LinkedIn Begins Testing Ads in LinkedIn Stories

LinkedIn has announced that it’s launched an initial test of ads in LinkedIn Stories, after rolling out Stories to all users back in September.

As explained by LinkedIn:

Today, we’re excited to announce that we are testing Stories Ads with a limited number of advertisers in a closed beta with all members globally. Stories Ads can help brands grow their reach with our community of more than 722M members with video and image ads. Already, we have had more than 600 advertisers activate campaigns with positive performance in clicks, views and cost metrics.”

LinkedIn Stories ads will enable marketers to utilize LinkedIn’s range of ad targeting tools to hone in on specific audiences, and reach them with full-screen video and single-image ads.

Which could be interesting – though it is also worth noting that LinkedIn hasn’t provided any data on Stories usage, outside of saying that the response to Stories has been “incredibly positive”, and that Stories have “sparked hundreds of thousands of new conversations on the platform”.

Which doesn’t really mean much. I mean, sure, LinkedIn Stories exist, but advertisers want to know how many people are using them, what the engagement rates are, how people are responding. It seems odd that, in an announcement of a new ad product, LinkedIn has provided no indicator of performance as a measure of what the addition could mean for your campaigns.

It feels like LinkedIn has tried to mask this by including its overall member number in its comments, and LinkedIn has long avoided providing active user stats in general. But right now, that would be what advertisers want to know, right? And if LinkedIn isn’t reporting its usage data, why not?

Does that mean people aren’t using Stories as much as LinkedIn would have hoped? You would assume, if LinkedIn Stories was going great, that LinkedIn would be keen to tout that. But it’s not. 

Given this, I’m not sure advertisers will be lining up to jump on LinkedIn Stories ads if/when they become available. LinkedIn does note that it will provide comparative metrics for Stories ads performance once they’re available. But still, doesn’t seem like a great launch approach.

LinkedIn says it’s currently testing Stories Ads with a beta group of advertisers, and plans to launch them more broadly in 2021.

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