LinkedIn Rolls Out Carousel Ads to ‘Humanize’ B2B Marketing

In similar fashion to its consumer-facing counterparts, B2B social network LinkedIn has launched Carousel Ads, allowing advertisers to display up to 10 customized, swipeable cards within one ad.

According to a blog post by product manager, Rohin Rajiv, the company hopes the update will “humanize” B2B marketing efforts and add a little color to an otherwise non-too-descript news feed, encouraging users to engage with brands on both desktop and mobile.

The approach seems to be working; of the 300 advertisers that have conducted beta trials so far including Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, RBC, and Volvo Canada, some 75% have noted increased engagement and click-through rates.

Wrapping the format up in its broader place among the company’s existing ad units, Rajiv says Carousel will make every stage of the buyer’s journey count, allowing brands to raise awareness and consideration, send traffic to multiple landing pages, and seamlessly generate leads using its Lead Gen Forms product.

For the ROI-driven marketer, meanwhile, metrics of ad performance can be accessed including click-through rates, the number of leads generated, and impressions for each individual card, all of which will be integrated to its Campaign Manager tool in the coming months.

Slow and steady

While LinkedIn’s innovation on the ad tech front has been comparatively slow and steady – at least compared to the hotly-competitive arena of consumer-based networks, it has carved out a valuable, if slightly underappreciated, dominance in B2B marketing.

Amid the various ad formats that have been pushed out quietly over the last few years including a programmatic display and targeted sponsored content, some 26% of B2B marketers claimed plans to shell out over £300K on its video ad placements alone in 2018.

LinkedIn also ranks highest among social networks for lead generation thanks to its high-intent user base of over 500m professionals and is considered the safest platform for digital advertisers’ brands, according to a poll by GumGum and Digiday.

Apple Takes Aim at Facebook User Tracking Features

Apple has announced it will be making efforts to block Facebook’s user tracking tools within the next iteration of its iOS and Mac operating systems.

Announced at its WWDC developer conference yesterday (June 4), the tech firm’s software chief, Craig Federighi, said on the social network’s automatic tracking features, “we’re shutting that down”.

Those tracking tools in question allude to Facebook’s like buttons, share buttons and comment fields, which when integrated on a publisher’s site – even if not interacted with directly by the user – can be used to track users across the web using a cookie, providing advertisers with a wealth of valuable data on users’ browsing habits.

This is available to all other pages with the features integrated; a substantial amount given that the buttons are a requirement for any site wanting to drive traffic from Facebook.

When unveiling the new features on Safari – which will request via popup for user permission before allowing Facebook to attach a cookie – Apple’s Federighni made little effort to hide the firm’s disdain for user-tracking techniques.

“We’ve all seen these – these like buttons, and share buttons and these comment fields. Well it turns out these can be used to track you, whether you click on them or not,” said Federighni, according to BBC News.

“Do you want to allow Facebook.com to use cookies and available data while browsing? You can decide to keep your information private.”

With certain sources believing the move could throw down the gauntlet for other browsers to follow suit, the update will change how Safari loads content and the level of information it provides while doing so, with browsers typically releasing data to any plugin that requests it.

But while Facebook was the only company directly called out on stage, the change could have similar implications to its key competitor in ad tech Google, which also relies on tracking users to deliver targeted ads.

In addition to the browser update, Apple also revealed it would be rolling out an update to MacOS Mojave that would crack down on ‘fingerprinting’, where advertisers aim to tracked users who delete their cookies by identifying configuration details such as fonts and plug-ins installed.

Apple will therefore present web pages with less detail about a user’s specific computer; “As a result your Mac will look more like everyone else’s Mac, and it will be dramatically more difficult for data companies to uniquely identify your device,” said Federighi.

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