The service, available in 20 languages in 200 countries, will allow companies to promote business content—including videos, presentations and product news—in the newsfeed of LinkedIn members.
Sponsored Updates will appear in members’ feeds on their LinkedIn homepage, where they can engage with the content via 'like', 'share', and 'comment' options and they can 'follow' the company that generated it.
Ryan Lim, founder and business director of Blugrapes, said this service is similar to the ‘Sponsored story’ on Facebook, with an additional CPC basis. As an inventory for LinkedIn to maximise mobile usage, he added, this service is likely to attract more B2B companies than B2C companies.
“It is a good platform for brands to establish credibility and thought leadership," he told Campaign Asia-Pacific. "It is an awareness tool, and when brands have the content and promote it, they will get higher awareness. Brands that are doing content marketing and thought leadership pieces are more likely to use Sponsored Updates, as this service plays on the depth of the article."
Yean Cheong, head of digital for IPG Mediabrands, APAC, hence does not expect major barriers for brands to understand this product and how it may be applied to their marketing campaigns due to its forerunners.
She concurs with Lim'ss point on the type of messages appear on Sponsored Updates, adding that she expects informational and functional messages to generate more response from visitors within the LinkedIn environment as versus emotive content, unless the emotive content relate to career advancement opportunities or stories of inspirational leadership.
"Asian consumers are very social online, active on both personal and professional networks, which means LinkedIn will always have a place in Asia as long as they deliver relevant experiences to their audience," she added.
Saurabh Dangwal, head of digital, P&G SEA at MediaCom, said as LinkedIn is already a strong player when it comes to providing relevant news content based on industry and connections, the ability to deliver brand content in that environment will allow for brands to leverage the high ROIs of branded content.
"The key difference to other content marketing initiatives is the native nature of sponsored updates which should deliver higher engagement opportunities for brands," he added. "Brands in Asia are beginning to consider content marketing as a key part of their marketing initiatives. While there might be fewer brands today, in the future we see a significant uptake for Linkedin Sponsored Updates."
B2C companies, Blugrapes' Lim said, are more likely to use this service for recruitment purposes. Nevertheless, he added that details of the targeting auction are not known and LinkedIn traditionally is not very good at targeting. “We hope the targeting for this will be better,” he said.
Posts will appear on desktop, tablet and smartphone devices and will be available to marketers both on a CPM and CPC basis, via a bid-based auction.
Matt Tindale, director of marketing solutions in Australia and New Zealand for LinkedIn, noted that the goal is to develop a definitive professional publishing platform and create opportunities for marketers to drive business results by sharing relevant content with its members.
Companies using Sponsored Updates can track post and campaign effectiveness through comprehensive analytics to glean insights and fine-tune strategy in real time, according to LinkedIn.
Telstra was one of the few companies globally allowed to trial Sponsored Updates ahead of the general availability. Harry Lowes, general manager, digital marketing at Telstra, said the service enabled the firm to share highly targeted content with the LinkedIn audience, according to LinkedIn.
“We accelerated the rate at which we attract new followers on LinkedIn by about 12 per cent,” he added. “We are now approaching 50,000 followers, making us the third most-followed company in Australia on LinkedIn.”