POV: New LinkedIn Audience Network
LinkedIn has released an updated version of its Audience Network - giving advertisers a way to serve LinkedIn’s flagship native mobile ads — Sponsored Content — on other publisher networks and extending the platform’s reach to tens of thousands of websites and apps.
Details and implications:
Facebook and Google have offered audience networks for years now, both leveraging their anonymised user data to serve more targeted advertising outside of their walled gardens. However LinkedIn’s advantage is that its user base is unique. Also, this new iteration of the LinkedIn Audience Network is bolstered by parent company Microsoft’s expanded network.
Through Microsoft’s network, the LinkedIn Audience Network will have a broader reach than its earlier iteration (via properties like MSN and Outlook), which will give advertisers more ways to retarget users off-platform.
LinkedIn is working with five major mobile ad exchanges: AppNexus, Google Ad Exchange, Sharethrough, MoPub, and Rubicon to serve ads across various publishers in English-speaking markets including the U.S., UK, Canada, Australia, and India.
LinkedIn will vet partner publishers to ensure they meet LinkedIn’s advertiser guidelines and quality standards. For further brand safety, when extending ads into the Audience Network, advertisers will be able to select the categories of websites and apps to exclude and block specific apps or sites by uploading a custom list of domains. Also, because Audience Network campaigns only serve to LinkedIn members, advertisers can be sure that their ads will only be seen by real people.
The LinkedIn Audience Network is rolling out globally to all English-speaking countries first and follows a limited beta from the beginning of this year, which saw over 6,000 LinkedIn advertisers take part. On average, these advertisers saw a 3-13% increase in unique impressions served, and up to an 80% increase in unique clicks.
Ad pricing on the Audience Network is based on a cost per click bidding model, to ensure that advertisers only pay for the clicks that are sending members to the advertiser's landing page.
This is a smart move by LinkedIn and will no doubt appeal to many advertisers looking to focus their message on professional audiences. While the idea is not entirely new, with advancements in targeting and assurance options, the new system should help improve the reach and response of LinkedIn Audience Network content.