LinkedIn ads have been around for years, but until now any sponsored content on the professional platform was restricted to the ad-heavy sidebar. Starting this week though, LinkedIn advertising opportunities are expanding beyond the righthand column. Brands will be able to purchase a new type of ad called the “Sponsored Update,” which will appear right alongside organic content in users’ news feeds.
The Sponsored Update format will mirror that of organic updates, but will be marked with the “Sponsored” label. Whereas your company’s LinkedIn posts were previously only visible to those who follow your company page, that reach can now be amplified to a much larger (and targeted) audience.
In a blog post announcing the new feature, LinkedIn described that ads as an opportunity for marketers to “distribute this content directly to relevant professionals in a place their customers and prospects are already consuming professionally relevant content.” LinkedIn seems like a logical setting for content-backed B2B ads — that white paper, deck or instructional video is probably more enticing in this environment than it would be in your Facebook newsfeed. But oddly enough, the first example cited by LinkedIn is this overview for the Mercedes 2014 E-Class — not exactly useful business-related content.
In a separate post geared toward the consumer side of the equation, LinkedIn promises users that “most of your updates will continue to be organic information from your network.” Users will also have the option to hide “irrelevant content” from their feed.
The ads will have rich targeting and analytics options. Viewers can interact with the ads in a number of ways, from following the company to liking, commenting, sharing, or clicking the ad itself.
Ads will be visible across devices, including desktop, smartphone and tablet. They will available in the CPM or CPC model, and will be supported in twenty languages across 200 countries. Sponsored Updates are currently available to companies with account reps, but will roll out to all users by the end of July.