-called sponsored updates will be available starting Tuesday to customers who have an account representative and will become available to any business with a company page by the end of the month, said David Hahn, vice president of product management at LinkedIn, in a Tuesday blog post.

The marketing content will be visible on desktop PCs as well as on smartphones and tablet devices, and will clearly be marked "sponsored," appearing in the member's homepage feed along with organic posts from their network and the companies that they already follow, Hahn said.

Telstra jumps in as first Australian company on LinkedIn feeds
Australian businesses not on same social plan as consumers: Report
More Australians are using mobiles to connect to social networks

Users do not have to follow a company to see sponsored posts from it. But members will have the ability to hide specific sponsored updates as they appear in their feed, and LinkedIn may add other functions to the product as more is learned about user behavior, a company spokeswoman said.

While users' homepages will not appear dramatically different, "you may occasionally see sponsored updates in your feed," said Gyanda Sachdeva, who handles product management for the site, in a separate post. Most of users' updates will continue to be organic information coming from their existing network, LinkedIn said.

Users will have the option to follow the sponsoring company as well as like, comment on, and share the posts within their network, LinkedIn said.

Through its marketing solutions division, LinkedIn already provides a range of products including display ads, advertiser-led custom groups around certain topics or products of interest, and its Ads API (application programming interface), which lets social-marketing agency partners build custom tools to manage their advertising.

That division generated sales of roughly US$258 million in 2012, up 66 percent from the previous year, representing 27 percent of total company sales. Sponsored posts will become the core product that will fuel LinkedIn's content marketing strategy, a spokeswoman said.

Marketers on the site "are increasingly leveraging content to inform, educate and inspire their current and prospective customers," Hahn said, but the content does not always reach enough people through businesses' own channels.

The aim of the sponsored updates program is to let businesses engage select communities of LinkedIn members with useful information that can come in the form of an article, blog post, video or presentation, LinkedIn said. Marketers will be able to target any segment of the site's 225 million members based on professional profile data.

One sponsored update from Nissan, for instance, displayed a wide-angle photograph of the company's GT-R sports car on an airfield with fighter jets in the background, with text above it describing the car's inspiration from the U.S. Navy.

There are currently more than 3 million company pages on LinkedIn. Sponsored-update customers who are already signed on include Allstate Insurance, Charles Schwab & Co., General Electric, Mercedes-Benz, The Weinstein Company and Xerox.

Taking promotional content from advertisers and placing it into users' feeds in the form of "sponsored posts" is a common strategy now also employed by Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Facebook even lets individual users pay to promote their own posts through its promoted posts program.

Zach Miners covers social networking, search and general technology news for IDG News Service. Follow Zach on Twitter at @zachminers. Zach's e-mail address is zach_miners@idg.com

Join the CMO newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.
Show Comments

Supporting Association

Blog Posts

Top tips to uncovering consumer insights for business innovation

An in-depth understanding of consumers sits at the heart of what we all need to do, but we know it’s not always easy to uncover insights that will unlock a true innovation opportunity.

Matt Whale

Managing director, How To Impact

Is your customer experience program suffering bright shiny object syndrome?

You may have heard of ‘bright shiny object syndrome’. The term is used to describe new initiatives undertaken by organisations that either lack a strategic approach, or suffer from a failure to effectively implement.

Leveraging technology to stand out in the sea of sameness

The technology I'm talking about here is data and marketing automation. Current digital marketing methodology, much as it is practiced at Bluewolf, dictates the need for a strategy that does four things: Finds the right audience, uses the right channel, delivers the right content, and does all of that at the right time.

Eric Berridge

CEO and co-founder of Bluewolf, an IBM Company

Lead Management is very important part of the process. For anyone running Facebook Lead Ads I would recommend using this service.Get your...

Dirk Lo

How this fintech startup is improving content marketing and lead generation

Read more

I am agreeing with Mr. Tyron Hayes that a measured test-and-learn approach could be missing opportunities to not only better engage custo...

rush essay reviews

CMO interview: How Curtin University’s marketing chief is using test and learn to cope with complexity

Read more

Excellent!

Dr Sadasivan,US

Shakespeare shows data and creativity aren’t Montagues and Capulets

Read more

Great article! Agreed with all... Matthew Lerner, Deeps De Silva... When a company has a great product that solves customers needs, a gre...

James Tyler

Why marketers are embracing growth hacking techniques

Read more

Very good article, Social media analytics helps in problem identification. They can serve as an early warning system for negative custome...

BizVinu

Four ways to use social media to boost customer loyalty

Read more

Latest Podcast

More podcasts

Sign in