Yesterday, the ability to add a new “product or service” to a LinkedIn Company Page disappeared for about 12 hours. A thread appeared in the Help Center with members expressing their frustration at not being able to add a new product or service. One revealing comment “…I was told that this function is to go away and is being replaced by company showcase pages and regular company updates… so it working again may be short lived.”
I have been curious about the future of the Products and Services sub-pages. First, the functionality of the Products and Services pages is rudimentary and reminds of webpages from 10 years ago. In particular, the Specialties area where members can add 256 characters of keywords about their product seems outdated, like a visual keyword meta tag that is no longer relevant in the modern era of search engine technology. Also the add a video, promotion and banner image tools seemed rather ho-hum. The sub-page design seems at odds with other areas of LinkedIn that strive to display the most modern technology, graphic design and user interface. It is noteworthy that LinkedIn no longer mentions Products and Services on the Company Page website. Usually when a product is starved of investment or attention in marketing materials or in upgrades, its only a matter of time before it is sunseted.
Second, in November 2013 LinkedIn launched Showcase Pages. “Showcase Pages are extensions of your Company Page, designed for spotlighting a brand, business unit, or initiative,” is the description on the LinkedIn website. That seems to duplicate the purpose of the Products and Services pages. At the time of the launch I wondered how this conflict would play out.
Third, Facebook recently made the strategic move to effectively force page owners to pay to have their sponsored stories appear in the Facebook news feed. If Products and Services pages are eliminated, LinkedIn could be trying to push more content from the free ride of the page into monetized sponsored updates. Sponsored updates usually have a suggested cost-per-click (CPC) of at least $4 – a revenue stream they want to increase.
If LinkedIn does replace the Products and Service sub-pages with Showcase pages it will be interested to see how they migrate existing content. They frequently tout the images, text and videos organizations have published to describe their business with “best LinkedIn Company Page presentations.” Small business owners, with limited resources, have successfully leveraged the products and services company sub-pages as an inexpensive alternative to a traditional website.
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