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LinkedIn pitches SlideShare as advertising

The social network for professionals promotes its slideshow presentation feature as an alternative to interactive ads.

LinkedIn will start inserting SlideShare presentations as advertisements.

Get ready for some LinkedIn ads masquerading as slideshows. The company is pushing its SlideShare tool as an advertising medium within its network, LinkedIn announced today.

The network has signed on General Electric and marketing firm Constant Contact as the initial brands to try out this type of advertising.

These slideshow ads, called SlideShare Content Ads, will blend in on the LinkedIn pages, according to Meera Bhatia, head of Product Management for Marketing Solutions. The advertising will appear as a "sponsored presentation," and users can click through it within the advertisement or they can expand it into a full-page view.

"It gives better flexibility to a marketer and a larger canvas for portraying their message," she said.

It's cheaper for a company to produce a slideshow ad versus a full-blown media ad, but companies can also add any video they may have to SlideShares. Bhatia said the cost of purchasing SlideShare ad space from LinkedIn depends on how many people see the ad, but prices are comparable to a static ad.

Because only two companies are using this advertising tool at the moment, users shouldn't expect to see a bunch of these new ads, but this may change if other companies want in on the slideshow-type ads. LinkedIn is also testing the ability to "like" and share this content so users may start seeing these new SlideShare ads pop up in their feeds if that feature is successful.

SlideShare had nearly 45 million unique visitors to the site in January, according to ComScore. That's up from 29 million unique visitors in March 2012, shortly before LinkedIn bought the company in May.

Check out the SlideShare ad below advertising SlideShare ads:

Clarification, 9:28 a.m. PT: Adds language to clarify that the ad space will cost the same as other LinkedIn ad formats.