Social media firms have made several changes to make their platforms more transparent. Without accountability, it's easy for people to misuse social media posts and advertising. Consumers need to know who pays for a particular ad and what other ads are the business paying for. Facebook has been taking the lead in transparency efforts, but other platforms are catching up. LinkedIn has announced a plan to make all recent ads from a company searchable by platform users.

LinkedIn’s niche of providing social media for business professionals, has made it less of a target for the kinds of online misinformation campaigns that have plagued Facebook and Twitter. Though it hasn’t happened as much, the potential for abuse is there, and LinkedIn is introducing some measures to mitigate the risk.

As the company explained in a recent blog post, “At LinkedIn, we are committed to providing a safe, trusted, and professional environment where members can connect with each other, engage with relevant content, and grow their careers. Increased transparency to both our customers and members is critical to creating this trusted environment.”

LinkedIn pages will soon get a new tab labeled "Ads." In this tab, LinkedIn visitors can view all the Sponsored Content advertising that the company ran on LinkedIn during the past six months. Visitors can click on the ads they see, but advertisers won't have to pay for any of these clicks.

Though the measure is intended to improve transparency, it may lead to more clicks to a landing page without increasing the ad budget for a company. Any ad that a business runs gets an extra six months of exposure in the new Ads tab for LinkedIn pages.

With this new feature from LinkedIn, social media marketers will need to be more mindful of the range of ads they run. Consumers can easily see if the business is running deceptive ads. For example, a company can't try to play both sides of an issue. If you have an ad that supports one viewpoint and another that states the opposite, it will be evident to someone who looks at the new Ads tab.

Besides providing potential customers with more insight into the ads a company run, the new Ads tab can be used for competition research. Media reports about the new feature note that business owners can look at the past six months worth of ads for another company. If you have a competitor who is doing well with LinkedIn marketing, you can look at their ads from the last half of a year to figure out their secret.

The new Ads tab will become available globally over the next few months. LinkedIn says this change is only the beginning. The company stated that there would be many future updates designed to provide members with useful information about the ads they see on the platform.

This new change to LinkedIn won’t require to abandon their old advertising tactics, but the situation makes it vital to use social media ads responsibly. If a company is using LinkedIn to run controversial ads, everyone will be able to see it.

For more recent news about social media marketing, read this article on new reaction choices for posts on LinkedIn.

Published on: May 27, 2019
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.