The updates are designed for LinkedIn Company Pages to increase the reach of their posts on users’ home page feeds (both on desktop and mobile), very much like Facebook’s Sponsored Stories feature.
With less Australians using LinkedIn than international audiences, it’ll be interesting to see how successful the advertising type is for Australian brands. While there may be a little over 3 million Australian LinkedIn users, the number of visits and time spent by Australians on the platform is pretty limited in comparison to Facebook or Twitter, as these stats from the Yellow Social Media 2013 report demonstrate (click for larger):
Perhaps LinkedIn Ads (both the sponsored posts and sidebar ads) will really only be effective at targeting particularly niche audiences: I could see it being highly effective at targeting HR professionals for example. But it’s another way that LinkedIn are trying to produce revenue (other than their Premium Profiles and Recruitment offerings), and will be interesting to watch how it goes domestically.