This week saw the rollout of programmatic buying for LinkedIn Display Ads. The news comes shortly after it emerged that Microsoft had set its sights on another investment gamble. After the failed Nokia buyout, Microsoft has invested $26.2bn in the company.
The future of LinkedIn
The news was met with articles on predictions for the investment as well as what Microsoft could have bought for the money instead of LinkedIn. Despite this, the recent development could start to hint at the future of LinkedIn and what Microsoft’s investment could mean for both companies.
LinkedIn owns a huge amount of data that has previously been difficult to gain access to; it is this that put the impressive $26bn bounty on their head. This is where the data may now start to work to its potential and see the professional social network start gaining more regular users and advertisers.
There is a general perception that LinkedIn is for recruitment first and foremost, with a lot of current revenue attributed to HR activity. However, this is not a feasible long-term business model and they must begin to put a greater focus on these regular users.
LinkedIn has begun to put more of a focus on its role as a content platform for B2B, but there is still a way to go. If LinkedIn starts to roll out this new focus, rather than sticking primarily to pushing its benefits as a recruitment tool, it could start to achieve the level of potential that both users and advertisers have been waiting for.
Here, some of our social media and programmatic experts have weighed in with their thoughts on LinkedIn’s recent developments and what they could mean for the future of the network.
Microsoft had work-place tools sorted, apart from 1 thing: social. Yammer tried & failed. So they spent big and now own our office screens.
- Fergus Cable-Alexander, Group Account Director
For LinkedIn to fulfil its potential, focus should be placed on getting regular users – rather than people visiting when looking for a job.
- Rich Henderson, Account Director
It’ll be interesting to see how extensively Microsoft integrates LinkedIn with its range of software and services.
- Tom Hunter, Senior Account Manager
Is Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn a sign of desperation or will we finally see significant advancements in the B2B social network?
- Barney Sayce, Account Manager
Has a Microsoft gamble finally paid off? Programmatic buying could be the start of a LinkedIn that works harder for users and advertisers.
- Emily Bray, Account Manager
Microsoft will now have access to rich data but it’s how they use this data that will show whether this acquisition is right for them.
- Bethany Lucas, Account Executive
LinkedIn has always lacked on analytic capability; this is one area that Microsoft should focus on.
- Jai Raja, Account Executive
By creating a reason for users to use the network more often, the HR offering will be better supported as there will be a greater audience to reach. It will also, inevitably, lead to more revenue being brought in through other advertisers, where it is a relief to see that they are expanding this product.
There is a great deal of opportunity through advertising for B2B marketing, as well as lots of opportunities for key stakeholders to build their profile within businesses.
Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, described it as “the coming together of the professional cloud and the professional network”.
With Microsoft’s pockets and experience and LinkedIn’s knowledge and potential, we could be seeing the start of a long and happy union that benefits us all.