LinkedIn Jumps on the Native Advertising Bandwagon

Linkedin, Marketing, Mobile Marketing, Online Marketing, Social Media Marketing

September 23, 2013 by Cintia Stela

What is Native Advertising?

If you’ve been following news in online marketing and social media, you may be asking yourself “What is Native Advertising?” Well, this article and infographic simplify it nicely.  Essentially, native advertising is the seamless placement of sponsored or paid advertisements within social media content.

Over the past few years, social networks have increased the effectiveness of their advertising capabilities with “sponsored content”, a form of native advertising.  Twitter was first to pioneer this in 2010 with promoted tweets in users feeds.  Facebook followed shortly after with sponsored advertisements in news feeds on both the mobile and desktop versions. Last year, LinkedIn followed suit with sponsored job postings, and using profile information, the social network matched job openings with potential candidates. The advertising model generates revenue by charging employers a fee when candidates click on their sponsored posting.

LinkedIn Moves “Sponsored Jobs” Right Where Users Will See Them

LinkedIn is now increasing the reach of these sponsored postings by sticking them right where users will see them – their user feed on both the mobile and desktop versions. Previously, these postings sat in the “Jobs You May Be Interested In” section. The change means that job ads will now appear alongside other content in the feed like news and updates.

The most significant change, however, may be the increased mobile functionality – bringing Sponsored Jobs to the mobile version of LinkedIn for the first time. LinkedIn has only recently begun to focus on its mobile application, adding many new functionalities in the past few months.  In the summer, they introduced the ability for users to search for jobs using its mobile app, and in August allowing users to apply for jobs directly from their phones.

According to LinkedIn:

“Over 30 percent of members who view jobs on LinkedIn come from mobile, and Sponsored Jobs will now appear in one of the most engaging spots in our mobile experience. Early results show that Sponsored Jobs on mobile are about 4 times more engaging than Sponsored Jobs on the desktop.”

If LinkedIn’s stats are correct, this means their Sponsored Jobs advertising option is a much more effective investment for employers than it was previously.  The reach of these ads will be much greater and result in many more potential job candidates receiving the posts.

Native Advertising vs. Traditional Banner Ads

With all of these large social media networks implementing forms of native advertising, it begs the question of the effectiveness of these ads compared to other traditional forms of online advertising. An informative infographic of a study done by Sharethrough and IPG Media Lab compares native ads and banner ads.

This study found a few interesting findings:

  1. Consumers viewed native ads 52% more than banner ads.
  2. 25% more consumers were measured to look at in-feed native ad placements rather than standard banners.
  3. More people said the native ad “is an ad I would share with a friend or family member”.
  4. More people said they “personally identify” with the brand after viewing the native ad.

All of these statistics sound very promising, and indeed they are.  However, for native advertising to be effective for your brand it must be done properly.  Even though the large social networks offer the functionality to create native advertisements, they must be well-planned and thought out before-hand.

Before You Try Your First Native Advertisement…

Here’s a few key tips from ClickZ.com:

  1. Treat your ads like content. Your ads should be additive (not disruptive) to the user experience.
  2. Content marketing works. 8 in 10 users would rather connect with a brand through content rather than through an ad. Consider writing a blog that your customers would find insightful (don’t try to sell them anything!)
  3. Know your environment. Every social network is different.  They have different strengths and weaknesses, different users, and different ways on engaging. Figure out which one is best for your intended purpose.
  4. Fish where the fish are. Find out which social network your audience uses and focus your efforts there.
  5. Get creative and customize. The social networks provide the tools to create native ads, so your competitors also have these capabilities. To stand out, get creative.
  6. Be honest. Don’t mislead your consumers.  Use native ads to build their trust instead.

Have you tried a form of native advertising for your brand? If not, has the recent publicity encouraged you to do so?