Monday, September 15, 2008

LinkedIn Launches Its Own Ad Network

Today sees the launch of the LinkedIn advertising network. No, seriously. It's own advertising network. It may seem like an odd thing to do considering that most social networks have only just begun to embrace advertising to their site, but due to such a high demand from advertisers the site has decided to go all the way. In conjunction with ad network Collective Media (which targets high-end media sites), LinkedIn will let other select sites target its users when they visit those partner sites.

As a general rule in online campaigning, social network based ads don't usually sell for more than $1 CPM. So another oddity to discoover that LinkedIn’s rate card has display ads starting at $30 CPM and rocketing up to $76.50, while A little cheaper from $12 to $20 CPMs come in the text ads. The rationale is obvious. In theory everyone on the site is a professional and so the targeting possibilities for advertisers is huge. But is it?

LinkedIn reports its registered user base at 27 million but comScore reports only 5.2 million users (from the U.S.) visited the site in July (8.7 million worldwide). Further to this LinkedIn claims that the average income of its members is $55,000, 64 percent are male, the average age is 41, and 49 percent are decision makers. Of course none of these stats are based on anything other then registration data.

It seems to be becoming more and more obvious that when it comes to selling advertising on a social network, it's not just about who has the largest audience, but who has the most valuable audience.

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