Well, look who’s thrown their hat in the newsfeed content marketing ring…LinkedIn.
As Computerworld lays out here, LinkedIn is creating more opportunities for companies to market within users’ newsfeeds. It sounds, and looks, a lot like Facebook newsfeed marketing. See?
Starting Tuesday, July 23 LinkedIn will be offering companies the opportunity to place “sponsored” marketing content into users feeds. According to Computerworld, LinkedIn has been testing the program over the past six months with companies like Nissan, Xerox and Adobe.
To get the lowdown straight from LinkedIn, see this blog post from David Hahn, LinkedIn’s vice president of product management. He’s “Introducing LinkedIn Sponsored Updates”! Listen up, people! Fine…I’ll just pull the highlights for you…
“With more than 3 million Company Pages on LinkedIn, companies, organizations and institutions have emerged as highly valued sources of relevant content on LinkedIn. Sponsored Updates enable these entities to build relationships by delivering their content into the homepage feed of members beyond those who are following their company. In developing Sponsored Updates, we’ve taken a measured and methodical approach to create an experience that strikes the right balance for our members and companies.”
“With Sponsored Updates, marketers will be able to distribute this content directly to relevant professionals in a place their customers and prospects are already consuming professionally relevant content. Marketers can target Sponsored Updates to any segment of our premium audience based on professional profile data across more than 225 million members.”
“Sponsored Updates can be seen on desktop, smartphone and tablet devices and will clearly be marked “sponsored,” appearing in the member’s homepage feed along with the organic posts from their network and the companies they follow. Members will have the option to “Follow” the sponsoring company as well as “Like,” “Comment” and “Share” posts with their network.”
“As of today, Sponsored Updates will be available to customers with an account representative, and we will begin making it available to any company with a LinkedIn Company Page by the end of this month. Customers will be able to select either CPC or CPM pricing and can promote updates in 20 languages across the 200 countries and territories where we have members. Additionally, companies can track the effectiveness of their posts through comprehensive analytics that provide insights to help them fine-tune their strategy in real time.”
So, there you have it. The Facebook-i-zation of LinkedIn continues. And why not? Not only did Facebook pioneer the most successful social community engagement model the world (wide web) has ever known, it’s pioneering social media marketing and commerce.
And just as social marketing and advertising has become a pillar of Facebook’s revenue generation (hey, a company’s gotta make money…especially when it’s public), this move is, for LinkedIn, also a natural evolution of its own marketing solutions. As Computerworld noted,“That division generated sales of roughly US$258 million in 2012, up 66 percent from the previous year, representing 27 percent of total company sales. Sponsored posts will become the core product that will fuel LinkedIn’s content marketing strategy, a spokeswoman said.”
Depending on what kind of company you are and who you’re marketing to, it might be time to carve out some of that marketing budget for LinkedIn sponsored content.
For what kinds of companies does it make sense to place sponsored content on LinkedIn? So far it’s corporate behemoths like Adobe, Xerox and Nissan. And companies targeting affluent professionals like Mercedes-Benz. It’s companies hawking enterprise-level solutions and luxury goods. How will this evolve? Is LinkedIn a place where Macy’s will ever sell jeans or McDonald’s burgers?
Time, marketing budgets and the on-going, fast-moving evolution of newsfeed content marketing will tell.