LinkedIn bolsters ad targeting; Facebook adding ads to Messenger

The social networks are courting marketing professionals with new features. Here’s the lowdown.

Step aside, Facebook and Twitter—LinkedIn is beefing up its marketing offerings.

The social platform that’s geared to professionals has announced that marketers can now target people at up to 30,000 companies at once.

Advertising Age reported that the new feature enables marketers to create large-scale targeted campaigns:

Advertisers using the service, called LinkedIn Account Targeting, are able to present a list of companies they’d like to reach, which LinkedIn will cross-reference against the 8 million businesses in its network. Targeting can be further refined so it can reach profiles based on job function or seniority. The company has also improved its targeting for Sponsored Updates and Sponsored InMail, it said.

LinkedIn’s customers were previously only able to share information with 100 companies, and they had to do so through a manual process. Most [B2B] companies want to pursue somewhere between 2,000 and 5,000 accounts, according to Russell Glass, head of products at LinkedIn.

“It will also allow customers to target—or exclude—companies if they want to do specific account-based marketing to their customer bases,” Glass told Advertising Age.

The announcement comes on the heels of the platform’s first TV spot—and the announcement that it would shut down its ad network.

Ads might be coming to Facebook Messenger

LinkedIn isn’t the only platform trying to woo marketers.

Techcrunch recently reported on a leaked Facebook document that purportedly revealed that the social network plans to launch ads within Facebook Messenger in this year’s second fiscal quarter.

The feature won’t give brand managers carte blanche to send ads via the messaging service but instead will restrict it to consumers who have already conversed with the organization:

Thankfully for users, Facebook isn’t going to let brands send ad messages to just anyone or even people who’ve liked their Pages. Only those who have voluntarily chatted with a business can be sent ads. This should somewhat limit the spam potential and annoyance. Right now, almost all messages come from one’s friends, so Facebook will likely try to preserve this high signal-to-noise ratio with limits on advertising.

In the document, Facebook urged marketers to start message threads with consumers now, so that they can take advantage of the feature when it launches.

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A Facebook rep neither confirmed nor denied the rumor, telling Techcrunch:

We don’t comment on rumor or speculation. That said, our aim with Messenger is to create a high quality, engaging experience for 800 million people around the world, and that includes ensuring people do not experience unwanted messages of any type.

However, Facebook did confirm that it added a URL short link ( which enables users to instantly open a chat thread with any organization that has a Facebook presence.

Roughly 800 million people use Facebook Messenger each month, Techcrunch reported, giving brand managers opportunities to boost relationships with consumers, even if the ad feature doesn’t pan out.

Facebook can also be a great platform for nonprofit organizations, and the social network recently launched a website to help nonprofit PR pros use it effectively.

Marketing Land explained what you can learn from it:

The new site teaches nonprofits who aren’t yet on Facebook how to get started using the platform, including information on setting up a page, enhancing it with visuals, posting to the page, promoting the page and creating a campaign strategy that is focused on paid promotion. The site also walks nonprofits through the basics of growing the community, utilizing the news feed to grab attention and to raise awareness with advertising.

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