Here were the resources we covered in the episode: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ryankmacinnis/ [email protected] twitter.com/rkmac
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LinkedIn product pages just launched. And we've got some great news about what it means for marketers coming right up on the LinkedIn Ads Show.
Welcome to the LinkedIn Ad show.
Here's your host, AJ Wilcox.
Hey there LinkedIn Ads fanatics. You may have heard about LinkedIn rolling out product pages since about the summer of 2020. We brought a friend of the show Ryan Macinnis back. And you might remember him if you listen to Episode 31. He is the Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn who's over the products marketplace. He reached out to me a couple months ago and let me know about some really cool functionality that's coming to LinkedIn. And I had to keep it a secret from all of you. Sometimes we have to do hard things. And now we finally get to spill the beans about some really cool revelations with these new product pages. But first we highlight a couple reviews. Tom Tigwell from Great Britain says, "A trusted advisor. Without a shadow of a doubt, AJ is a trusted advisor for those interested in optimizing their LinkedIn ads to deliver high quality leads. Every podcast drops value and we appreciate your wisdom. Keep it up." Thanks, Tom. You are a total stud. And then we have Alessandra from Italy. She says, "Fantastico! Just what I needed to do a professional job in setting up a campaign for a customer. Great episodes, good insights and tips, useful resources, keep them coming. And I'm listening to all the episodes and taking notes, Grazie mille, as we say here, a thousand thanks. Alessandra from Italy." You're amazing. Hello, Alessandra, thanks so much for leaving such a kind review. And it's been a little while since I've been to Italy, but boy do I miss it. Everyone who's listening I want to feature you. So definitely go to whatever platform that you listen to podcasts on and give us a rating and review and I'll totally shout you out. Okay, with that being said, let's hit it. Ryan Macinnis is a Product Marketing Manager at LinkedIn over the products marketplace, which is a really exciting area of focus for LinkedIn. He's a marketer just like us. And we're excited to feature his insight. Ryan MacInnis, super excited to have you on again. Thanks so much for coming back.
Thanks for having me.
Oh, anytime. So obviously, we've had you on a previous episode, where we were talking about the Brand and Demand Playbook. Tell us what's new with you what's changed, and what you're working on now?
Sure. So the Brand and Demand Playbook, which we launched back in September, was obviously a huge hit. And you obviously gave me the opportunity to talk about it here on your podcast. Since then, I've moved over from the sponsored messaging world where I was the product marketer for my first year at LinkedIn. And I've transitioned over to the pages team. So within the pages, ecosystem, all of the free tools that we know and love to help us expand our reach within our employee, community, or grow all of the advocacy work we're doing within our external facing communities. I joined that team at the end of last year, and I've been working on our new newest feature product pages.
Oh, yeah. So tell us first of all about product pages, what's LinkedIn's intent? And then how should we as marketers be thinking about how to leverage them and and be using them even already?
Sure. So product pages, at their core, are a new tab that companies will see that help them showcase the best of their products. And so for a long time, especially for larger companies, it's been really hard to separate your brand from your product. When you think about voice on a company page, company pages are top of funnel, maybe you're trying to share a response to something that's happening in the world or an update of what it's like to work at that company, there's really not a great place for you to spotlight and showcase products. And so if you think about product pages, this is our bottom of the funnel, pages offering, company pages, showcase pages, product pages, that give companies the ability to take all this work they've done growing their community organic community on LinkedIn, and channel that into product interest, and ultimately lead gen. That is our goal. So cultivating a product community and ultimately turning that interest into customers. And so I like to call it the digital storefront for your brand, which you know, it's kind of the greatest hits of all of your different assets on LinkedIn and on your website. So you can really showcase users that are using your product, rich media, how to use the product, as well as featured customers. Somebody like me is interested in using the product. I can see companies that aspirationally I'd like to be like and know, okay, directionally, they're using this tool to help them do what they do at that level. That's really exciting for me. So that's what it is. Our intent with it is to really give marketers one more tool in their tool belt, so they can take advantage of all of these things for free at the bottom of the funnel. And when you think about competitively smaller companies, it's really hard for them to stand out in the crowd when you're competing. In a market that has a really large incumbent, maybe you're in a noisy market, product pages are actually a great way to be discovered. So if you're a smaller company, in a space, like marketing automation, if you're looking at a competitor that has a really large following is really well known. That discovery aspect of seeing other products in that category gives you a fighting chance to be discovered and, and to showcase what you can offer to a prospective buyer. So that is our intent is to make it really easy for people who use the product to be advocates for it. And then people are interested in buying it or in the market have a really easy way to do that in correspond with the brand. And so that is some context of product pages.
Cool. Well, I don't think you'll find any marketer who's disappointed with this. This is obviously everyone wants leads, everyone wants more interaction for their products and services. So that's great. And just out of curiosity, because I know that the product pages have really been launching over here over the last few months, who's doing a really good job with their product pages. Who should we look at as an example or for advice?
Yeah, that's a great question. And so first of all start with what the experience has been like over the past year. So we've really tried to understand what does it take to provide a new page that page admins find value in that marketers are really excited about, and make sure that we're doing it in a way that also members on LinkedIn, see as valuable. So at the end of last year, we shared that more than 10,000 products are now live, they have their own pages on LinkedIn. And it's really exciting. What we're doing now is we're rolling that out to new companies within the B2B software space. So that is a large amount of companies that you'll see over the next couple months, they're gonna get access to this. And so along the way, we've seen some really great examples, a couple that I mentioned, aside from LinkedIn campaign manager tool, which I know that you've left a review on, which was great, GitHub has a really great product page. Atlassian, generally, within their products that they have, I think they do a fantastic job. listing the ideal roles that are great fits for products, I think that's another highlight of product pages is when I land as a prospective buyer on a product page, I want to relate to the problem that this company or this product is solving, and to make me feel that I'm part of a community even if I'm not already a customer. So that's another good example. And I think Asana does a great job, from a project management perspective, another example of a noisy space, and then trying to find ways to really elevate your community to be advocates for you. I think those are three examples that I would highlight,
Okay, we'll go check those out and see if we can build something similar. So from the perspective of a marketer, how do product pages help drive traffic and interest to us?
Yeah, so product pages are one of the first things that you'll see if a company has one when they land on your company page. So it's really cool that this concept of a highlight reel, or most of what's new on your product page, or products are going to be one of the first things you'll see whether it's a company has added a new product page, or somebody left a new review. That is what gets surfaced pretty high up on someone's company page. So that's really exciting. In the long term, we're always looking for ways that we're going to drive additional sources of traffic to these pages. But I think in the short term, there are so many interesting ways that you can drive traffic to this page. We've had companies like Twilio say that they've actually included this in their internal employee advocacy platform, to say, "Hey, everyone, these are the tools that we work on every single day, we just got a product page, it's really cool. Share it on LinkedIn, tell everybody to go check out this product that you're really proud of." And so that's a really interesting way to drive traffic. And we've had other companies try to figure out how they can plug this into their LinkedIn ad strategy. So I know, that was one of the things that you and I talked about previously. But within even conversation ads, if somebody is going through that flow of evaluating whether or not they'd be a good fit for a product, it's a great way to keep them on LinkedIn without sending them to your website, and potentially losing that lead when they go to a different experience. So that's how marketers today I've been driving driving traffic to these pages. And like I mentioned, we're evaluating new ways to get more eyeballs on these pages as we roll it out more.
Oh, I love that. Just out of curiosity on the reviews because people can leave reviews. Is there an opportunity for moderating or responding to maybe like lower rated one?
Yeah, it's a good question. Today, we're we're getting feedback from companies and how they'd like to interact with those who are leaving reviews. One of the things I'm personally most proud of is the very small amount of negative reviews or malicious reviews that we've seen on the platform. And I do think that there's an element of accountability that comes in your profile is tied to a person as opposed to maybe some anonymous individual that can speak differently when there's no accountability involved. And so we'll remove reviews if they're malicious and in any way they violate our terms of service, obviously or if they're false. So an example we use is, you know, LinkedIn doesn't work in New York, or there's just something that's not true. We have the tools to make sure that those are reviewed and removed if that's the case. And then we're working with page admins and marketers to understand how you'd like to respond. Do you want to be able to encourage people to upvote? reviews, make sure that the most helpful ones are first? Or would you like to go ahead and respond to the ones that are most pressing, maybe constructive, that can influence your product roadmap. So today, there's no opportunity to do that. But it's definitely something we're looking to do is to give these moderation tools an opportunity to be more involved and engaging with the community. Because at the end of the day, that's why people leave reviews because their customers, they're passionate about whatever that product is, or the problem that they solve. And we want to give marketers the ability to interact with them.
Oh, I love it. And then what about if we're marketing a certain product? Is there value in us? I think you said Asana sent out internally. Or maybe that was Twilio sent out internally, like, "Hey, everyone come in, like hop on the page and follow it." Is there value there in like, as many people as you can show that are using your product, or experts with it, to try to organically get more people seeing and exposed to the product? Is there like organic benefit there?
Yeah, there's organic benefit in a really interesting and cool way. As somebody, we just rolled this out over the last couple months, this concept of being able to see who in your network is using a certain products. So if I were to go to JIRA, because I'm on the product team, I have a lot of product managers in my network, I think I have 113 connections that use JIRA in their day to day jobs. And so as a prospective buyer of JIRA, that makes me feel awesome, it makes me feel that I know that I've kind of come to the place where my network has told me, you know, this is a form of social proof and validation that we get when buying a car or asking a friend or recommendation on something. So when you get your network to share with customers, hey, we just launched this page, please go and you know, maybe add this product as a skill to your profile, it benefits you long term, because if a prospective buyer goes to that page, and sees that folks in their network, use that product that makes them feel a lot more comfortable, maybe presenting that product to their manager, or even bringing it on themselves to go ahead and become a customer. So there's a huge opportunity there.
Oh, yeah. And I'm even thinking from an ads perspective. If someone wants to target let's say, Salesforce users. Right now, the way we have it is like Salesforce groups or Salesforce skills. It would be amazing in the future, if we had the ability to say, hey, let's target people who we know our users like they're certified users of the software. So I could definitely see how that could play into our ads targeting the future. So Ryan, before we hopped on, you were telling me about something that I thought was really exciting, which was lead gen forms on product pages. This is like being able to use the lead gen form function for something organic dealing with the company page, something that's not paid by ads. Tell us about this, like, how did you come to it? And how does it work?
Yeah, so as I mentioned earlier, product pages are great for bottom of the funnel conversion. But if you think about it from a buyer perspective, putting your website as the main CTA just feels like a lot of additional steps that someone would have to take to express interest. Like by being on a product page, you're showing a level of intent, where somebody as a marketer just would say, hey, this is pretty much as bottom of the funnel as it gets, if they go from awareness from a company page, or maybe they attended a webinar to now they're physically on the product page, looking at, you know, customer examples, and reading reviews like this is where we want to convert them. And so we were, in our mind thinking, if lead gen forms were on this page, the barrier to convert would be so low, that we would start providing a ton of value for a lot of these companies to start really promoting their product pages to start growing these communities a lot faster. And so lead gen forms on this page to your point, we've only had lead gen forms available through campaign manager for advertising platform, or if you're using it from an events perspective for from a registration point of view. And by having it on product pages, it's a really great way to expose a ton of marketers to something maybe they didn't have access to before. You know, maybe they maybe they're at a startup, they're at a company that isn't doing a ton with LinkedIn right now. They see this functionality, and it's a great way for them to say, product pages are providing a ton of great value for me today, what are ways that I can amplify this down the road, maybe I can put a product page as a carousel ad as somebody who's going through the experience of what does this page look like in the feed, or as I mentioned earlier on a conversation as if a sender is from a sales rep trying to get you to schedule a demo, and you know that maybe they're not going to do that within the first CTA product pages are a great way to evaluate that offer more. And then the Legion forum is just a great way to make sure that they within the LinkedIn ecosystem can take that action you want them to and you're still providing a ton of value while that barrier and that friction is very low.
Great, are we going to have to have a campaign manager account? to set that up? Like, is that still gonna live within campaign manager? Or will lead gen forms be available right from the company page?
Yeah, they're gonna be available right from the company page. So you would be able to download leads, right from the admin view. And you'd be able to have a lead gen form behind one of your calls to action on a product page. So yeah, it's super easy. They're gonna even be able to download them right from the admin, admin view. And then you can upload them to your marketing automation software or your CRM. But we're essentially trying to make this as easy as possible and as transparent as possible, right. I'm a page admin, and I'm really excited about the team is doing it's so exciting to see leads are coming through a page, right? It's not something that you have to have a certain skill set to have access to what the lead gen number is, or a report that's generated, so it's going to be really accessible.
Oh, and I'm assuming same partners, like you can still push right into your CRM. If you're Marketo, HubSpot, like those probably still use Zapier.
Yeah, today, when we're launching lead gen forms, we're really focused on getting feedback. So today, the main functionality will be just the download capability. And from there, within our iteration of that, it will be working with partners to make this available within how it is today and campaign manager. But we wanted to find the lightest weight way to provide value. And just to start to build that behavior, where, you know, folks know that lead gen forms are a thing, here's what their value is, maybe somebody's never heard of lead gen forms on LinkedIn before, if they've only had a company page, and then from there, start to plug into the ways that they've used lead generation and other platforms. So that's the plan.
Yeah, that seems like such a no brainer, you're already getting leads from LinkedIn organically. And it's the same experience. Of course, you're gonna say, let me start wanting to promote some things that were added.
Thank you. The other thing that I'll share that has been really cool for me to see is that many marketers, we talked to who managed company pages are different than those who run advertising campaigns on LinkedIn. So there's an opportunity for us to actually bring together marketers internally, to work on a shared objective, like if you think about historically, maybe the role of a company page or a showcase page, it's been around awareness, or it's been around trying to really grow a community at the middle to top of funnel. But a lot of these marketers really haven't had a way to contribute to a bottom of the funnel conversion metric like they would if you're running paid ads. And so we're seeing this really cool convergence, if you will, of personas within larger companies come together and actually collaborate and say, Hey, this is what what kind of messaging has worked really well on my ads, maybe you should use this in the description of a product page, or somebody who's built the product page says, Hey, we're really getting a lot of good traction on this page traffic point of view, you should think about promoting this in a piece of sponsored content or whatnot. So it's really been cool to see how those barriers have been knocked down even internally within these companies.
Oh, yeah, that interplay? I mean, you're bringing marketing teams together, which is fantastic. Everyone should be doing that. And of course, I'm going to be curious about the interplay between product pages and ads. So how can we bridge those two worlds and be able to start promoting through campaign manager? I'm assuming because it's lead gen forms, there will be like a solid interplay between the two where you could maybe promote something that you've already been running organically or vice versa? How do we think about that?
Yeah. So today, essentially, what the interplay is between campaign manager and product pages is using a product page like he would a website URL. In the early days of product pages, we're focused on two things. One is getting it to the scale that we can provide value, not only to companies but to members on LinkedIn. And then in the second act of this, trying to understand how we can make it even easier to amplify these pages. So I like to talk about the grocery store analogy, because I spent four years of my life working at a grocery store, where you want to make sure the grocery store is stocked before you go ahead, and you try to get people to even come. And then you open the doors when you're ready, you think okay, this has things for everyone. And then before you start to hand out flyers, you want to make sure that the grocery store is at least successful. And so well, I used to work for a grocery store that did flyers. So the flyer example might not be prominent anymore. But then from there, billboards, flyers, that sort of thing. So that's what really focuses product pages is today, we're working with a lot of marketers to view that URL as a way that they can plug into it, like a website URL, like they're doing a conversation ads, carousel ads, things like that. And then the other thing that's really cool about product pages, too, if you were to go to a product page and hit the share button, you can actually share that product page in the feed. So there's a little caption that will come up a little preview screen about that product. And it's a great way for you even organically as a company to share the things you're really excited about. But to answer your question. That's where we're focused on first is trying to get people excited about the organic offering, then making sure that there's a really easy way to think about how they would promote one through campaign manager and then from there, evaluating Let's figure out where we go from there.
And that seems to me like just such a no brainer when when I'm saying, Okay, do I spend all this time sending a request over to it to build me a new landing page or app, let's just send them to the existing product page on LinkedIn. Lincoln's already made sure this looks good on both desktop and mobile, it has everything I want. It's got, you know, customer stories and ratings. And all that definitely seems like a shortcut for marketers to start sending right there. And when can everyone expect to have product pages for their companies? What does that roll out look like? Also super excited if there's anything you can share about when some of these capabilities will kind of creep into campaign manager. And as advertisers can start to look forward to them?
Yeah, I can't share anything on the campaign manager front, but you'll be one of the first to know when i when i do have more information on that. But what I will say is that we're starting very slow with product pages, because as I mentioned, we want to make sure we get the experience, right. So over the summer, we conducted a ton of interviews, we rolled out an alpha and a beta, just trying to make sure that the page was as we would call it, the greatest hits of your company, we want to make sure that it's kind of the skinny version of your website, so that it has everything you want, that you found helpful when it comes to converting prospective buyers, we can have that there. And so we had just over 10,000 product pages live by the end of December, which is really exciting. And this quarter, we're rolling it out to many, many more B2B software companies. And so it's probably 2030 fold the amount of companies they'll have access to. And our goal by the end of this quarter is every B2B software company will have access to a product page. And we're starting with B2B software for a couple of reasons. One, members on LinkedIn are already talking about these products every single day, like they've had, they've never really had a place where these can all come together so that that information can be accessible to everybody. So if I'm really skilled in campaign manager, and I have that as a skill on my profile, and I've been talking about it in the feed, how do we get everybody to make sure that you know who in your network is using this and you can reach out to them if you want to do that. So we're focused on b2b software. It's the most amount of, of products that the members associated with today, and it's a great way for us to understand at that scale, what works really well within this marketplace before we start to bring it to other use cases and verticals. But that's where we're really focused today.
Great. And if someone is in B2B software, but somehow maybe they just didn't have it on their website properly, or anything. Is there an application process? Is there a way that someone can can start one? Or do they just have to publicize it nicely on the website and wait for LinkedIn to come crawl?
That's a good question. So and this happens, where, you know, maybe they see a week lag between a competitor in this space having access, and then it's, we are rolling it out slowly, they can reach out to me directly if they'd like to. It's [email protected]
. Or we have an alias that they can they can email that's product [email protected]
. And both of those will actually get routed to me. So I try to respond to almost every single one. And we'll evaluate it if it is a product and a software product. Indeed, we'll we'll do that, but I think one of the most interesting things is it's caused a lot of marketers to ask themselves, am I a product or my service? And you know, is this a feature or is this a product? And as a marketer, I would think it's a very good thought experiment, even to think about our own positioning to go back to our team and say, "Hey, we should really think about how we can play in this space, because this is what's going on here." So they can reach out there if they are indeed a B2B software company.
Fantastic. All right, I'll put your the product email address in the show notes that way people aren't like bombarding you personally.
Okay, that sounds great. Another question I've got, how should marketers think about product pages in terms of their overall marketing strategy? At what point would you say this is super valuable for someone to pay attention to their product page, and maybe put something else on the shelf?
Yeah, so one of the most interesting stats, and I'm sure it's higher now is that more than 70% of buyers are completing the buyer journey in a digital only environment in a digital only setting, which means that the likelihood you talk to a sales rep before making a purchase is very slim. And so as marketers, we should think about how we can use this to empower our teams at all aspects of the funnel. And so the reason why I say you should use it as much as possible as one, it's free, you can create one at any time, it's free to use. Two, it really has everything that you would want to look at, if you're trying to convince someone that this is a good product for them. So maybe there's already people in their network that use it. And if you're a sales rep, you've already identified what that messaging is. You can also see the companies they use a product and there's also an opportunity for the brand to showcase product tutorial videos, rich media of what certain dashboards or features may look like. And so if I'm being prospected into, and I see all of these things on day one on LinkedIn, that's a really interesting way to get my attention. So it's new, it's exciting, not a ton of companies are doing it. As I mentioned, we're slowly rolling this out, it's a good way stand up. And it's different than just sending somebody to your website, and hoping that this landing page, you've optimized for other channels is going to go ahead and get their attention and get them to convert, which means that you're gonna have to send them a five to seven touch email to get them to come back around. So as a marketer, I would say, because this is such a lightweight thing for you to stand up, you should be using this at all stages. And then give it to your team, so your customer success team should be asking your customers to add this product as a skill to their profile to leave a review, if they'd be so inclined. And your sales team should be using it maybe as their footer for email outreach, or even just to say, Hey, we were a part of something really new and exciting that LinkedIn is rolling out, we think it would be a really good way for you to get to know our products get to know our brand a bit more, you should check it out. So I think it presents a ton of new opportunities for marketers to really differentiate themselves and help other teams
along the way. I love it. Okay. And obviously, before we go off to the product, I'm going to ask about you like, personally, professionally next, but anything else that you want to share with us? Anything you're really excited about with product pages, or anything else that we haven't covered that you'd want people to know?
No, I think that I would just say, I'm really excited about this. I always think about this, as Ryan, the marketer before joining LinkedIn. Ryan as somebody who's always struggling to differentiate myself from the competition. And it's really hard if you don't have the same budget, if you don't have the same market notoriety to really play on the same playing field. And product pages, as I mentioned, they give a ton of great opportunities for marketers to be on the same playing field from a discovery point of view, and to see what other products are in similar categories. And so we're always going to keep that in mind of like, how do we make this a true marketplace where people can go and find the right products for them. And then at the end of the day, make this really valuable, not only for the companies, but for the members, people who are coming to these pages, who are either users to say, here's what I love about the products, or as a prospective buyer to say, hey, this is what i'd love more information on. We're always going to be evolving these pages. But I'm really excited about how they turned up as a start.
So cool. Ryan, thanks so much for sharing that. And my last question for you is basically what are you most excited about either, personally, professionally, or you can list one for both. But what what's in your world that you're excited about?
Sure. So I'll list one for both because I'm selfish. So today, I finally I have a puppy, a three month old puppy, my dog finally was able to use the bathroom outside today. We've been trying to get him to do that over the last couple weeks. He's gotten used to going to the bathroom inside. And so this is big news, what a way to start the week off. So that's what's exciting me personally, I feel like I'm making progress on my dog. What's exciting me professionally, is I think that the way that teams are working together marketing teams, during this time, where everybody is at home, is really exciting. I think we were nervous about it at the beginning of the pandemic. And there are so many great ways for us to stay involved to stay connected from a marketer, using the LinkedIn pages ecosystem, for example, there's so many great things, both internally and externally to really bring your company together. And I actually think that a lot of the success that marketers are seeing is going to influence how companies go back to work. And so that's what's exciting me professionally.
Oh, that's cool. Seems a little bit what we'd expect that by forcing ourselves to be separate, it brings us together, but I think you're absolutely correct there. Well, Ryan, I'm super excited to have you on for round two. So I definitely hope there's around three. Thanks for sharing such awesome news with us. Do you want just share again, like if people want to follow you? People want to reach out and give product feedback? How can they do that?
Sure. I would say the easiest way to reach out to me is my email. I'm totally fine. Giving that out. It's [email protected]
if you want to connect with me, also great place to share feedback there. And if you're on Twitter, I'm @rkmac
@rkmac? @rkmac. Okay, beautiful. All right, everyone listening make sure you go follow Ryan. Keep him in mind as your as you have feedback from a marketing perspective. Remember, he was a marketer before he was a LinkedIn Product Manager. So excited to have you on our side and building great stuff for us. Thanks so much, Ryan.
Thanks for having me, AJ.
I've got the episode resources for you coming up. So stick around.
Thank you for listening to the LinkedIn Ads Show. Hungry for more? AJ Wilcox, take it away.
Okay, I promised you some great episode resources. So here they are. In the show notes below. You'll see a link to Ryan Macinnis his profile on LinkedIn, give him a follow connect with him. There's also his email address if you want to reach out and give him any feedback, also a link to his Twitter. Now I've got some fun news. I've talked to you a lot about the course that I did with LinkedIn Learning. And it is, of course, the best resource if you or someone on your team is looking to learn LinkedIn Ads, you should definitely check it out. But I've got some exciting news that within the next couple or few months, the course is going to be fully updated. We're working on that now. So I'm super excited to have you see all the new updated material. So check that out. Please look down on whatever podcast player you're using right now and hit subscribe if you want to hear me in your ear holes. And like we mentioned at the top of the episode, make sure to rate and review and I would love to shout you out. With any topics on your wish list or ideas or for feedback, whatever. Email us at [email protected]
. And with that being said, we'll see you back here next week. Cheering you on in your LinkedIn Ads initiatives.