A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

A Comprehensive Guide to LinkedIn Sponsored Updates

When it comes to growing your brand and boosting your revenue, social media matters.

Here’s why: More than three billion people worldwide now have social media accounts, and 54% of those users leverage social media to research products.

The biggest challenge? Finding the right platform for your social media posts where you can connect with your ideal audience.

While many businesses leverage sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote their content and increase conversion rates, there’s also a case to be made for more business-focused frameworks like LinkedIn.

In this comprehensive guide to LinkedIn sponsored updates we’ll tackle the big questions — what are LinkedIn sponsored updates, how do they work and how much do they cost?

We’ll also offer a list of sponsored updates best practices to help your brand make the most of this social content solution.

Download Now: How to Run LinkedIn Ads

What are LinkedIn Sponsored Updates?

Let’s start at the beginning: What exactly are LinkedIn sponsored updates?

Also called sponsored content, the official LinkedIn help page says a sponsored update is, “a LinkedIn Page update that is sponsored as an advertisement and is delivered to the LinkedIn feed of members beyond those who follow your company.”

In practice, LinkedIn sponsored updates are advertisements created by your company or marketing team which are then served to LinkedIn users who either follow your page or follow pages in a similar content space.

These ads are served as part of the native LinkedIn feed and typically include a combination of relevant text and contextual images or videos, in turn helping them blend in with similar user content rather than stand out as paid-for advertisements.

When designed and deployed well, LinkedIn sponsored updates can help drive organic interest in your brand from both current followers and a wider audience of LinkedIn members. Worth noting? While these posts are designed to follow the format of familiar user updates, they’re always labeled as “sponsored content” to ensure there’s no misleading users or confusion.

What Types of Sponsored Updates are Available?

Brands can create four types of direct sponsored updates:

Single Image Ads

Single image ads include one image and text that are displayed directly in targeted member LinkedIn feeds.

Carousel Image Ads

Carousel ads contain multiple images in succession that users can scroll through to get a better sense of your products or services.

Video Ads

Video ads offer a way to include multimedia marketing with in-feed videos that users can watch on-demand.

Single Job Ads

If you’re looking to expand your team, you can create single job ads for your targeted audience. They must promote a single job opportunity and be linked to an active job post on LinkedIn.

You can also create what’s known as “direct sponsored content”. These ads won’t display on your LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page before being served as advertisements.

As a result, they’re often used by companies to test several marketing approaches and see which one produces the best results and use it as the basis for more robust sponsored content updates.

How much do LinkedIn sponsored updates cost?

The short answer is that more resource-intensive ads — such as videos or carousels — will cost more than their single-image counterparts.

The long answer is slightly more complicated. First, it’s important to understand that LinkedIn uses a bidding model for sponsored ads; you select and create your ad type and then specify how much you’re willing to pay — a minimum price exists to ensure advertisers are fairly paid, but you’ll never be charged more than your maximum upper limit. Differing ad providers then bid on the service and the lowest price wins.

Ad price is also determined by your target audience and relevance score. If your target audience is in high demand, you’ll be charged more because there’s greater competition to capture user interest. You can also lower your ad costs by creating relevant ads. The more relevant and content-rich your ad, the less you’ll pay — because there’s a better chance of engaging LinkedIn users.

It’s also worth considering the best cost model for your ad: Cost-per-click (CPC) or cost-per-impression (CPM). CPC means you only pay when users click on your ad and visit your site, while CPM means you pay for every 1,000 views or “impressions” of your ad.

If your goal is generating brand awareness, opt for CPM. If you have an established audience and are looking to drive click-throughs and conversions, choose CPC.

LinkedIn Sponsored Updates Best Practices

Want to get the most from your LinkedIn sponsored updates? Keep these best practices in mind:

1. Follow LinkedIn sponsored update specs.

Each type of sponsored content comes with its own specifications.

Single image ads: Up to 255 characters for the ad name, 150 characters of intro text to avoid truncation, URLs with “http://” or “https://” and JPG, GIF or PNG files that are 5MB or smaller.

Carousel ads: Use a minimum of two cards and a maximum of ten. Each card has a maximum file size of 10MB and dimensions of 6012 x 6012px. Supported formats include JPG, PNG and non-animated GIFs.

Video ads: Video ads must be three to 30 seconds in length, between 75KB and 200MB and in MP4 format. They must also be less than 30 frames per second (FPS).

Single job ads: Single job ads should be concise, relevant, and clear and follow the same image guidelines as single image ads. They must also link to an active job posting on LinkedIn.

Failure to follow these guidelines may result in ads being rejected. If ads contain misleading or inappropriate content, LinkedIn may choose to remove the ads or terminate your LinkedIn account.

The service also makes it clear that “spam” posts are not permitted: According to their Best Practices for Sponsored Content page, “Businesses that post updates excessively are subject to review by LinkedIn and could risk having their LinkedIn Page deleted.”

2. Don’t overshare.

While targeted, relevant content can help drive user interest, too many ads too quickly can result in over-saturation.

LinkedIn recommends regularly tweaking your content strategy to deliver analysis rather than simply news, include curated content (with credit) from other sources, and repurpose older content where applicable.

3. Test, test, test.

As noted above, direct sponsored content is a great way to try out new advertising efforts and see what sticks.

With the social media market continually evolving, it’s worth evaluating ad performance every few weeks to see what’s working, what isn’t, and where specific changes can help.

4. Spend wisely.

Sponsored updates can get expensive as you incorporate new advertisements and use multiple ad types.

Here, it’s worth tracking your ad spend and switching from CPC to CPM models once click-through rates start to rise. If ads begin losing steam, consider moving back to CPM to generate increased awareness.

5. Find new markets.

While engaging your target market is critical, diversify ad objectives is also important to expand your overall impact. LinkedIn recommends using tools such as Lead Gen Forms to find better leads, assess ROI and manage your advertisements at scale.

LinkedIn’s sponsored update model offers a streamlined solution to help brands reach their target market, expand brand awareness, and boost ROI. Best bet? Start with direct sponsored content to see what sticks, then choose the cost model that makes the most sense — CPC or CPM — and adjust as needed to reach the largest LinkedIn audience.

New Call-to-action

Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: December 2020

Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: December 2020

‘Tis the season for holiday campaigns and 2021 preparation. We’ve seen a lot of new changes and adaptations this year for brands and retailers in the digital space from curbside pickup and BOPIS (Buy Online Pick Up In-Store) to improved delivery services. Luckily, social media platforms are still releasing new updates to help businesses continue to navigate this time. From Twitter’s new Carousel ad option to Instagram’s keyword search capabilities and shopping on WhatsApp, here are the top social media updates this December. Happy holidays!


Social Media Updates

Instagram

Instagram Adds Shopping Tags to Reels

If you’re looking to generate another stream of income as a creator, you can now add Reels to the list. Businesses and creators can now tag products when they create Reels, enabling creators to add product listings to their clips.

The new feature will also allow creators to add Branded Content Tags for both Reels and Instagram Live in an effort to increase transparency on the platform. With new tags, creators can formulate more deals with brands and make money directly from their Reels content.

Instagram Adds Keyword Search

Great news for all social media managers and search enthusiasts: Instagram will now allow users to search for specific keywords. Previously, searching for a keyword on Instagram yielded results under the Usernames, Locations and Hashtags channels. Now, you can tap on specific search terms and Instagram will populate the posts for those exact words instead of just finding posts through hashtags. This way, you can include some of your keywords in the caption itself to maximize your visibility and Instagram performance.

Instagram Social media updates in December

However, not every word can be searchable. According to Instagram, keyword searches will be “limited to general interest topics and keywords that are within Instagram’s community guidelines”. So, some niche keywords and topics could be unsearchable for now. Instagram will also rank its keyword search results based on the following factors: type of content, captions, when it was posted and more. The social media platform will also highlight the most relevant matches to each user, based on the algorithm.


WhatsApp

WhatsApp Adds ‘Carts’ to its Shopping Experience

Whatsapp is no longer a stranger to eCommerce with their recent business features in place. Now, the messaging platform will continue to make it easier for users to buy items with their latest addition: Carts. This feature will enable WhatsApp users to add items as they engage with a business, then submit a larger order all at once via the app.

WhatsApp Social media updates in December

As explained by WhatsApp, “with carts, people can browse a catalog, select multiple products and send the order as one message to the business.” Carts will make it easier for businesses to keep track of order inquiries, manage requests from customers and close sales.


Facebook

Facebook Adds ‘Vanish Mode’ in Instagram and Messenger

According to Facebook, some things are just not meant to last. Instagram and Facebook’s Messenger have now activated disappearing messages on their platform, which vanish after they’ve been seen by the recipient or when the sender leaves the chat.

Questions were raised in terms of the safety of this feature, considering the disappearance of offensive messages and the uprise of online bullying in general. However, safety continues to be an important measure here. If someone takes a screenshot while in Vanish Mode, both users will be notified with a message in the thread. Facebook also supports blocking and reporting in Vanish Mode which allows Facebook to review and the conversation and take action.

To turn on Vanish Mode, users can swipe up on the chat then swipe up again to turn it off. As a part of that update, Instagram also received many Messenger-inspired additions — like the ability to change the chat color or react with any emoji. The addition of vanish mode gives Facebook a competitive edge over Snapchat whose default setting is based on disappearing messages.


Twitter

New Carousel Ad Format Option

Twitter’s newest ad format option is here: Carousels. Now, marketers can add up to six images or videos in an ad.

Carousel ads have seen much success on other social platforms with Sprout Social reporting that Carousel ads on Facebook and Instagram drive 10 times more web traffic for businesses than single-image ads. Another Facebook study reports that Carousel ads drive 72% higher click-through rate than single images.

In testing their version of carousel ads, Twitter shared that App carousel ads “boosted installs per impression an average of 24% compared with single-asset formats, while website carousel ads boosted the average clickthrough rate (CTR) about 15%, Twitter found in its testing of the carousel format.”

Carousels are now available globally. Marketers can create these ads in their Ads Manager or through the API.


Quick Recap (Social Media Updates):

  • Instagram: Instagram Adds Shopping Tags to Reels, Keyword Search to Profiles and Tags
  • WhatsApp: WhatsApp Adds ‘Carts’ to its Shopping Experience
  • Facebook: Facebook Adds ‘Vanish Mode’ in Instagram and Messenger
  • Twitter: New Carousel Ad Format Option

Tune in next month for another round of social media updates!


By Hiba Traboulsi

Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: November 2020

Top Social Media Updates You Need to Know: November 2020

Christmas music is playing in stores, trees are shedding their leaves and fuzzy socks are finally making an appearance — the holidays are officially around the corner. During this time of the year, shoppers are on the lookout for all types of purchases. As a business, you can reach your ideal customer with strategic and innovative solutions, and social media platforms are making it easier for businesses to win sales with new tools and features. From new Pinterest ad options to TikTok’s latest eCommerce partnership, here are the top social media updates this November.


Social Media Updates

Instagram

Instagram and Messenger Cross-Platform Messaging

There’s a new integration in the social media world and it’s between Instagram Direct and Messenger. People using the Messenger app can now reach you on Instagram without you needing to download a new app, and vice versa. This means that you can cross message from Messenger and Instagram, and you’ll be able to see your Messenger threads in Instagram Direct. But your existing Instagram messages and call details will only be available in Instagram, at least at this point. 

Instagram social media updates November

Pinterest

The holiday period is fast approaching and Pinterest is on top of it. To help retailers make the best out of this busy shopping season, Pinterest announced a range of new features designed to help merchants maximize reach and sales, including new ‘storefront’ profiles and a new shopping ad format. Here are the latest updates:

New Ad Slots

With the holiday shopping season around the corner, Pinterest is helping businesses reach more people with new ad slots. As more people use Pinterest to shop and look for ideas and products from brands and retailers, Pinterest is integrating ads into more shopping experiences across the platform to deliver relevant content where it’s welcomed by shoppers.

Pinterest social media updates November

Now, advertisers will be able to place ads in Pinterest Lens matches, the ‘Shop’ tab within Pinterest search, and even shopping matches on Pins. Pinterest is also looking to give marketers more data on the path to conversion from each Pin with new, in-depth insights on specific Pin performance.

New Ways to Shop

Pinterest’s updated the Shop tab on business profiles, putting more emphasis on the presentation for browsing in an effort to replicate the in-store shopping experience.

Pinterest's new Shop Tab

According to Pinterest, the updated enables merchants to ”transform their shop tab into a storefront with featured in-stock products organized by category, featured product groups and dynamically-created recommendations.” 

The update provides businesses with more ways to showcase their products on the Shop tab, encourage shoppers to make a purchase. 

Merchant Storefront Profile and Discovery

A “recommended for you” feature goes a long way and especially on Pinterest. When users search for shopping-related ideas, they will now also be shown a list of recommended merchants in their search results. Talk about a boost in traffic and exposure for your business – this feature could see significant traffic pushed in your direction, if the products are a good match for the search query.

Pinterest merchant storefront discovery

New Product Tagging

Make your store a one-stop-shop for users by tagging your products alongside your photos. Pinterest is testing a new product tagging option which could give merchants the ability to tag their own images with exact products. However, note that businesses have been able to tag products within Collection pins for some time, but this new option gives businesses additional options for product tags, which provides added promotional opportunities.

Pinterest new product tagging

Catalog Updates

For an even more streamlined shopping experience, Pinterest is also improving its catalog ingestion process, making it faster and simpler for merchants to upload their catalogs and activate shopping ads. This new improvement will include “faster Catalog feed ingestion, video as the main hero image in collections, collections as a new shopping ad format and a new preferred scheduling tool” that enables retailers to upload products on their own time.

Pinterest Catalog Updates

Paid Promotions

Lastly, Pinterest is improving its paid promotions by bringing together Catalogs and collections to make collections a shopping ad format. For an elevated look, brands can now also select a main asset and a corresponding product group to create a multi-image ad unit.

Additionally, take your brand’s story to the next level with a new video option as a hero in a Collections ad unit, further expressing your brand story. Seeing that video views on Pinterest have increased more than 3x in 2020, this video unit could provide a great opportunity to maximize your Pin promotions and increase interest in your products.


Facebook

Facebook Removes 20% Text Limit on Ad Images

Facebook is removing its restrictions on ads which include more than 20% text in the main image. This new update removes any reach restriction for this, meaning that ads with more than 20% text in the main image will be displayed, as normal, and will reach the same amount of people as any other Facebook ad. Facebook still maintains that ad images with less than 20% text perform better, and recommends that advertisers keep their text short, clear and concise in order to get their message across effectively.

With less than 50 days to Christmas, Facebook has released a range of new products to help retailers make the most of the season. These include:

Ads with Product Tags on Instagram

Businesses can now add product tags to their Instagram ads within Ads Manager, enabling people to discover and shop your product more easily. Product tags are not a foreign concept to Instagram – brands have been able to tag their products in organic posts since 2016, but until now, businesses couldn’t add these tags directly in their ads. The available formats for ads with product tags include photos, videos and carousels.

Facebook social media updates November

New Custom Audience Options

Facebook’s adding some new Custom Audience options to help businesses retarget the warm audiences who’ve showed an interest in purchasing from them.

According to Facebook, “With Shopping Engagement Custom Audiences, businesses now have the ability to reach people who’ve already shown interest in their product or brand by doing things like saving a product, viewing a shop or initiating a purchase. And with Shopping Lookalike Audiences, you can grow your customer base by reaching shoppers who have similar interests to your existing customers on Facebook and Instagram.”

With 70% of customers more likely to convert when retargeted with display ads, this update could prove to be a highly effective tactic. Facebook’s Lookalike Audience are also a powerful opportunity to reaching people with similar traits to those who are already purchasing from you.

Discount Feature for Facebook Shops

If you have a Facebook Shop, now’s the time to take advantage of the upcoming holiday season by sharing your discounted products on Facebook and Instagram.

Facebook social media updates November

According to Facebook, “You’ll be able to put individual products on sale, create offers that can be automatically applied – like “Spend $50 and get 10% off each eligible item” – or offer a discount on an item by letting customers apply a promo code. To make sure customers know of the discount options available to them and pique their interest, you can get creative by adding a banner to your shop.”

Facebook’s discount feature will make it much easier for businesses to run quick promotions in their Facebook shops, which could play a key role in getting more customers interested in your products. 


WhatsApp

New Business Features

What started as a messaging app is now evolving into a business-savvy solution for brands to connect with their customers in a faster, more efficient way. In recent weeks, WhatsApp announced that it will focus on expanding its in-app shopping options and give brands new tools for managing their interactions to maximize its business potential. Here are the latest updates on WhatsApp Business:

Shopping:
Due to the increase in business activity in 2020, WhatsApp is making it easier to expand ways for people to check out available products and make purchases right from a chat, with the availability for businesses to integrate these features into their existing commerce and customer solutions.

Facebook Hosting Services:  
To accommodate the varying technology needs that businesses require to best accommodate their customers, WhatsApp is planning to expand their partnerships with business solution providers. Additionally, the messaging platform will also provide businesses the option to manage their WhatsApp messages via hosting services, which will be offered by WhatsApp.

WhatsApp will charge business customers for some of the services offered. At this point, it’s not clear what services WhatsApp will be charging for but as you consider the next steps for your business in WhatsApp commerce, keep the potential costs in mind as these services roll out in the months to come.


TikTok

New Partnership with Shopify

With businesses continuing to rely on digital tools to serve their customers, TikTok has now integrated more eCommerce options by announcing a global partnership with Shopify. 

As explained by TikTok:

“Today, we’re announcing a global partnership with Shopify that will help more than a million merchants create and run campaigns directly geared toward TikTok’s highly engaged community.”

TikTok social media updates November

Shopify merchants can access core functions of TikTok’s Ads Manager without leaving the Shopify dashboard. Highlights include: 

  • New, “1-click” pixel: Shopify merchants can install or connect their TikTok Pixel with a click of a button, making it quicker and easier to track conversions.
  • A One-Stop-Shop for TikTok Campaigns: Merchants can create campaigns, target audiences and track performance in one place.
  • Creative Made Simple: Everyone has a story to tell on TikTok, and the TikTok channel enables Shopify merchants to create native, shareable ads that resonate with the community. TikTok’s intuitive creative tools help turn merchants’ products into high-quality TikToks in minutes.
  • Free Ad Credit: Eligible merchants can claim a $300 ad credit to jumpstart their first TikTok campaign.

It’s an exciting time for businesses of all sizes to reach their ideal customers on TikTok. Looking to get started with advertising on TikTok? Get in touch with us today.


Snapchat

New ‘Sounds’ Option within Snaps

Snapchat is bringing music to its platform with a new feature called “Sounds,” which similar to TikTok, allows users to add song clips to their Snaps and Stories.

Snapchat Sounds in Snaps

With Sounds on Snapchat, users can add music to their Snaps (pre- or post-capture) from a curated catalog of music. When you receive a Snap with Sounds, you can swipe up to view the album art, song title, and the name of the artist, an opportunity especially relevant to music marketers. Beyond TikTok and Instagram’s Reels, Sounds will help Snapchat stay relevant and competitive, even if only iOS users get access at first.


LinkedIn

LinkedIn Launches Stories to all Users

LinkedIn has a new look and at the heart of it is the platform’s own version of Stories. The Instagram-style format will enable brands to reach out to members using photos and videos of up to 20 seconds long, offering a more casual and immediate way to share news, insight and highlights.

LinkedIn stories rollout

According to LinkedIn, Stories is inspired by the platform’s community of members and organizations that come together to help, support, and inspire one another, which seems to be especially beneficial during these times. Have you found success connecting with your network on LinkedIn Stories? Let us know in the comments below!

Quick Recap (Social Media Updates):

  • Instagram: Instagram and Messenger cross-platform messaging
  • Pinterest: New Ads Slots, New Ways to Shop, Merchant Storefront Profile and Discovery, New Product Tagging, Catalog Updates, Paid Promotions
  • Facebook: Facebook Removes 20% Text Limit on Ad Images, Ads with Product Tags on Instagram, New Custom Audience Options, Discount Feature for Facebook Shops
  • WhatsApp: New Business Features
  • TikTok: New Partnership with Shopify
  • Snapchat: New ‘Sounds’ Option within Snaps
  • LinkedIn: LinkedIn Launches Stories to all Users

Tune in next month for another round of social media updates!


If you are looking to improve your social media results or have questions regarding the latest platform updates, we’d love to chat!