LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
By Laura Murphy, Mindshare, July 2013
Background and Details
LinkedIn has announced the release of Sponsored Updates in its news feed, which allows brands to promote content from their LinkedIn Company Page to followers and the wider LinkedIn community. The ad format is similar to the offering available on Facebook and Twitter, but it signals an important development in LinkedIn’s content marketing strategy.
Sponsored Updates will:
- Allow you to post images, videos, documents, links or text that have been shared to the brand’s LinkedIn Company Page
- Be served in the first 5 updates that the users see in their news feeds, with an average frequency of one every 3 days
- Target followers or non-followers (the latter will add a ‘Follow’ link to the bottom of the SU)
- Segment the audience by industry, job function, seniority or geography. Age and gender targeting is not available.
- Cover all device types (i.e. desktop, mobile and tablet) – the only LinkedIn format to do this.
- Be bought on a CPC model - however advertisers do not pay for clicks on the social actions (e.g. follow, comment, like or share)
- Be available in all markets and languages used where LinkedIn is present.
- Be able to be managed by Mindshare through the self-serve platform from 22nd July (API not currently available)
LinkedIn has a distinct advantage over Facebook and Twitter – with more than half its members having a college education or higher and an average household income of $83k in the US (Nielsen, 2011) - LinkedIn offers advertisers the ability to broadly target a highly educated and affluent audience, which is often hard to segment and reach on the other social media platforms.
This will come as welcome (and long overdue) news for B2B brands wanting to target C-suites and business decision makers, which have struggled with tone of voice and broad targeting in other social media environments. The beta tests have also shown that there is also a place for B2C (particularly luxury) brands to reach their target audience, e.g. Louis Vuitton advising travelling executives how best to pack their suitcases; Mercedes Benz utilizing the sponsored updates to promote the launch of its new S-Class.
Sponsored Updates are just the latest step in a considered, long term strategy for LinkedIn to establish itself as a content platform for business professionals, which began with Company Pages and Groups and more recently, Influencer blogs.
As is always the case with content marketing, the challenge to advertisers is to create a value exchange with consumers using content that feels contextual to the platform and relevant to the audience. Emulating the Facebook and Twitter news feed updates should provide a robust advertising model that will open the door to B2B and B2C advertisers chasing the affluent individual.