In a first, LinkedIn will now give advertisers a way to serve their native mobile ads — Sponsored Content — on other publisher networks, extending its flagship ad unit to tens of thousands of websites and apps.
The LinkedIn Audience Network, announced Wednesday, is designed to increase an advertiser's ability to reach existing and potentially new consumers beyond the LinkedIn platform. It also makes the ad offering look a lot like the Facebook Audience Network.
LinkedIn is working with five major mobile ad exchanges such as AppNexus, Google Ad Exchange, Sharethrough, MoPub, and Rubicon to serve the advertisements across a variety of publishers in English-speaking markets such as Australia, Canada, the UK, the U.S., and India.
The targeting triggers are based on information in LinkedIn member profiles and matched audiences, said Divye Khilnani, product management at LinkedIn. For now, he said, the ads serve up on sites owned or affiliates with parent company Microsoft, such as Outlook.com and MSN.com, as well as apps such as MyFitnessPal.
Ad bidding is based on a cost per click to ensure that advertisers only pay for the clicks that are sending members to the advertiser's landing page.
More than 6,000 LinkedIn advertisers have participated in the Audience Network beta program, with the average seeing an increase of between 3% and 13% in unique impressions served and up to an 80% increase in clicks.
Hiscox, a financial services and insurance provider, for example, found their campaign reach and performance rose nearly four times greater compared with the benchmark for the financial services industry by running sponsored content on the Audience Network.
Reports are also available for download, with an analysis of clicks, impressions and engagement from ads, allowing advertisers to compare network performance to onsite performance.
LinkedIn's research shows that serving ads on health and fitness apps generally has a positive influence on results, but there are blacked-out ad categories such as dating and religious apps, Khilnani says.