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LinkedIn users can now create Sponsored InMail messages using its campaign manager, the company announced today. The LinkedIn Campaign Manager can be used to track metrics and the performance of Sponsored InMail as well as text ads and sponsored content.

Sponsored InMail was first introduced as part of its platform to audience targeting platform in March.

Before today marketers, recruiters, or others who might send sponsored, targeted direct messages had to work with a LinkedIn account representative to create Sponsored InMail.

Each message will only be sent when the user is active and can include a call-to-action or encourage the download of things like white papers, ebooks, and infographics.

In another move to support marketers since Microsoft acquired the platform for $26 billion in June, last month the company added the ability to track conversion rates of leads, signups, downloads, and purchases in the campaign manager.

“Now you can create and manage your Sponsored InMail campaigns along with other self-serve products, including Sponsored Content and Text Ads, directly through Campaign Manager using your advertising account with LinkedIn,” a company spokesperson said in a blog post today.

LinkedIn allows users to send messages to users they have a connection with, while InMail can be sent to any LinkedIn user. Premium LinkedIn accounts may send five InMail messages a month.

Sponsored InMail is part of the evolution of messaging on LinkedIn. Director of product messaging Mark Hull told VentureBeat’s Ken Yeung that it plans to create an assistant bot on LinkedIn and is actively exploring other internal bot-like services to improve the messaging experience.

“We have features to do basic collaboration work. The next step is to understand what people want to do with the conversations: Is it general preparation for meetings? Check-in code? LinkedIn is learning from the conversations,” Hull said.

Messaging is increasingly used as a means of advertising.

On Tuesday, Facebook made marketing and promotion part of an update of the Messenger Platform, and last week Twitter added automated quick reply bots to operate on Direct Message.

Solutions from Twitter and Facebook are primarily business-to-consumer oriented, while LinkedIn conversations tend to center around business networking and business-to-business communication.

Half of all 330 million LinkedIn users interact with messages every week, Hull told VentureBeat in September.

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