LinkedIn Connected App

Today most marketers are converting less than 1% of all possible leads, because 90% of a buyer’s path to purchase is completed before a salesperson comes into the picture, says Forester Research. “As a marketer and business leader with years of experience in this space, I know that effectively reaching, nurturing and converting prospects has only become harder. That’s why I’m thrilled to introduce LinkedIn’s expanded Marketing Solutions portfolio, featuring the new LinkedIn Lead Accelerator,” shared Russell Glass on LinkedIn’s blog.

LinkedIn Lead Accelerator & Network Display

According to the company LinkedIn Lead Accelerator is a new lead generation and nurturing product that connects companies to the right professionals with the right content as they make their way through the purchase decision process.

In addition to this LinkedIn has also introduced LinkedIn Network Display by expanding its reach beyond the LinkedIn platform. The professional social network which has 347 million registered users has partnered with AppNexus to deliver ads based on LinkedIn data not only on LinkedIn’s site and apps, but a network of 2,500 other business-focused websites.

By combining consumer behavior with LinkedIn’s data on its users — such as their location and the industry in which they work — the Accelerator determines “what messages are going to be most relevant”. The automated system then targets those users with various forms of advertising both on LinkedIn and other sites across the internet.

Advertisers won’t know you visited their website but they would know what percentage of CMO’s from India have. Users can opt out of this form of targeting via their LinkedIn settings.

This launch also completes the integration and enhancement of Bizo’s Multi-Channel Nurturing product, which LinkedIn had acquired in August 2014 for around $175 million — 90 percent cash and 10 percent stock. Spun out from business directory Zoominfo back in 2008, Bizo was one of the world’s largest business-to-business marketing companies and controlled an advertising network that extended to more than 2,500 publishers.

As of today, LinkedIn Lead Accelerator will be available in most markets globally. Advertisers are required to sign up to use the new advertising products on a quarterly, or annual subscription basis. LinkedIn requires that advertisers must have a minimum of 20,000 visitors (or “leads”) to their website in order to sign up, but there is no minimum ad spend.

Marketers do, however, get access to an analytics interface so they can see how their campaigns are performing and the types of professionals that are visiting the website, and the cost per acquisition of a customer. But LinkedIn’s own team optimizes and buys the campaign in the background – the advertiser can’t do this from their desk at this stage.

Among early testers eCornell, Lenovo, Localytics, Salesforce, Samsung and VMware are a few of the 100+ pilot customers leveraging LinkedIn Lead Accelerator. eCornell says it doubled its landing page conversion rates, Localytics’ lead conversion rate increased by 50 percent, and Lenovo’s cost per lead fell by 60 percent.

Addressing the full sales funnel

With the two new launches LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions now has five main pieces – LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, Sponsored Updates, LinkedIn Onsite Display, LinkedIn Network Display, and Sponsored InMail.

Linkedin Managment Solution Funnel

With the new range of products, LinkedIn is now able to address the full sales funnel, first attracting customers with On Site Display and Network Display ads, moving them down the funnel with Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail, and helping with the final stages of customer acquisition through the Lead Accelerator.

LinkedIn, which made $455m in revenue and accounted for 20 percent of group revenues in 2014, now hopes to capture a bigger share of $50Bn B2B market. The ad industry finds the move interesting specifically the alliance with one of the best DSPs, AppNexus but isn’t happy with the approach to the agency space. “LinkedIn’s approach to the agency space is all wrong. LinkedIn should be looking at self-serve. Agencies don’t want managed buys,” said Ciaran O’Kane, CEO and founder of the adtech trade news website ExchangeWire to Business Insider.

He further explains: “LinkedIn could own all the B2B advertising space out there if they wanted to, they have the best B2B data in the world. But they need to have a coherent ad tech strategy.”

LinkedIn’s first step into adtech might not be encouraging to agencies, but it is in line with its goal of making its B2B marketing division a $1 billion business by 2017.