LinkedIn, has released new features, that allows advertisers on the professionally focused social network to target users based on their job title, age group, the company that they work for, and the LinkedIn group to which they belong. This would allow marketers to target users more accurately. Prior to this, LinkedIn only allowed for ads to be targeted based upon location and industry.
LinkedIn has moved down this path, due to a huge demand by advertisers. According to Jack Chou, senior product manager at LinkedIn:
We’ve been hearing from a number of advertisers that they love our audience and context and what they are able to do already, but they want more than that. Letting them target specific companies and job titles really opens up the door to a new level of targeting for them.
Facebook already has a huge lead in banner advertisement over other social networks, partly because it was the first to allow advertisers to target users based on their interests, gender, location, relationship status, and likes etc. According to comScore, these features have enabled Facebook to gain a massive foothold in display advertising, with one out of every four display ads on Internet being served by Facebook in Q3 of 2010.
LinkedIn has been testing these ad capabilities in limited beta since late 2010. The full scale rollout was delayed partly due to the fact that job titles were not standardized across LinkedIn. LinkedIn members could punch in any title that they wanted, which resulted in multiple names for the same job. This free flowing title creation has now been standardized across LinkedIn and users are only allowed to select a job title from a pre-defined list, thereby enabling advertisers to better target users.
The new changes would definitely allow LinkedIn to replicate Facebook’s success in display advertising. LinkedIn has been profitable for the past couple of years now and the company was valued at $3 billion in its latest secondary auction at SharesPost.