LinkedIn announced yesterday the creation of the LinkedIn Audience Network, a new advertising product that combines the audiences from LinkedIn with native ads outside the LinkedIn web pages.
See here how to start testing. Basically, you just need a credit card and a Linkedin Company Page.
First Step is to go to Linkedin Campaign Manager, and Create a New Campaign. Then, select Sponsored Content.
After, you will be able to create the ads. The specs for the ads are an image of 1200 x 627 px and a description of 150 characters. To create an Ad you need to associate your Linkedin Company page with the Ad. The native ad can have a button to follow the page or not; it is optional. See here the example:
Here comes the most interesting feature. Now you can target your users with the LinkedIn targetings that include Geotargeting, Company name, Company industry, Company size, Job title, Job function, Job seniority, Member schools, Fields of study, Degrees, Member skills, Member groups, Member gender, Member age, Years of experience, Company followers, Company connections, Audiences.
You can also use Audience Expansion, that works like a Lookalike/Similar Audiences. According to LinkedIn “this feature broadens the reach of your campaign by showing it to audiences with similar attributes to your target audience, so you get the most out of your advertising.”
Bidding and Budget
Then comes the Bid Management, and LinkedIn offers the possibility to bid CPC or CPM. You can also introduce a Daily Budget and you can define an ad rotation with optimization for CTR. Do not forget to implement the Conversion Tracking if you want to optimize for conversions.
LinkedIn is not cheap. Unfortunately, LinkedIn as a Minimum Bid according to each country and that can be a blocker for many performance advertisers, as these advertisers need to do many tests and optimize for specific costs per action or per order.
Another topic is Brand Safety. LinkedIn knows that Brand Safety will be a topic as the publishers are not shown until advertisers start the campaign. Advertisers can, however, apply a blocklist based on performance or based on quality.
The LinkedIn Audience Network has a Reporting with Impressions, Clicks, Click Through Rate, Average CPC, Average CPM, Total Spent; as metrics. And with the dimensions: Ad Performance, Audience network ad performance, Demographics.
How the LinkedIn Audience Network works
LinkedIn does not explain how the LinkedIn Audience Network works in reality. What I speculate is that somehow LinkedIn is creating ads and showing them on programmatic, via exchanges like Appnexus. Why? On the targetings, we can see the usage of the blacklists (called Blocklists by LinkedIn) and IAB classification targetings.