The B2B marketing behemoth that is LinkedIn announced yesterday that it’s launching a new display advertising network.
Whilst yet another ad network for media buyers to get their heads round isn’t always welcomed with open minds and open arms, this isn’t just another ad network – it’s something that could, and most likely will, have a massive impact on B2B online advertising. In fact, it could even tempt more businesses into the display advertising space with the reassurance that less of their spend will be wasted on an irrelevant audience, thus maximising response and ROI.
At a basic level, what LinkedIn are offering isn’t anything particularly new. There are a number of established B2B-specific networks out there already working – and working well – such as Encore Media, with whom we’ve worked closely on a number of projects.
What makes this one ever so slightly special, however, is that it allows LinkedIn to layer its data on top of ad inventory across 2,500 other websites, providing advertisers with the opportunity to reach the LinkedIn audience outside of the platform – meaning that the uniquely high level of targeting LinkedIn affords marketers looking to reach an audience on its own site can now be duplicated in other spaces.
The ability the network will provide to run a form of lead nurture re-targeting through the “LinkedIn Lead Accelerator” is also exceptionally powerful. The tool will enable clients to understand the type of person visiting their website (but not access their actual personal details), and then re-target ads to them elsewhere, with different messages dependent on the sections of the website they read.
Admittedly, the new product isn’t perfect – it’s not automated, and all buys for the time being will need to be made through a managed process from LinkedIn, something that’s less common as agencies rely more and more on running programmatic campaigns. No doubt agency feedback will quickly be taken on board and the product will be improved, and made more self-service in the long-term. As someone who has set up and run clients’ PPC campaigns on LinkedIn – a very simple and intuitive process – I’d have thought this feature would have been integrated from the start, especially as smaller advertisers’ needs have historically, and from experience, been neglected by the account management folks at the social network.
Nevertheless, this is one innovation that is worth starting testing and keeping an eye on.