LinkedIn To Launch Sponsored Posts

LinkedIn’s evolution into content-rich professional networking platform is expected to continue with the introduction of sponsored posts, a new feature that gives individuals and companies a chance to be more prominently featured in LinkedIn’s feed—and gives LinkedIn another potential revenue stream.

The sponsored updates, similar to Facebook’s sponsored stories, give brands and businesses the chance to purchase native ads that appear in LinkedIn user feeds. LinkedIn certainly isn’t alone in wanting to explore (and cultivate) prospective revenue sources, but the new tool is about more than LinkedIn’s bottom line. As the sponsored updates catch on with LinkedIn users, the site hopes “that a content-rich news feed, fed by its stable of ‘influencer’ columnists, will increase user engagement and create demand among marketers to have their messages there—targeted, of course, as the data inherent in LinkedIn profiles,” writes Cotton Delo for AdAge.

We do a lot of work on LinkedIn on behalf of our clients, whether it’s optimizing profiles, building and managing company pages and exploring advertising options. And as a result, we’ve long viewed LinkedIn as a powerful platform for brands and businesses, with the company page serving as a hub of LinkedIn operations. Posting engaging content (original branded content and otherwise) on LinkedIn daily is important, just like on other social networks. And now, with the opportunity for sponsored content, you can promote events, webinars, content, etc. with the hopes of reaching a broader audience and expanding your digital reach.

And that reach? It’s got a lot of potential. Consider some of the most recent stats from LinkedIn that show the site now has 3 million company pages—and counting. Combine that with a user base of 225 million professionals, and you’ve got a considerable pool of businesses and individuals to target.

Not only are we interested in testing out this feature for our clients, we’re also curious about how widely it will catch on. As LinkedIn continues to make changes designed to fuel its transformation into a more versatile content marketing resource, it’s still largely seen as simply a professional networking site—and we’re not sure that a majority of businesses (and even individuals) are taking full advantage of LinkedIn’s potential, whether for personal profiles, company pages or a combination of the two.

What’s your take on LinkedIn’s sponsored posts? Will you give them a try? Or are you still unsure about LinkedIn’s place in your overall content marketing strategy?

[UPDATE]: In conversation with the LinkedIn team, we received confirmation that sponsored posts are still in the testing phase and have not yet officially launched. As of this last discussion, an ETA for launch had not yet been determined, but we’ll continue to keep you updated on this particular feature.

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  • Raymond Smith

    In other words, it’s turning into facebook

  • ShellyKramer

    Totally get that critique, Raymond, but I’m actually okay with it. Might have something to do with the many businesses with whom we work who are using LI for either business development or HR recruiting purposes. The ability to dial into a targeted audience with a sponsored post has great value. And at least it’s on a business social network, where you likely go for business purposes. I think LI has better (smarter) leadership in some instances than FB does, so hopefully they’ll use this well. One thing is for sure – we’ll soon find out.

    Thanks for coming by – always appreciate hearing your thoughts!!

  • Raymond Smith

    While I agree that a targeted audience has great value(for you and your clients), I simply consider it just another unwelcome ad being pushed on me. I love Linked-In, but if they get carried away with ads, I’m gone.

  • ShellyKramer

    I’m with you on that one!

  • Michael Kenney

    I’m more curious about the targeting aspect. Will the sponsored content be delivered through the new channels, so that any user that has subscribed to a “technology” channel will be targeted or are they targeting in the same way as their ad platform which looks at aspects of the individual user’s profile, such as “job title?”

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