The aim of the sponsored updates program is to let businesses engage select communities of LinkedIn members with useful information that can come in the form of an article, blog post, video or presentation, LinkedIn said. Marketers will be able to target any segment of the site's 225 million members based on professional profile data.
One sponsored update from Nissan, for instance, displayed a wide-angle photograph of the company's GT-R sports car on an airfield with fighter jets in the background, with text above it describing the car's inspiration from the U.S. Navy.
There are currently more than 3 million company pages on LinkedIn. Sponsored-update customers who are already signed on include Allstate Insurance, Charles Schwab & Co., General Electric, Mercedes-Benz, The Weinstein Company and Xerox.
Taking promotional content from advertisers and placing it into users' feeds in the form of "sponsored posts" is a common strategy now also employed by Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr. Facebook even lets individual users pay to promote their own posts through its promoted posts program.