LinkedIn announced two new additions to its offering this morning: LinkedIn Targeted Status Updates product and a new follower insight page to help track not only who is following you but who and how your company messages are being shared.

The targeted status updates is a huge step forward for LinkedIn. It is reminiscent of Google + circles except you have more control per each message to filter by industry, seniority, job function, company size, non-company employees, and geography.

Each message shows statistics, similar to Facebook’s message insights, highlighting the number of followers in the targeted group and how many impression it received, as well as clicks, shares and the percentage of engagement.

This short video from LinkedIn highlights how you can use targeted status updates with your company page.

In April, LinkedIn opened up these targeted status updates to a select group of businesses before further opening it to its two million business users today. One of these companies was Philips who, in the short time using this tool for its daily communications, found a 106% increase in engagement by its followers.

Even more exciting for both groups and businesses, is the insights page. Even if you aren’t the administrator of a group, you are able to see a breakdown of members by seniority, function, location and industry. Here’s one of Econsultancy’s groups pages:

This should allow users to become more targeted in their messaging based on group demographics and focus on further building them.

What this means for third party providers

Last year, LinkedIn released the APIs for LinkedIn company page management and targeted status updates to a select group of developers including the team at Hootsuite. Gregory Gunn, VP of Business Development at Hootsuite, commented that:

The relationship with LinkedIn team was very collaborative. Linkedin team took feedback to make the platform stronger. We’ve been Beta testing over the past eight months and giving feedback to the LinkedIn team who used it to make the platform stronger.

LinkedIn is the third most popular network for Hootsuite and today’s new update allows users to post to both their individual account and to their company pages with targeted status updates to soon follow. This will be a great relief to their customers, especially in recruiting and B2B, who have been asking for advanced functionality with an open LinkedIn page management solution.

Hootsuite is primarily a B2B product so today’s LinkedIn product launch will only strengthen its own product. According to Gunn, this move is making LinkedIn sync further with how businesses interact with their customers now:

In more traditional industries like financial services, they are very comfortable with the LinkedIn platform. Our transition to allow posting to LinkedIn company pages allows companies to be thought leaders and interact with customers as the company instead of as individuals within the organization.

What do you think of these new product advances? How will these changes affect how you use LinkedIn?