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In a somewhat unexpected announcement on Tuesday, LinkedIn announces that they will be opening up ad inventory to marketers via private and open exchanges. A move that comes less than a month following the companies acquisition by Microsoft for $26 billion.

If you dig into the numbers, this move makes complete sense for the company. The ads side of LinkedIn is extremely healthy with $154-million being generated in Q1-16, an aggressively growing number. But the display side of the business generated only 10% of that number, which was down -30% from the same period in ’15. Frankly, opening up into the programmatic space was a good move to make for their business, shareholders, and eager advertisers.

The move follows a test, albeit quite some time ago (back in ’14), where the company opened up inventory in a private marketplace setting. Clearly, something didn’t sit well with the company and it took some time to either refine those key learnings or to change internal perception from the pilot but thankfully the time has come.

So, what does this mean? Who will have access to the inventory is a bit grey, but the company has stated that the “majority” of open exchanges will have access to the inventory. We have spoken to our programmatic partners and can confirm our ability to access this inventory.

Marketers will have the ability to leverage the network’s first and/or third-party data to target ads they buy through an open exchange or a private exchange. This will make the integration of LinkedIn’s ad inventory seamless for the majority of advertisers.

The inventory available will be exclusively the right-hand rail inventory, for the time being. Although the company has not alluded to anything beyond this placement, we do anticipate additional inventory to open up over time as the demand grows.

If you are interested in learning more about these exciting options,drop us a line as we would love to chat.