The folks at LinkedIn have been busy recently, and the result of their efforts is a host of new features, forms, analytics and lead-nurturing tools that can help your business get its message out to prospects quickly, and with great precision.
Here’s a quick rundown of changes that are expected to be rolled out in 2017, along with notable changes that have already occurred. We’re really excited about the potential ways these expected changes can help marketers in their campaigns, so we’ll lead off with that.
A new “Matched Audiences” platform that will take ad targeting to another level with website and email retargeting. This platform is similar in scope to ad options already offered by Facebook, Google, Twitter and Pinterest. It was originally slated to launch in November 2017, though some key customers are already testing it, and sources say it will be launching publicly in the next couple weeks. Ads within the platform can be used as part of Sponsored Content ads that appear in users’ LinkedIn feeds, as well as Sponsored InMail messages that go to their LinkedIn inboxes. It’s expected that they’ll be combined with standard ad targeting options, such as location, industry, job title, seniority and groups.
The Matched Audiences platform breaks into three areas:
- Website retargeting: You can target LinkedIn users who have previously visited your website, and drive them back to your site. This allows you to keep your brand in front of these visitors and, if done right, deliver targeted content based on how they interacted with your website.
- Email contact targeting: You can match your contact list to LinkedIn users. This enables you to create segments, target a specific list from your CRM or your prospect list, and even upload a CSV file.
- Account targeting: You can upload a list of up to 30,000 companies and match it against the employees from those companies that are on LinkedIn. This enables you to reach influencers and decision makers at those companies.
Again, many of these options seem to mirror capabilities on notable competitor sites; but with LinkedIn, you as a marketer can use them to connect with prospects on a more business-related network, and presumably catch them in “work mode.”
Our marketing group will test these upgrades as soon as they become available, and we will keep you posted on timing and results.
What’s already changed?
- A revamped home page feed. LinkedIn’s tech wizards have developed and deployed new algorithms that enable more content to be featured and fewer status updates. You’ll also start to see more trending stories (a feature already deeply ingrained on Facebook). While some users may find these shifts to their liking, others may prefer the old paradigm that relied heavily on status updates for the bulk of content. Either way, it opens up a big opportunity for marketers to sponsor timely and relevant content.
- Lead generation forms. In the old days, it was necessary to direct users to a landing page to collect their contact information in exchange for premium content such as e-books. No more. Now you can set up lead generation forms that will pre-populate with a user’s LinkedIn data—then take them right to the premium content. When someone enters their information, it goes directly into your Campaign Manager dashboard for download.
- A new blog platform. No longer do you need to navigate LinkedIn Pulse to write a blog post. Now, all you have to do is simply click “Write an article” from your home page feed, and you’ll be directed to the new, easy-to-use publishing platform. In our view, this offers a great opportunity to repurpose content you’ve already written, or create new and original pieces.
- An analytics upgrade. This upgrade allows you to learn more about how other users interact with your content. Specific information includes their company and title. It also makes suggestions about other articles you should share based on your network’s engagement.
- Chat messaging. Similar once again to Facebook (starting to see a trend here?), LinkedIn’s new chat feature exists in the same viewing pane as your viewing pane. From a convenience standpoint, we see it as a net win for LinkedIn and users alike, since it keeps users conveniently on the dashboard rather than migrating to a separate email pane. While this isn’t necessarily a marketing-centric upgrade, it’s worth mentioning nonetheless.
Do you have questions about LinkedIn or other online marketing opportunities for your business or firm? Contact Matt Seitz at 440-449-6800 or email Matt.