LinkedIn has acquired news alert start-up Newsle in an effort to bring a Google-alert-like real-time news notification to millions of professionals networking on the social site. The major product of Newsle “scans the web to find blogs and articles that mention specific people and then return results that are relevant to those connections”. So expect to see all your former co-workers’ recent achievements blowing up your LinkedIn news feed. As LinkedIn expands it positioning from a mere professional social network to a sophisticated, multi-faceted digital career fair, it is a smart move for them to continue buffing up their news platform. Not only would it help retain users by establishing LinkedIn as a go-to site for daily consumption of professional news, it could also potentially function as a platform for some native advertising within targeted professional circles.
As many of you know, Facebook’s big news feed announcement was yesterday, and its key new feature was the “mobile-inspired interface” with bigger photos and a unified design for, “a more immersive [experience].” Yes, there was also the new organization of the feeds, the new prominence placed on visual content, and the black sidebar, but the new redesign really does mean a whole new advertisement approach to the social network. Facebook’s streamlined UI means more space for bigger featured photos, which means businesses can buy ad space that will, almost literally, take up the entire screen – this feature could mean that luxury brands that are used to larger ad spaces in magazines could easily turn these campaigns into digital projects. Image-based advertising for the social media platform instantly became richer, more visible, and much more accessible to the average user. As well, promoted links will have larger blurbs of text to read, allowing advertisers more space to legitimately sell each click, rather than just hoping for sometimes gimmicky click estimates.
In addition, Facebook’s new content-specific feeds can be a boon to advertisers, or conversely hurt them depending on how often a given user frequents specific feeds. But, the biggest plus for advertisers is that the Pages feed, now called “Following,” is much more prominent and gives users regular updates. People who want stories now have a much easier way of finding them, and in turn, clicking on the ads that they want to see. Then again, the Friends-only feed is ostensibly a no-go zone for advertisers, so trying to break into the users who tune ads out entirely by just following friends will be more challenging.
The moral of the story is that Facebook now puts much more control into the users hands; if advertisers play their cards right, however, they will be able to interact with users in a much more pronounced and nuanced fashion. There will be many more daily opportunities for advertisers, so long as they exploit these new opportunities with intent and purpose.