LinkedIn has introduced a targeting service for advertisers on its business-centric network, just three weeks after closing its ad network due to operating costs.

Launched today (March 2), the feature allows advertisers to target sponsored content – including InMail and updates – to individual profiles connected to up to 30,000 separate companies.

The company’s head of product, Russell Glass, hasn’t shied away from comparing the service to its would-be competitors, such as Facebook Custom Audiences and Twitter’s Tailored Audiences.

Account-based marketing

The crucial aspect for data-centred businesses is that the service allows them to integrate their own sales account data and cross-reference it with LinkedIn’s database, used alongside inbuilt targeting features, such as location or job title.

LinkedIn has seized on an opportunity here, with the launch of the platform following an eMarketer survey last year that found this type of ‘account-based marketing’ ‘extremely’ or ‘very’ important to 92% of B2B marketers.

With just 20% in the same study reporting they had an account-based marketing strategy in place, the social network could be set to make some good ground in the sector.

Streamlining services

LinkedIn put its ad network to bed after only 12 months, having acquired ad tech firm Bizo in July 2015 for $175 million to back the technology. At the time of close, it reported that the expense of maintaining and growing it offset a potential $50 million in revenue.

However, sponsored content remains to be the group’s most profitable source of income – comprising 52% of total earnings within Q4 2015.

LinkedIn Account Targeting allows B2B advertisers to select a list of companies they’d like to reach from the eight million on its network, with the added ability of being able to filter profiles based on job function and level.  

The service represents a big step up from the social media site’s previous service, which only allowed for the targeting of 2,000 – 5,000 accounts.