Influencer Marketing

By Ringside Talent Partners

June 3, 2024

Influencer marketing has become big business on TikTok and Instagram, where popular creators can make good money by helping brands promote their stuff. Now, LinkedIn wants in the game.

As of last week, LinkedIn is letting advertisers pay to amplify posts from users, including those with sizable followings. Its product, called Thought Leader ads, launched in a limited capacity last year.

The Microsoft-owned business is looking for a jolt, as LinkedIn’s revenue growth has been stuck in single digits since 2022. The company is turning to its membership, which topped 1 billion in November, to help fuel expansion.

Influencer marketing to date has largely been a phenomenon of consumer apps, where shticks and gimmicks can turn internet-savvy creators into celebrities with millions of followers. Almost two-thirds of U.S. social media marketing dollars this year will flow to Instagram parent Meta and TikTok’s Chinese owner ByteDance, with Instagram and TikTok picking up a combined 2 percentage points of additional share by 2026, according to estimates from eMarketer.

LinkedIn, which was launched a year before Facebook, will grab just 4% of the market, equal to $4.5 billion in marketing revenue, eMarketer says, and its share will remain flat over the next two years.

“It takes a long time for ads and ad formats to really take root,” said Max Willens, a senior analyst at eMarketer, referring to LinkedIn’s latest endeavor.

LinkedIn introduced Thought Leader ads last year but with limited use. Brands could only amplify posts from their own employees. Mastercard, for example, promoted posts written by some of its leaders in Singapore, with one receiving over 500 notifications on the first day. LinkedIn has used Thought Leaders ads itself for some posts from operating chief Dan Shapero, but not yet for CEO Ryan Roslansky.

By opening up Thought Leader ads, LinkedIn is letting anyone boost a post as long as the author grants permission. Social media marketer Brendan Gahan is so bullish on the format that he’s focusing much of his efforts on helping companies use Thought Leader ads.

“In an era where brand safety is a big issue, LinkedIn has a leg up, particularly in contrast to Twitter,” said Gahan, who started an agency last year called Creator Authority, referring to the social media platform now known as X.

Courtesy of CNBC