LinkedIn has been doing testing on the new marketing program since last year, with companies that include Adobe, Nissan and Xerox. These sponsored updates are available to customers this week who have an account rep, and will be available to all LinkedIn users with a company page by the end of July.
The new marketing content is going to be visible on PCs and on smartphones and tablets. It is going to be marked ‘sponsored,’ and will appear on the homepage feed of the member, as well as organic posts from their own network.
Users will not need to follow a company for them to see the sponsored posts. However, members are going to have the ability to hide updates if they appear in a feed. Linkedin could later add other functions to the new marketing product as more is discovered about how users react to it.
The homepages of users are not going to look much different, but you might see some sponsored updates in your newsfeed. Most updates for most users will just have organic information that comes from their network.
Users also will have an option to follow the link of the sponsoring company too, and share the marketing post in their network.
Linkedin already has a number of marketing components, such as display ads, advertiser-led custom groups around certain products, and Ads API, which lets social marketing partners build customized tools to manage their ads in Linkedin.
Marketers on LinkedIn are using content more to inform, educate and inspire customers, says one industry expert. But, content is not always getting to enough people through regular business channels on Linkedin.
The aim of these sponsored updates is to allow businesses to better engage with certain communities on Linkedin with highly useful information including blogs, articles and videos. Marketers are going to be able to target any segment of Linkedin’s 225 million users.
Linkedin is not alone in changing up ad options. Facebook also recently changed some of its ad options, and Tumbler added in-stream ads this summer, too.