LinkedIn on Tuesday launched a new ad offering that allows marketers to run SlideShare presentations within standard display units on the site. Using SlideShare Content Ads, brands can showcase content as presentations to a targeted audience without requiring users to leave the page.
“We know that presentations are a great way to educate, engage and even entertain audiences. We’re also testing more features that give brands the ability to collect leads directly from SlideShare content, and extend their reach through social gestures including 'Likes' and 'Shares'," stated a LinkedIn blog post today.
The new ad format marks the company’s first effort to directly monetize SlideShare since LinkedIn acquired the content-sharing platform last May for $119 million in cash and stock. Tested initially with GE and Constant contact, the SlideShare ad unit is the latest of LinkedIn’s Content Ads -- rich media display ads that may include different types of dynamic content including video, company news and blog posts.
When clicked on, the SlideShare ad expands from a 350 x 250 box on the right side of the page to take up most of the screen for easier viewing of presentations. The ads are sold on a CPM basis through a LinkedIn account manager. The company said pricing may vary based on the elements of a specific buy.
The SlideShare ads reflect LinkedIn’s broader embrace of content marketing as a way to engage its professional user base with advertising that blurs the line between media and advertising. In the same vein, the company said last month it had begun testing a new ad format that allows marketers to promote sponsored content in the stream of updates that members see on their profile pages.
GE, Xerox and other brands have begun to serve sponsored content, including white papers and best practices guides as status updates to LinkedIn members. The company has not yet said when the in-stream ads will roll out broadly across the site.
In a sign of its growing media ambitions, LinkedIn is planning to acquire Alphonso Labs, the company behind newsreader app Pulse, according to an AllThingsD report today. The app lets users create personalized readers by filtering articles and other material from favorite newspapers, magazines, blogs and social networks. LinkedIn declined to comment on the report Tuesday.