With Sponsored Updates, LinkedIn puts ads in the stream

Look familiar? The professional social network tries to boost revenue with a type of ad you're accustomed to finding on Twitter or Facebook.

Jennifer Van Grove Former Senior Writer / News
Jennifer Van Grove covered the social beat for CNET. She loves Boo the dog, CrossFit, and eating vegan. Her jokes are often in poor taste, but her articles are not.
Jennifer Van Grove
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Sponsored Update: Nissan is paying to promote its status updates to LinkedIn members. LinkedIn

Stealing a page from Facebook and Twitter, professional social network LinkedIn will now show advertisements to people in both the Web and mobile versions of the home page news feed, the company said Tuesday.

The ads, called "Sponsored Updates," behave similarly to Twitter's Promoted Tweets and Facebook's Sponsored Stories. These updates double as regular content from the LinkedIn brands that pay to promote them, but sport a sponsored label.

Just as is the case with other updates in the stream, LinkedIn's 225 million members can "like," comment on, or share the new content ads. People also can click to follow the sponsoring brand from the update, or hide an ad they don't like.

"We are focused on delivering posts that will be relevant to you. Just like other content in your feed, we will gauge your engagement with Sponsored Updates and aim to surface posts that will be useful to you," LinkedIn Product Manager Gyanda Sachdeva wrote in a blog post.

Sachdeva said that LinkedIn has been testing the ad units for the past six months with brands such as Nissan, Xerox, and Adobe. Previously, CEO Jeff Weiner said that the company was working with 20 brands in the pilot program. Weiner also has said that Sponsored Updates will be LinkedIn's first content marketing revenue stream to be offered at scale, and he believes that the units will transform the site into a professional publishing hub as marketers share their whitepapers, presentations, and news with larger audiences.

The ads are a necessary supplemental mobile revenue stream for LinkedIn, which makes a bulk of its money from selling services to recruiters. The news comes a little more than a week ahead of LinkedIn's quarterly status update with Wall Street, which is expecting the professional social network to post earnings per share of 31 cents on revenue of $354 million for the second quarter of 2013.