In December, I wrote a blog post that explored the future of LinkedIn after the company seemed to have been testing and revamping ad features throughout 2013 and 2014. Here we are well into Q1 of 2015, and LinkedIn has begun to reveal some of its secrets.

While the first tool LinkedIn rolled out isn’t exactly “new” to digital marketers, the tool is new to LinkedIn itself. In late February, LinkedIn released an ad tool that reaches across the web to place advertisements, much the same as a Google CPM campaign on the display network. As was the case previously, ads can target LinkedIn users by geography, job function, seniority and industry. But now, the ads will serve on websites outside of LinkedIn.

In addition to an enhanced ad reach, LinkedIn also added a feature that customizes ads to specific visitors. Aimed at B2B companies, this ad targeting combines the prospective lead’s LinkedIn data and visited pages of a company’s website to tailor the ad message.

I think we call this marketing automation, correct? The benefit being that LinkedIn has more data coming into an ad campaign compared to most marketing automation software.

It doesn’t look like a release with Salesforce is in the works as we previously predicted. Although, LinkedIn might not need such a partnership to be a successful tool in itself. If it harnesses its data and the opportunities, LinkedIn could have a very powerful B2B tool on its hands.

The main issue medium to small-sized companies will have with this tool is the cost. Acting on a monthly/yearly subscription service, the cost of LinkedIn “Lead Accelerator” will likely rival that of competitor marketing automation software, like Marketo. Successful and affordable marketing automation software simply doesn’t exist yet.

That’s why at globalHMA, we use analog marketing automation for our medium to small-sized companies. To learn more about this, or to try out LinkedIn’s new “Lead Accelerator” tool, give us a call, email us, tweet us, send us a Facebook message or get really old fashioned and stop by the office. We’re always ready to chat!