LinkedIn is the latest publisher to move to a self-serve ad model. Like Facebook, it has found this model to be the solution to the advertising dilemma facing social networks; how do you control the advertising environment when the content is user generated?
The answer for both publishers has been “you don’t” – instead, they’ve reworked their offering to appeal to those customers who are unconcerned about brand.
Self serve ads don’t appeal to brands or their agencies, but that’s okay, because they don’t need to. By making use of the incredible knowledge they have about their users, social media has an enormous advantage over traditional online media, regardless of content. For direct marketers, the ability to fine-target their audience is much more valuable than potential downside. And direct marketing is big, big business – just ask Google. The industry is worth £125 billion each year in the UK alone.