LinkedIn Converts Bizo Into A Full-Funnel Marketing Solutions Suite

RussGlassLinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner referenced a “re-envisioned” marketing solution suite coming soon during the company’s Q4 earnings, and it appears he acted swiftly.

The company on Thursday rolled out two products: LinkedIn Network Display and LinkedIn Lead Accelerator. [The company's blog post.]

Network Display is an ad product reaching across 2,500 publisher sites as well as LinkedIn itself. Lead Accelerator combines lead generation and full-funnel nurturing for marketers looking to target business professionals.

These features also change the way LinkedIn is able to sell its ad units. Previously, LinkedIn sold formats like Sponsored Updates individually, but now it is packaging that inventory as part of its marketing suite, which includes newer capabilities like multichannel nurturing, CRM matching and audience extension.

Lenovo is one brand that's beta-testing the LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, which Demand-Gen Strategy Manager Michael Ballard said improved response rates by tenfold when targeting display with outbound email.

Most of these new features come from Bizo, the B2B data marketing platform and exchange LinkedIn acquired for $175 million last July.

“We integrated the technology and analytics we built with Bizo with LinkedIn’s audience and content-marketing [offerings],” said Russ Glass, Bizo’s co-founder and head of products at LinkedIn Marketing Solutions, a unit that contributes 24% to the company’s total revenue.

Through this integration, LinkedIn is looking to tackle full-funnel marketing – from awareness at the outset of customer acquisition to lower-funnel lead gen.

Glass spoke with AdExchanger about the next iteration of Bizo under LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

AdExchanger: Are LinkedIn Network Display and LinkedIn Lead Accelerator the next iterations of the Bizo Business Audience Exchange and Bizo Marketing Automation?

RUSS GLASS: That’s accurate and fair. We are obviously bringing in rich LinkedIn audience data into these products, too. In the case of LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, we’re integrating our content products so we’ll be able to nurture audiences on Sponsored Updates in addition to advertising across the web, the news feed and mobile advertising. We’re also adding something called AutoFill, so that as we nurture these prospects down the funnel, with one click they can use their LinkedIn data to help fill out these forms and drive up conversion rates for marketers.

Is this the first step toward revamping the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions platform?

We’re expanding the Marketing Solutions suite. We had onsite display advertising and content-oriented products (Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail), which we’re expanding with the LinkedIn Network Display product.

We’ve integrated Bizo’s nurturing capability and analytics with all of the LinkedIn products to allow marketers to acquire customers, nurture them and understand what behaviors they’re exhibiting onsite and on landing pages, and nurture those audiences to a closed state. It’s very much a bottom-funnel addition to the mix.

How do these different products fit into LinkedIn’s desire to create a full-funnel suite?

Our content products are mid-funnel, display is at the top of the funnel and LinkedIn Lead Accelerator is at the bottom of the funnel.

We’re also exposing our targeting API, which will allow marketers to bring in any business data set to inform targeting as well as create [segments around things like] nurturing people who have or haven’t been to your website before.

Can you do CRM matching or put prospect lists up against the LinkedIn audience data set?

That will be available at launch Thursday. Marketers can take a list of CRM prospects, a list of companies, even lists of information out of their DMP and feed that into the LinkedIn platform. [They can] use that to refine nurture streams. All marketer data – be it website data, landing-page data, CRM data, DMP data – can be fed into this system to orchestrate these highly relevant messages.

Why did you sunset the Bizo Data Solutions business?

LinkedIn is very much a members-first organization. We wanted to make sure we had all the necessary controls in place and could manage the process of audiences being targeted in a safe and privacy-controlled manner. We didn’t feel like we had enough control there – it can be like a Wild West out there.

In the Bizo world, it was okay because that data was totally anonymous end-to-end. In our new world, we’re dealing with member data that has PII associated with it so we wanted to control that. The other big reason is we believe we have the most effective platform and understand how to use our data effectively with that platform.

What’s unique about LinkedIn data that benefits marketers?

Our intelligence about our [nearly 350 million members] is unrivaled. Bizo brings more insight on pixeling, analytics and technology infrastructure LinkedIn had not traditionally had in the past. We can add an extra layer of intelligence to see where we’re placing these ads [and] how we’re placing these ads.

Liquidity is hugely important. If someone buys a million impressions from you and you only have a million impressions against that audience, there’s no such thing as optimization. You’re just serving the impression. But because we have so much scale against these audiences, we have tremendous liquidity to optimize and move the needle. That’s a differentiator that’s often overlooked.

LinkedIn’s invested a lot in content marketing and long-form publishing. How are you monetizing that?

We just rereleased Sponsored InMail a few weeks ago, which is longer-form content you can put inside somebody’s inbox. It’s very limited in terms of how often it can be delivered to a member. We have very strict frequency caps on that. So because of that, it works.

 

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