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In the beginning of September, LinkedIn debuted its own Audience Network, making it look even more like Facebook. While LinkedIn Sponsored Content has always let you reach a professional audience in the news feed, the new product enables advertisers to reach LinkedIn members on apps and websites that aren’t operated by the business-networking site.

The company first introduced a version of their Audience Network back in 2008. But this new iteration has something extra, in the form of LinkedIn’s partnership with Microsoft.

Through Microsoft’s expanded network, LinkedIn will have a broader reach than previous, which will give advertisers more ways to re-target users off-platform. And the benefits of that could be significant.

LinkedIn declared that more than 6,000 advertisers have participated in their Audience Network beta program, adding that they saw an increase in unique impressions ranging between 3% and 13%, and up to an 80% increase in unique clicks. After using the program, one of the participants- financial services and insurance provider Hiscox – declared that their campaign exceeded the benchmarks for the financial services industry by nearly 400%.

Reach more professionals

The network can help you to target the right audience, expand your marketing footprint, deliver on budgets, and effectively measure the ROI of your sponsored content campaigns.

The unique dataset of LinkedIn Audience Network gives you the possibility to reach people with a certain job title, that are working for a certain company or decision-makers in specific sectors. Compared with other networks like Google or Facebook, LinkedIn has the advantages of reaching professionals. And because LinkedIn acts as a digital resume, its users are better incentivized to keep their details up to date, which means more accurate targeting.

In addition, because Audience Network campaigns only serve to LinkedIn members, you can be sure that your ads are clicked by real people.

Brand Safety & Quality Initiatives

LinkedIn and their ad exchange partners took several steps to ensure that your content appears on brand-safe placements within the Audience Network.

For promoting brand safety and quality, the company reviews partner publishers to ensure they meet their advertising guidelines. LinkedIn monitors its network for bot traffic in order to detect fraudulent activity and cut any offending publishers. Also, you can block your ads from serving on all publishers within specific IAB categories, and you can block your ads from serving on specific mobile apps and desktop domains where you do not want your content to appear.

According to an article published by LinkedIn, the Audience Network exchange partners also promote brand safety and quality through by maintaining their own publisher block lists to ensure a higher quality standard for native ad inventory.

Using LinkedIn Audience Network for your campaign

After you create a Sponsored Content campaign, you need to go in your campaign’s targeting page, where LinkedIn Audience Network is enabled by default. If you want to disable the feature, just unclick checkbox next to ”Enable delivery on the LinkedIn Audience Network”.

The next step is to control your brand presence. LinkedIn automatically excludes low-quality publishers from the Audience Network and blocks any publishers that do not conform to our ad guidelines. For additional control, you can upload a block list- CSV or TXT file- to prevent your ads from serving on specific publishers or entire IAB categories of apps and websites.

Regarding your block list, you can upload a list containing up to 20,000 website domains, iTunes App Store URLs, or Android play Store URLs you want to block. It is important to mention that it may take up to 48 hours for LinkedIn system to process your list and apply it to your campaign.

Once uploaded, your block list will be available to apply to other campaigns. You can find and select previously uploaded lists by typing the list name in the exclude text box on the Audience page and selecting it from the dropdown.

For ads performance reporting, you can export and download a CSV file from Campaign Manager that provides all of the campaign details and the following metrics: impressions, clicks, Click Through Rate, Average CPC, Average CPM and Total Spent. You can export reports that display your campaign performance by channel: in the LinkedIn newsfeed, on the LinkedIn Audience Network, or combined.

According to an article published on LinkedIn Help section, your content could look slightly different depending on the ad size on the site where it will be displayed. Your image may be cropped and your text may be truncated depending on the ad specs for each individual site.

Regarding the campaign costs, LinkedIn mentioned that will honor the bid and budget you set for reaching your audience on LinkedIn and beyond, with no extra cost. The only difference is that you may find that your campaigns reach their budget faster, as your impressions will likely increase.

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