LinkedIn is the latest social network to take the sponsored-content plunge, announcing today that it will offer a program for marketers.
The initiative, called Sponsored Updates, allows companies to buy their posts a spot in a user’s homepage feed. Users previously had to be following a company on the network to see its content.
"Marketers are increasingly leveraging content to inform, educate, and inspire their current and prospective customers," says David Hahn, vice president of product management for LinkedIn, on the company blog. "But the high quality content they’ve produced-slideshows, articles, videos, and whitepapers-does not always achieve enough reach and engagement on their own channels. 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."
LinkedIn has been testing Sponsored Updates for the last six months and unveils its program with a full portfolio of sponsors, including Allstate Insurance, Charles Schwab and GE.
It’s offering the packages on a CPC or CPM basis, but only to customers with an account representative for now. Hahn says the service will be rolled out to any company with a LinkedIn company page by the end of the month.
Targeting across the network’s 225 million member-base and realtime analytics are also part of the program.
The move brings LinkedIn in line with Twitter and Facebook, who’ve each offered sponsored content in user newsfeeds for some time. Neither has perfected the service though. Each have made significant changes to its sponsored content strategy in recent weeks, with Twitter adding external tracking and Facebook culling a significant portion of its sponsored offerings.