LinkedIn’s ad platform allows advertisers to target users by factors including company name, LinkedIn group affiliation, and job title. LinkedIn’s professional nature makes it especially suited for targeting specific industries, companies, or roles – increasing ad relevance, potentially even outside of the network itself if partnerships with digital ad networks form.
Besides targeted campaigns, some companies are already using LinkedIn creatively to personalize marketing campaigns. Volkswagen, for example, ran a digital campaign in the Netherlands where users could compete against others in their LinkedIn network on factors like number of connections and recommendations. The simple campaign isn’t highly innovative – it can and has easily been done with other networks like Facebook – but it’s a first step toward more creative ways to personalize campaigns. This type of personalization will start to be really valuable when brands use these campaigns to spur longer conversations and relationships with prospects and customers.
Network visualization and clustering
LinkedIn Labs released InMaps early this year, providing a visual representation of users’ networks (pictured above). Using the map, clusters in a network become clear, and it’s simple to group connections based on a user’s relationship with them.
Imagine similar uses of LinkedIn data to identify clusters in other populations, like as an added layer of data in a company’s CRM tools. Marketers could use these clusters to identify highly connected influencers, or trends among customers – for example, finding a certain tablet computer to be popular among CMOs but less popular among IT users.
Similar trends can even be analyzed at the company-specific level. “I’ve been told that Goldman Sachs uses LinkedIn data to measure the stability of a company,” says Proclivity founder Sheldon Gilbert. “If that helps them make better investments, then they have extracted quite a bit of value.”
Understanding your company’s (or a competitor’s) trends in hiring, turnover, and promotions can reveal a lot about the business – even more than just the company’s overall health. For example, if you notice a competitor seriously beefing up their product engineering department with professionals experienced in Facebook’s API, you could get an early indication of what they’re planning to develop for the social network.
Whether LinkedIn can maintain their high post-IPO value remains to be seen, but don’t assume it’s all hype. As rumors of public offerings from other social networks and tools swirl, the richness of their data – and their ability to glean useful, meaningful insights from it, fast – will determine their true value.