LinkedIn infuses social into B2B marketing

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LinkedIn infuses social into B2B marketing
LinkedIn infuses social into B2B marketing

LinkedIn recently launched a new API program, an enhancement to its LinkedIn Ad platform, to help B2B marketers bring a social element to targeting specific customers, uncovering leads, and automating campaigns.

“One of the big things that we see is...[that] people that aren't doing general consumer-based advertising for CPG, or entertainment, or commerce, but are actually trying to do B2B type advertising campaigns to drive leads and customers of technology or white papers, or free trial offers,” says Calvin Lui, president and chief strategy officer of social marketing technology company Unified—one  of the first three organizations to take part in the program. “What LinkedIn offers to that type of community is a true pay channel to reach audiences of a specific mentality with a specific type of targeting profile that you just can't find in consumer-oriented social networks.”

Along with Unified, Adobe and Bizo comprise the remaining two companies to test-drive the new program. Lui says that Unified has been purchasing media from the social network since its launch in January 2012.

“We've been working with LinkedIn on the API program for a little while now,” Lui says. “What it enables us to do is automate a lot of the leader buying and campaign reporting that we've been doing manually through the editor process.”

Using the new API program, Lui says, B2B marketers can create profiles based on company type, industry type, company size defined by employees, and job titles to better target specific customers. The interaction between LinkedIn's niche customers is one of the traits that Lui says distinguishes it from other social networks.

“One of the great things about LinkedIn is the type of audience that they bring, and the engagement model they bring with folks from their network is very unique,” he says. “When you think about B2B advertisers that want to do company profiling, or job title profiling, or any of the professional marketing or professional business-type targeting, LinkedIn is by far the best network out there to be able to bring that to market."

Lui adds that Unified intends to promote the new API program in the 2013 year.

“We're partners with Salesforce and Oracle. Their customer bases are very much B2B; many of their customers have asked us if we can help some of their B2B-type marketing programs,” Lui says. “Traditionally, that's been done through email, trade shows, [and] lead generation programs. But now, we can bring social capabilities to those marketers that have this type of demand to do specific types of marketing and measurement all the way back to ROI.”

This isn't LinkedIn's first attempt at wooing B2B marketers into its social space. The social network recently released its IT Purchasing Goes Social study, which examines the extent to which LinkedIn influences IT decision makers. According to the study, 88% of IT decision makers pay LinkedIn a visit monthly, and 85% say they use social networks for work-related purposes.

LinkedIn has opened the door for companies to join Adobe, Bizo, and Unified in the API program and is now currently accepting and evaluating applications.

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