LinkedIn is adding tools and support to help marketers run campaigns using Sponsored Updates -- the company’s primary paid ad product -- as well as generate content on the professional networking site.
To that end, the company on Thursday announced the rollout of its Sponsored Updates Partners and Content Partners and the release of a Sponsored Updates API (application programming interface).
AdStage, Brand Networks, SHIFT, the Salesforce ExactTarget Marketing Cloud (which includes Social.com), and Unified Social are the initial group of official partners. In a blog post today, LinkedIn Marketing VP Penry Price said the Sponsored Updates partners help companies improve ROI through targeting and analytics tools that make it easier to optimize large campaigns.
“During the pilot with partners, our customers experienced an overall lift of more than 30% in engagement rates on their Sponsored Updates campaigns, higher than what they saw during prior campaigns without partner services,” he wrote.
Through the Content Partners program, LinkedIn aims to connect companies with publishers, platforms and original content producers to help them deliver content under their own brand name. The more content they can churn out, the more Sponsored Updates Linked can run against that flow of articles, reports and other material.
For the effort, LinkedIn has certified 10 partners, including publishers The Atlantic, Bloomberg, CBS Interactive, and IDG Communications; content platforms Newscred and Percolate; and custom content creators like Atlantic Media Strategies, Contently, Freshwire, and Group SJR.
During the pilot phase, Penry noted that several customers performed in the top 1% for all Sponsored Updates campaigns using content provided by partners.
The addition of outside companies to help with Sponsored Update campaigns and content development marks an expansion of LinkedIn’s Certified Marketing Partner program that already provides assistance with company pages, custom apps, compliance and text ads.
After rolling out Sponsored Updates to all advertisers last summer, LinkedIn said that during the fourth quarter, the in-stream ad unit contributed 13% of total ad revenue for the period. Expect that proportion to increase when the company announces first-quarter results on May 1.