Just two weeks after Microsoft acquired LinkedIn for $26.2 billion in cash, the professional social media network has announced the introduction of a programmatic display (for desktop only) buying platform to marketers. Professionals on LinkedIn are indexed by industry, skillset and interests, providing brands with an opportunity to hone in on valuable targeting features. The launch of programmatic display unleashes real-time bidding access to the majority of demand-side platforms (DSP) and agency trading desks in the RTB ecosystem.
Currently, LinkedIn monetizes from its 430 million members with Sponsored Content, Sponsored InMail, Dynamic ads, Display ads and Text ads, although Sponsored Content accounts for 60 percent of LinkedIn Marketing Solutions’ revenue. In the past year, Sponsored Content has become a profitable feature for LinkedIn, increasing advertising business by 80 percent in the first quarter of this year.
Realizing the potential for profit, LinkedIn introduced programmatic display to make advertising more convenient for marketers. For the first time, marketers can advertise through third party platforms, mitigating the need to create an account within LinkedIn’s marketing network (this means no more extensive paperwork and insertion orders). The programmatic display option allows advertisers an opportunity to automatically place ads in front of relevant consumers using a holistic, integrated approach.
Russel Glass, head of products for LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, attributes LinkedIn’s latest investment in programmatic display to the company’s desire to make ad inventory more accessible and less complex. Advertisers can purchase display ad placement through an Open Auction or Private Auction. Both options offer malleable targeting control, but Private Auctions afford advertisers the ability to utilize first or third party data. If advertisers don’t want to use their own data, LinkedIn offers users the option to target audience segments, such as “IT decision makers.”
LinkedIn’s platform is scaled for business professionals, and marketers are attracted to the available data differentiation that granularly defines each member’s persona. By analyzing browsing activity and behavioral patterns, marketers can infer advantageous information about users, like where an individual works and how big their company is.
We understand just how valuable LinkedIn ad placement is — warranting high viewability and advanced targeting possibilities. With Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn, we forecast a seamless integration of data tools and tangible applications that can maximize advertising efforts and targeting abilities. Microsoft recently hinted that LinkedIn will be joining the Office product suite, and we project that the added user intel will only positively impact the advertising space.
LinkedIn ad placements are premium advertising real estate considering the platform gains two new members every second. Despite the price tag, LinkedIn’s rollout of programmatic display embraces simplicity and efficiency for advertisers.