Last month, LinkedIn announced several upcoming features to the LinkedIn Ads platform. Now that some are being rolled out selectively, we’ve got a clearer idea of how advertising on LinkedIn will change in the coming months.
Like most email providers, LinkedIn is adding a tabbed inbox ostensibly to make messaging on the site more intuitive. In reality, the Focused tab will be used to prioritize the most relevant sponsored messages while the Other tab will contain “the remainder of your conversations.”
According to LinkedIn, sponsored messages will end up in the Focused tab for users who have a higher propensity to click or submit a lead (based on whether the user has engaged with a sponsored message in the past twelve months).
The Focused Inbox is already being introduced as an opt-in feature but will soon be rolled out across the board.
Conversation Starter Ads
You’re likely already familiar with LinkedIn’s Conversation and Message Ads, which appear in the target’s inbox. The new Conversation Starter format will replace Conversation Ads while Message Ads will be phased out (so if you’re running Message Ads, switch to Conversation campaigns now).
Conversation Starter ads are likely a result of LinkedIn’s difficulties serving Message ads in the EU. The new format will serve ads to a dedicated tab in the inbox (Focused), which users will be able to exert some level of control over.
However, the real boon is to the advertiser: the priority of the Focused tab means these sponsored Conversation Starter messages will be front and center in the inbox, and users will need to interact to hide each ad – perhaps leading them to read and engage when they otherwise wouldn’t.
In contrast to ads showing up in user inboxes, Click to Message ads will invite users to reach out to brands. The ads will appear in the newsfeed, and any conversations resulting from them will appear in the Focused tab.
These ads will begin appearing in the first quarter of the new year. Businesses running LinkedIn Ads should be ready to monitor their inboxes more closely for correspondence from prospective customers.
It’ll be interesting to see how willing users are to start conversations with brands they’re interested in. The idea isn’t as far-fetched as you might think; similar campaigns (from businesses like Spotify) on Twitter have resulted in significant engagement.
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