LinkedIn Updates Marketing Solutions Portfolio: More Products and Data Pose New Opportunity for Brands to Convert Leads

Post by Nonie Carson, Marketing Specialist, with insights from Erika Mahon, Media Director LinkedIn just announced two updates to its suite of advertising products that will have great potential for brands looking to acquire a professional audience: The business-to-business (B2B) network is (1) expanding the reach of its LinkedIn Network Display ads to thousands of additional websites and (2) is introducing a new lead generation product, called Lead Accelerator. With marketers only converting 1% of all possible leads (Forester Research), this update carries large implications for the B2B advertising space. The announcement mirrors Facebook and Twitter’s recent move to share proprietary user data in order for advertisers to create hyper-personalized ad experiences and drive additional sales outside of their respective platforms. LinkedIn looks to increase lead conversions and differentiate itself from its fellow social platforms by uniquely focusing on B2B data, analytics and consumers. WHY IS THIS HAPPENING? This is an important move for LinkedIn as it seeks to grow its footprint in the B2B space to a $1 billion dollar business by 2017—in 2014, the company made roughly half that number with $455 million in revenue. This product update should incentivize B2B-focused brands to put more advertising dollars behind the platform as they can now leverage LinkedIn’s powerful data to convert leads and gain access to a full-funnel marketing approach consisting of 5 LinkedIn products: Onsite Display, LinkedIn Network Display, Sponsored Updates, Sponsored InMail and Lead Accelerator. LMS-Funnel.jpg*Image courtesy of LinkedIn WHAT DOES THIS MEAN for ADVERTISERS? Advertisers win from this update as LinkedIn’s network of 347 million users is partnering with the display side platform (DSP) AppNews to deliver LinkedIn Display ads to an additional 2,500 business-focused websites. In addition, LinkedIn’s Lead Accelerator integrates Bizo’s Multi-Channel Nurturing product to increase conversions by automatically serving the optimal message according to the customer’s stage in the purchase funnel. LinkedIn hopes the expanded Marketing Solutions portfolio will give marketers new opportunity to combine consumer data with LinkedIn data to reach potential leads. New opportunities for brands include:

  • Better understanding of website visitors: LinkedIn notes that brands only understand about 5% of the traffic coming to their website. Lead Accelerator is LinkedIn’s solution to bridge that gap and gain a larger understanding of one’s audience-base by leveraging LinkedIn user data.
  • End-to-end consumer approach: A breakthrough in this update is the ability for advertisers to tailor marketing efforts together in a cohesive strategy in order to convert prospects. LinkedIn wants advertisers to be able to effectively “nurture” their consumers as they move through the conversion funnel, noting that the decision-making process can last years in the B2B world.
  • More analytics: LinkedIn acquired Bizo in 2014 for roughly $175 million. Bizo was a leader in B2B marketing with a controlled advertising reach across thousands of publishers. Bizo will allow brands more insight into the type of professional that is visiting a website, and provide a cost-per-acquisition (CPA) number. This data, in tandem with LinkedIn’s user data, will help marketers show the most effective messaging at the right time in order to convert leads.
  • Improved Performance:
    • Conversions: With the ability to connect marketing efforts across the consumer journey, advertisers should expect to see higher conversion rates from leads as they land on their website
    • Lower CPA: With more data and smarter analytics, brands can drive cost-efficient sales without wasting advertising budget on irrelevant audiences or messaging

WISHLIST and PREDICTIONS While this update is a smart move for LinkedIn as its audience and data was once limited to marketing efforts within its own platform, the new Lead Accelerator product is being set up as a managed service which means agencies handling campaigns for brands only have visibility into the analytics of Lead Accelerator, they don’t have control over audience buys and optimizing for lower CPA. If LinkedIn can figure out how to allow for self-service ad buys, adoption should be very high for these niche, reliable audiences. But as B2B marketers tend to be very cost conscious, the managed service aspect might be tough to sell-in as it takes control away from the brand and agency. HOW to ACTIVATE LinkedIn Ad Accelerator is now available in most markets around the world. There is no minimum ad spend for advertisers, but requires that brands have at least 20,000 visitors to their website to opt into the advertising product. EARLY RESULTS Early testers of the new expansion of products from LinkedIn, such as Salesforce and Samsung, have seen impressive results. One brand saw a lift in conversion rates by 50%. Another brand saw cost-per-lead drop by 60%. For more info on activating LinkedIn’s product updates, please contact your performance account team today.

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