Digital ad spend is sure to rise, and experts are predicting that social network ads are exponentially beneficial. As marketers take notice of where their consumers are to deliver promotional content and ads, it is important for them to remember the extensive user base that LinkedIn maintains.
“Adding in banner ads to the mobile version would be a great way to extend the sponsored ads section of LinkedIn,” said Marci Troutman, CEO of SiteMinis. “There are a very high percentage of consumers that use LinkedIn on their devices and not on their desktop.
“Also, allowing a sandbox type of option would give consumers that want to create a mobile-first ad the ability to ensure click throughs to a mobile-friendly action, ensuring better results for the money and time spent on the marketing efforts,” she said.
Web versus app
Assuming that a good portion of its traffic comes from mobile, LinkedIn could rise to the occasion and make a few tweaks to its platform to obtain more business.
A win-win opportunity, both marketers and the platform could benefit, knowing that LinkedIn’s user base is checking the site as often as several times per week. If the user experience was brought up to date, consumers would probably venture to the site or app even more often.
LinkedIn.com on a mobile browser
“LinkedIn, like Facebook, takes links that are posted to pages within the LinkedIn mobile versions, leaving it a little more difficult to ensure that the link takes their followers to a mobile friendly site or page for direct action,” Ms. Troutman said. “Marketers can ensure that the links they post do pull up a mobile version, but this could interfere with desktop click throughs.
“There would need to be a way to add code to a LinkedIn view that would ensure a mobile-first click through would be shown versus the desktop view,” she said.
However, brands that have tapped the LinkedIn platform for marketing efforts have been able to use it creatively and effectively, proving that other brands should listen up.
Film studio 21st Century Fox showed off its mobile skill set with a LinkedIn contest to promote the film Taken 3, attracting fans with a YouTube video that featured Liam Neeson.
20th Century Fox’s Taken 3 campaign using LinkedIn
The film, which hit theaters Jan. 9, is the final installment in the three-film series, which follows a former CIA agent whose use his skills in an ongoing fight with overseas criminals. Playing off Mr. Neeson’s character’s catchphrase about using his particular skill set, the contest offered entrants an opportunity to have the actor post a video on their LinkedIn profile endorsing their particular skill set.
The idea of the contest came from a quintessential quote from the first movie, which involves Mr. Neeson warning the enemy of his “particular set of skills” and that he, being a former CIA official, should not be tampered with. Ever since the first film hit theaters, the phrase has stuck with fans of the film.
To excite fans about the contest, 21st Century Fox released a YouTube video of Mr. Neeson describing his own resume as Taken character Bryan Mills while showing short clips from the films of the actor taking down the enemy (see story).
Despite 21st Century Fox’s creative efforts, LinkedIn is more of a niche platform geared towards professional networking, perhaps making it more appropriate for some brands’ marketing initiatives and less for others. B2B brands could especially benefit from marketing on the LinkedIn platform, given the recent changes it has made.
“Linkedin has made some significant changes in the past year to move beyond being a people-finding platform to being a tool for businesses to be able to market themselves to potential customers,” said Danielle McCormick, director of marketing at Skava. “The biggest changes have been in the new functionality added to the company pages.
“Businesses can now have a company feed and they have added the ability to provide multiple product pages,” she said. “When it comes to businesses promoting their services to B2B, LinkedIn is much more powerful than any other social media platform such as Facebook or Twitter.
“Similar to Facebook’s advertising platform, LinkedIn allows its users to create targeted marketing campaigns based on people’s job titles and which companies they work for, which makes it an invaluable resource for many businesses trying to market their product or services to decision makers.”
But increasingly, LinkedIn is an effective platform for consumer-facing marketers.
“Although LinkedIn is focused on professional networking, it is still where professionals, who are also consumers, consume news more and more,” Ms. McCormick said. “Like the Facebook news feed keeps us up to date with general news and our friends activity, LinkedIn provides us with one’s industry news through its newsfeed.
“LinkedIn can offer advanced targeting, with ‘LinkedIn skills’ allowing us to identify how we see ourselves professionally,” she said. “So it is a great platform for B2B marketing, but as we spend more time on LinkedIn as a news service, it opens up potential for more general branding from consumer products.”
The LinkedIn app now leverages iOS 8’s updated notification widget. For example, users that have the LinkedIn app can add it to their widget and will see recent profile views and connection requests, which likely drives an increased number of traffic to the app.
The LinkedIn app
Still, LinkedIn’s app developers have some work to do. Users have reviewed the app with two or three out of five stars, complaining about preference blockings and unwanted notifications they receive. If users are constantly receiving notifications they are not interested in, those annoyances can lead users to deleting the app.
“I mentioned the ability to place a sponsored ad, but marketers are at the mercy of how often this is shown as the feed is continuous and if their target audience isn’t viewing the feed constantly the ad will be missed,” Ms. Troutman said. “The suggestion would be to lock in a banner across the top or locked as a footer that the feed would flow behind to allow sponsored ad’s to scroll through, without disturbing the notifications, the feed or the overall flow.
“If marketers could purchase a sponsored ad that they knew would live on the app for a certain amount of time that everyone would see, the profitability of that would be beneficial not only for LinkedIn but also for the marketers,” she said.