LinkedIn announced February 4 that it will close down its retargeting platform, prompting a slew of competing market analysis and media interest in the social media giant’s advertising efforts, and the retargeting industry.

Below, we’ve answered some of the biggest questions about LinkedIn’s announcement, its impact on their customers and the industry at large.

1. What actually happened?

LinkedIn is closing down its nurturing and analytics service, Lead Accelerator, on ad inventory sources outside of LinkedIn. This service once allowed their advertisers to retarget users with ads across the web and social channels like LinkedIn and Facebook.

LinkedIn publicly stated the cost of operating the platform was too high, and they’re folding the nurturing functionality of Lead Accelerator, which allowed for ad sequencing, into their existing native advertising program: Sponsored Updates. Essentially, advertisers can no longer reach their prospects and customers on websites and social platforms outside of LinkedIn.

2. Why is this a big deal?

This has marketers talking for a couple reasons:

  • It’s a costly loss. LinkedIn acquired Bizio in 2014 for $175 million primarily to develop Lead Accelerator.
  • It happened fast. LinkedIn launched Lead Accelerator in February 19, 2015 and officially shuttered less than a year later; February 4.
  • Investors and media didn’t see it coming. Because of the large investment, high confidence in LinkedIn and the new nature of the program, the announcement took many by surprise.
  • It leaves a hole in marketer’s ad buying strategy. Many advertisers took advantage of Lead Accelerator’s retargeting and analytics feature to engage and convert users across multiple platforms (mainly the web and Facebook). These customers will have to find solutions elsewhere.

3. What impact will this have on the Ad-Tech industry?

Data isn’t available on the number of paid customers who are affected, but the overall dollar impact isn’t large enough to make industry-wide shockwaves. As stated before, LinkedIn projects they’ll lose approximately $50 million in potential revenue, but the programmatic ad industry is projected to reach $16 billion this year..

4. Do other platforms integrate with my marketing stack platforms?

Yes. One of Lead Accelerator’s core functionalities is the ability for advertisers to target users on their customer relationship management (CRM) software. In the programmatic ad industry, it’s called CRM retargeting. We offer integration with Marketo, HubSpot, Constant Contact and MailChimp; other programmatic ad providers also offer CRM integrations as well.

5. Will I have to install another tracking tag?

Short answer: yes.

Long answer: LinkedIn calls their retargeting code, which makes the tracking and analyzing of customer data possible, the Insight Tag. Once embedded in a web page, it helps track and analyze the conversions that take place on that page.

This functionality is standard practice in retargeting, and it’s often referred to as pixel-based retargeting. If you want similar functionality to Lead Accelerator, you’ll have to embed this code on what’s called the global footer of your homepage. It’s easier than it sounds. Read our pixel placing guide for more help.

6. What options do Lead Accelerator users have now?

Since I work at AdRoll, and AdRoll provides retargeting, advertising and marketing services, I’m biased in favor of our offerings. For an in-depth comparative analysis of providers like Google, Facebook, LiveIntent, AdRoll and Criteo, I’d recommend this extensive retargeting discussion on Quora.

Photo Credit: Jurgen Appelo via Flickr.

For more in-depth analysis of the programmatic ad industry, check out our recent 2016 State of the Industry Report.