LinkedIn Adds Conversion Tracking To Display Ads

What Happened
LinkedIn has added conversion tracking to its Sponsored Content and Text Ads. With this new feature, LinkedIn advertisers can now measure how many leads, sign-ups, and purchases are generated from specific ad units and campaigns. Marketers simply need to add a piece of code called LinkedIn Insight Tag to their websites to enable this tracking feature.

What Brands Need To Do
If your brand advertises or is considering buying ads on LinkedIn to reach its network of professionals, this addition should come as welcome news as it improves the attribution measurement of LinkedIn ads, granting marketers the ability to judge their campaign performance and adjust campaign budgets accordingly.


Source: AdWeek

LinkedIn Posts Ad Revenue Growth Thanks To Sponsored Content Pivot

What Happened
In its Q1 financial report released last Thursday, LinkedIn reported that its ad revenue hit $154.1 million in the first quarter of 2016, growth of 29% year over year. This solid performance is mostly attributable to the company’s recent pivot from banner ads to sponsored content, which grew by nearly 80% year over year, whereas its display ad revenue dropped by 30%. The professional social network also reported that sponsored content ads, which allow companies to place posts in news feeds or pin on their own pages, now account for 56% of its overall ad revenue. As part of its ad strategy pivot, LinkedIn shut down its off-site display ad network in February to focus on sponsored content instead.

What Brands Need To Do
LinkedIn’s solid ad revenue growth shows that its ad strategy pivot is paying off. At a time when ad blockers and subscription-based streaming services are enabling millions of consumers to avoid ads, it is important for brands to try out new ways, such as sponsored content and native ads, to engage with their audience. Unlike other social media sites, LinkedIn benefits from its singular focus on professional networking, which can help brands, especially B2B ones, reach the right people in the companies and industries of their choice.  

For more information on how brands should leverage interesting branded content to earn consumer eyeballs, check out the Ad Avoidance section of our Outlook 2016.


Source: Marketing Land

LinkedIn Ups Its Targeting Capability With New Ad Product

What Happened
Earlier this week, LinkedIn launched LinkedIn Account Targeting, which allows advertisers to target the employees at up to 30,000 companies at once, dramatically increasing its ad targeting capability. Advertisers using this new ad product will be able to present a list of companies they’d like to reach, which LinkedIn will cross-reference against the 8 million businesses in its network. Targeting can be further refined based on job function or seniority to make sure the ads will hit the right people. The professional network says it has also improved its targeting for Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail accordingly.

What Brands Need To Do
This news came just four weeks after LinkedIn shut down its ad network and ceased selling ads that appear outside of its own site. But this new ad product shows LinkedIn’s continued efforts in improving its ads and leveraging its vast amount of enterprise data to help brands reach the right people in the industries of their choice. For brands, especially B2B ones, this new ad product should be worth a try.


Source: AdAge

LinkedIn Rolls Out Content Platform To Elevate Brands

What Happened
LinkedIn has started rolling out its content curation platform Elevate, designed to give company employees a professional platform to share content relevant to their interests and advocate for their employers. Along with the wide roll-out, the professional social network has also improved their audience analytics tools, allowing users to track their reader demographics in order to better understand who’s engaging with their content. LinkedIn first announced Elevate in April, and its early partners included Visa, Unilever and CEB Global.

What Brands Need To Do
Compared to the myriad of other content platforms available, Elevate benefits from a very specific focus that makes it stand out for brands, as it helps enterprises turn their employees into brand ambassadors. Content curated and shared by real employees could also add authenticity and credibility to the companies in terms of expertise and thought leadership. Therefore, companies, especially those in B2B industries, should consider encouraging their employees to try out this content platform and actively advocate for their brands.


Source: AdAge

LinkedIn Buys Marketing Firm Bizo For Better Ads

Following its acquisition of Newsle to get better at personalized news, with the potential of turning news feeds into a platform for native advertising within targeted professional circles. LinkedIn has continued to dive into the world of sponsored ads by inking an $175 million deal to buy Bizo, a business-focused marketing firm. Given that one of the fastest-growing ad products on LinkedIn, or social media in general, is sponsored updates, this acquisition can be seen as a follow-up in the company’s ongoing efforts in mobilizing its platform for branded content.

LinkedIn Acquires Newsle To Deliver Personalized News

LinkedIn has acquired news alert start-up Newsle in an effort to bring a Google-alert-like real-time news notification to millions of professionals networking on the social site. The major product of Newsle “scans the web to find blogs and articles that mention specific people and then return results that are relevant to those connections”. So expect to see all your former co-workers’ recent achievements blowing up your LinkedIn news feed. As LinkedIn expands it positioning from a mere professional social network to a sophisticated, multi-faceted digital career fair, it is a smart move for them to continue buffing up their news platform. Not only would it help retain users by establishing LinkedIn as a go-to site for daily consumption of professional news, it could also potentially function as a platform for some native advertising within targeted professional circles.

LinkedIn Hits 300 Million Users

LinkedIn has been heavily broadcasting its mobile traffic numbers this week, but the company is also growing in other ways: since the start of the year the company has grown by 33 million users – from 277 million members at the start of the year to 300 million registered users today. That comes out to a staggering 6.6 million new members per month over the past 15 months. According to LinkedIn’s metrics, LinkedIn and Slideshare (which was bought by LinkedIn in 2012) combined for an average of 187 unique monthly users in Q4. LinkedIn only expects these numbers to grow as its mobile app for Slideshare will launch in the Android store soon. With an active and growing user base, LinkedIn is sure to start cashing in – it’s really just a matter of when. 

LinkedIn Partners With Education Firms

LinkedIn announced that it’s partnering with seven of the biggest online education firms to let users add online certifications and courses to their LinkedIn profiles. The program, called Direct-to-Profile Certifications, takes academic accomplishments out of traditional, post-graduate University settings and into the digital realm. The details of the course are published onto your profile through the education firm itself, so ideally faking these credentials isn’t easy. LinkedIn claims that this is the first step in allowing users to keep their profiles updated, so expect to see LinkedIn continuing to expand its third-party updating and certification capabilities. 

Why Paywalls Won’t Work

Adam Lashinsky, editor of Fortune, posted a blog on LinkedIn that referenced a Fortune article that was blocked by a paywall, prompting users to shout “self-promotion” and “bait and switch.” This has prompted a rebuttal on the value of journalism from Lashinsky which has only fueled the fire.  Unfortunately for the senior editor, content is unlikely to work behind a paywall, particularly when referred via social.  People who are driven to Fortune from LinkedIn or Facebook or some other social site, likely do not place a premium on Fortune. It’s like comparing an Opera singer’s reception at a grocery store vs Lincoln Center. It is lacking context. And we’ve seen time and time again the failings of social commerce as consumers are simply not in a mindset to buy.

The fragmentation of media has devalued sources and media authorities, democratizing the playing field. As more and more consumers access media through aggregators like Reddit or Flipboard, the original source becomes diluted. While I do feel that authors have not lost their place quite yet, publishers are beginning to and it’s a tough pill to swallow for media owners whose inventory increasingly moves to ad exchanges.

LinkedIn Announces Student Service

The business-oriented social network today announced a new effort to recruit younger students with its new program, LinkedIn for Students. Starting on September 12, the company will let anyone older than 13 sign up. It’s also allowing universities and colleges to establish “University Pages” that feature career oriented, college-based information that includes specializations, status updates, notable alumni, and other data. Of yet, 200 universities have signed up, and hope to influence future students, and help them build a digital profile from the ground up.