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LinkedIn is opening up its vast troves of content to third-party apps and websites by allowing marketers to target their sponsored content via the all-new LinkedIn Audience Network.

The Microsoft-owned professional networking service, used by more than 500 million people globally, has actually launched versions of the LinkedIn Audience Network in the past, including way back in 2008, and more recently in 2015. But the company’s latest endeavor has been reimagined with a focus on mobile and native ads.

“The difference is that this a completely new experience that is focused on mobile and native formats,” explained LinkedIn product manager Divye Raj Khilnani to VentureBeat. “What’s more, today the LinkedIn Audience Network offers greater advertiser control and reporting.”

LinkedIn said 6,000 advertisers participated in the Audience Network program during its beta phase, seeing, on average, an increase of three to 13 percent in unique impressions served, with an up to 80 percent increase in unique clicks.

“This means that advertisers running campaigns in the Audience Network are reaching new people they hadn’t yet engaged on one of LinkedIn’s owned and operated properties,” noted Khilnani.

How it works

The LinkedIn Audience Network targets LinkedIn members who have recently logged in to their account. They may then start seeing sponsored content on subsequent websites and mobile apps they visit, though Khilnani told VentureBeat that the vast majority of the mobile impressions are served in apps.

LinkedIn is working with a number of ad exchanges for the program, including MoPub, Rubicon, and Sharethrough, which deliver sponsored content to a variety of websites and apps such as MSN.com, Outlook.com, and MyFitnessPal.

Naturally, brands may wish to steer clear of specific websites or apps, which is why the LinkedIn Audience Network allows marketers to stipulate which publishers their content appears on.

Facebook has offered its own Audience Network for a few years already, as has Google with its Display Network, and both represent a significant chunk of the companies’ respective ad revenues. Indeed, why limit your revenue to ads viewed on your own properties when consumers typically spend most of their online time elsewhere?

“The LinkedIn Audience Network is designed to increase your marketing footprint beyond the LinkedIn platform so you can extend your campaign’s reach, deliver on your budget more easily, and get your content in front of the right people, wherever they are,” continued Khilnani.

To help sell the service, LinkedIn will also allow marketers to download performance reports that show the number of clicks and impressions and the engagement time. “This allows you to compare your network performance to your onsite performance,” Khilnani added.

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