How LinkedIn’s API works, and how it’s different from other platform APIs
LinkedIn’s audience engagement API, in development since 2016, now sits within the Microsoft Advertising group.
LinkedIn’s audience engagement API is similar to other cloud-based analytics products, like Google’s Ads Data Hub or Facebook’s clean room service for enterprise customers, but without user-level data, Samardzija said. As an API, it also returns real-time data for specific questions (like which news stories are popular with programmatic managers in Chicago), but doesn't have the full clean room environment to house and analyze audiences.
But he said one of LinkedIn’s key differentiators is that it doesn’t include user-level data. It’s a similar API system, but other platforms use their clean rooms to enable one-to-one marketing in their environment with strict privacy controls.
Google’s Ads Data Hub has many compelling features, Samardzija said, like insights generation or measurement across search, programmatic and YouTube. But the use cases are more likely to be tied to Google-owned properties and technology.
Without user-level information, the LinkedIn audience API data can be exported and used wherever Omnicom sees fit, even if it’s to improve campaigns with some other B2B media company or another social network.
Unsurprisingly, Samardzija said that the initial use cases for Omni’s LinkedIn tool are for B2B company accounts.
The LinkedIn API is “purpose-built” for B2B media and strategy, he said, since Omni can break down the trending topics and media companies based on location, education level and business type or seniority. And he added that identifying stories that drive B2B results is particularly valuable, because sponsored content is a more important part of research for account decisions.
“B2B audiences are particularly heavy content consumers, because of the nature of that sales and education cycle,” he said. “We need to be able to focus on and closely analyze what they’re reading at any given time.”
To avoid exposing user-level data, LinkedIn’s audience engagement API returns aggregate data, breaking down audiences and preferences based on factors like education, business type and seniority, or what news stories those demos engaged with.