IDG is getting in early with LinkedIn’s content development efforts by expanding its partnership with the b-to-b social media platform. IDG Enterprise’s Custom Solutions group and IDG’s media brands, including Computerworld, InfoWorld, CIO and CSO, are developing LinkedIn groups to provide targeted marketing opportunities for b-to-b brand marketers.
IDG set up a CIO Forum on LinkedIn several years ago, which now includes more than 50,000 IT members. This new partnership expands that concept into a more custom marketing services type of arrangement.
The company will be offering two different sponsored group options that will use IDG media brand content as well as group management services.
Under a "Hosted Technology Group" program, IDG will set up a LinkedIn group based on any number of IT market verticals, such as virtualization, mobile, cloud computing, and so on. Marketers can sign on for a one-year exclusive sponsorship of the group.
Services include a dedicated IDG group manager, daily content, curated and managed discussion topics, ad placements and client-originated content marketing opportunities.
A "Custom Technology Group" program is similar to the Hosted Technology offering but lasts for six months and lets the sponsor take the lead on content and topic. This program will likely be used for a client’s specific marketing campaign rather than being tethered to a broader tech vertical community.
For its part, LinkedIn will be responsible for promotion, content distribution and member recruitment.
Charles Lee, senior vice president, marketing services and custom solutions at IDG, declined to offer specific terms of the partnership, but both parties share in sponsor revenue. "IDG and LinkedIn both recognize revenue that aligns to their respective services included in the program," he says. "We do not disclose pricing, but both social marketing packages are in line and competitive with each of IDG’s and LinkedIn’s individual services."
Both programs guarantee a certain engagement volume as well as group members. "Programs include guaranteed discussion posts, content volume, commenting activity, and group joins," says Lee. "Sponsors get exclusive sponsor attribution, branding, and exclusive ability to control all elements of the right rail including display ads, videos, slideshare presentations and resource library."
LinkedIn’s built-in ability to target specific executive and industry segments should be watched closely by b-to-b media companies. IDG is jumping in just as LinkedIn is adding to its content services. It expanded its channel categories in May, allowing members to better tailor their homepage content streams.
And in April, LinkedIn bought content curation platform Pulse. “Our vision for content is that LinkedIn will be the definitive professional publishing platform, and Pulse is a perfect complement to this vision,” said Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior vice presdient of products and user experience, at the time.
In the meantime, LinkedIn is going to need content to feed to its membership segments, and IDG has stepped into that void, both as a way to feature its brands, foster discussion around them and leverage their content for marketing services opportunities.