What Happened: As more evidence that content—and specifically high quality, informational or inspirational content—continues to reign supreme, LinkedIn launched Sponsored Updates. The program allows companies to get the videos, whitepapers, slideshows and articles they produce in front of people who aren’t signed up to follow their Company Pages. The content will be marked overtly as sponsored, but unlike a regular advertisement, users will be able to engage with the sponsored content like other posts on LinkedIn. Pricing for Updates will be based on the number of readers reached (CPM) or clicks (CPC), a method that allows advertisers to gauge the success of the ad and adjust accordingly. Already committing to the new offering is an impressive array of top-shelf brands, including General Electric (among the kings of content), Mercedes Benz, Allstate and Charles Schwab.
What This Means for Brands: While Updates doesn’t necessarily break new ground, as many online channels have boosted revenue by asking advertisers to pay for better content visibility, LinkedIn’s inherent allure is the 225 million-member professional audience it can supply and appropriately segment for this content. “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,” said David Hahn, vice president of product management at LinkedIn. Potentially an incredible tool for customer generation, Updates also will put more pressure on brands to put the thought in thought leadership as this informed audience won’t click on, or certainly read, just anything.
Contributing to TRENDING this week are Lucy Arnold, Julie Louvau and Abby Ray. Edited by Pat Wechsler.