In March, LinkedIn launched Sponsored InMail, an ad solution that allows marketers to send promotional messages to the InMail inboxes of LinkedIn users.
At the time, it required that marketers work through a LinkedIn account representative to execute campaigns, but last week, LinkedIn, which Microsoft is buying for $26.2 billion, opened Sponsored InMail to self-service campaigns that marketers can set up and run through the LinkedIn Campaign Manager.
Marketers can target their Sponsored InMail messages by filters such as location, company, industry, title, skills and education, and to set a call-to-action that is displayed prominently in the message.
LinkedIn handles all of the formatting to ensure that Sponsored InMail messages look good on desktop and mobile, and provides marketers with a variety of analytics data, such as opens and clicks. The popular professional social network also offers marketers the ability to A/B test variations of their content.
LinkedIn will only deliver Sponsored InMail messages to active users, and users can opt out of receiving these. The company also caps the frequency with which these messages are delivered so as to ensure that users aren’t overwhelmed with marketing campaigns.
According to LinkedIn, “Over 450M professionals worldwide gather on LinkedIn to stay connected and informed, advance their careers, and work smarter. This makes LinkedIn the most effective platform to engage the decision-makers, influencers, and people that matter most to your business.”
LinkedIn says that Sponsored InMail is ideal for both brand awareness and direct response campaigns. For the latter, LinkedIn highlights the ability to use Sponsored InMail to drive event and webinar registration and to distribute content, such as whitepapers, infographics and demos.
You’ve got email 2.0
Despite the fact that it is one of the oldest digital marketing mediums, email remains one of the most important digital marketing mediums and effective when used properly.
But with more and more email-like communications taking place through on-platform messaging systems like LinkedIn InMail and in dedicated messaging apps like WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger and Viber, marketers should also consider extending their email strategies to include these platforms and apps, which increasingly offer paid ad products.
Facebook recently opened sponsored messages to all marketers on Facebook Messenger, and many have speculated that WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, will eventually offer similar types of ad products. Last week, Viber unveiled Public Accounts for brands.
Sponsored InMail, however, stands out because it’s ideally-suited to B2B marketers who may struggle to put Facebook and other consumer-oriented platforms to good use. For that reason, expect savvy B2B marketers to give it a look.
With social media reach and engagement rates having dipped so precipitously over the last year or so, paying to play is the only option for most brands now.
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