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LinkedIn Rolls Out Sponsored Updates for Businesses

New Call-to-action

Posted by John Beveridge on Jul 25, 2013 4:52:00 AM

linkedin sponsored updatesLinkedIn is rolling out a new opportunity for businesses to reach professional decision-makers with targeted, relevant content - LinkedIn sponsored updates. Before sponsored updates, companies marketing on LinkedIn were limited to sharing updates with people following their company page or paid advertisements. Paid advertisments appear inconspicuously; they're at the very bottom of your personalized column at the right side of the page. Most of you probably aren't aware of the ads appearing on your page.

The new sponsored updates offer businesses the opportunity to share updates prominently in the timelines of targeted decision-makers. Sponsored updates is currently in limited release, but will be available to all beginning the week of July 29. In ordered to run sponsored updates, you need to have a LinkedIn company page and a LinkedIn advertising account.

Target your sponsored updates

One of the most effective features of LinkedIn sponsored updates is the ability to target your campaign to your ideal customer profiles. You can target sponsored updates as follows.

  • you can target all LinkedIn members or just those that follow your company page
  • you can target by geography, from the country level down to metropolitan areas
  • you can target by industry or company size
  • you can target by job title, job function and seniority level

Don't target your campaign too narrowly, you may miss out on lead generation opportunities.

Choose your budgeting options

Sponsored updates let you choose between a cost-per-click or a cost-per impression charging basis. I recommend the cost-per-click basis for most small to mid-sized businesses. You're only charged when someone clicks on your sponsored update. This basis is best for performance based campaigns where your objective is lead generation. Under the cost-per-impression basis, your charged every time someone sees your ad. This is generally better for larger companies whose objective is to increase brand awareness.

You can also choose a daily or campaign budget amount and choose whether to run your campaign indefinitely or until a specified date. I recommend running a few limited budget campaigns to see which posts and which target audiences produce the best business results. Once you know what works, you can invest in campaigns that will produce.

How To Transform Your Business With Social Media


Sponsored updates best practices

Your sponsored updates should be similar to your other social media updates. Your objective is to be helpful, not salesy. Remember, your sponsored update will be the first impression most of your target audience has with your company. Make sure it's a good one!

Here are some best practices for your sponsored updates.

  1. Think of your sponsored updates like calls-to-action in your lead generation process. Make sure you have a value proposition that tells the reader why they should click through. Always make sure to answer the most important question for the reader - what's in it for me?
  2. Have a concise headline that clearly explains what the reader will get if she clicks through. When they click through, make sure what they get matches what you promised. Ideally, you should have the same headline in the post and the landing page/blog post that's their destination.
  3. If you have more than one target audience, tailor individual updates to the target audience. Don't target the same update to both the CEO and the CIO.
  4. Make sure to have a conversion path for your audience when they click through. You want to capture leads and you can't do that without a landing page!
  5. Analyze the performance of each campaign to fine-tune your approach to produce business results. Measure the number of leads generated, the click-through rate and the average cost-per-click. All of these metrics are available in your LinkedIn advertising portal.

HubSpot's Sponsored Updates Pilot Campaign

SMB internet marketing software provider HubSpot ran pilot campaignsusing sponsored updates to reach their target of marketing professionals at small to mid-sized businesses. They ran campaigns offering eBooks, webinars and how-to-guides with the objective of driving traffic to their website and generating qualified sales leads. HubSpot found that sponsored updates generated 400% more leads within their target audience than lead generation efforts on other platforms

HubSpot's CMO Mike Volpe describes sponsored updates, "We have seen very high quality leads coming in from our Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn. Not only can we target the audience we want to, we can promote our best performing content, getting even more out of this marketing solution."

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LinkedIn sponsored updates offer businesses an excellent new way to generate qualified leads effectively and affordably. We will definitely take advantage of this new advertising opportunity and will share our experiences with you on this blog. What do you think of LinkedIn sponsored updates?

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