Facebook first launched Sponsored Stories, the ads that occasionally appear in your News Feed. Twitter rolled out a similar feature, which they call Sponsored Tweets. Now LinkedIn has followed suit, announcing that it, too, has launched a new ad program: Sponsored Updates, which appear in your activity stream.
"We know getting relevant information at the right time can help inform the many business decisions you make throughout your day," said Gyanda Sachdeva, product manager at LinkedIn. "Through Sponsored Updates, businesses aim to engage select communities of LinkedIn members with useful information."
David Hahn, VP of product management at LinkedIn, said that Sponsored Stores were adopted in order to give marketers more opportunities for reach and engagement.
"With Sponsored Updates, marketers will be able to distribute this content directly to relevant professionals in a place their customers and prospects are already consuming professionally relevant content," Hahn said.
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Here's a look at four things you need to know about Sponsored Updates.
1. You Can't Opt Out Of Sponsored Updates
Sponsored Updates will look like any other update you see in your activity stream, and come in the form of slideshows, articles, blog posts, videos, presentations or whitepapers, LinkedIn said. You can take the same actions on a Sponsored Update as you can any other piece of content you see. That includes following the company, liking the update, and commenting on or sharing the post.
LinkedIn does not give you the option to opt out of Sponsored Updates. Both premium LinkedIn members and basic account holders will see these ads. They are distinguishable from other posts in your feed by the word "Sponsored," which appears in the post next to the company name in gray.
2. You Will See Sponsored Updates On Any Device
The medium you use to visit LinkedIn doesn't matter. You'll see Sponsored Updates in your activity stream whether you're using LinkedIn from your desktop, smartphone or tablet, LinkedIn said.
"While your LinkedIn homepage experience on any of these devices will not be dramatically different, you may occasionally see Sponsored Updates in your feed," Sachdeva said. "Most of your updates will continue to be organic information from your network."
3. The Ads You See Depend On Your Profile
Advertisers can target their ads based on a number of criteria: the company you work for, your title, job function, seniority level and location. While the targeting options vary, and are customizable by the advertiser, LinkedIn said the businesses aim to target the communities that will benefit most from their message.
"We are focused on delivering posts that will be relevant to you," Sachdeva said. "Just like other content in your feed, we will gauge your engagement with Sponsored Updates and aim to surface posts that will be useful to you."
4. You Can Hide Individual Sponsored Updates
While you can't blanket-remove all Sponsored Updates, you can easily hide individual ones from your feed if the content is irrelevant to you.
To do so, hover over the Sponsored Update you want to remove. A gray "Hide" option will appear in the top-right corner of the post. Click it to delete it from your feed. You can perform this option on other types of content that appear in your feed as well: updates from connections and companies, for example.