Just four words and the internet exploded: “Microsoft is buying LinkedIn.”
Since then, everybody has been talking about the Linkedin acquisition. If you’re a marketer, you probably utilize LinkedIn to some extent and are wondering what it means to you. I’m here to tell you.
But First, Why?
Let’s start by looking at the financials. LinkedIn has three revenue streams: talent solutions, marketing solutions, premium subscriptions. In other words, LinkedIn makes its dough by selling advertising, recruitment services, and subscriptions. What’s really valuable about LinkedIn is its audience. The latest data shows a higher proportion of U.S. adults on the Internet (22%) have used LinkedIn, compared to the percentage who have used Twitter. Moreover, 38% of its 433 million users have a college degree.
According to LinkedIn, in Q1 2016, the company’s total revenue increased 35% year-over-year to reach $861 million with Talent Solutions revenue increasing 41% year-over-year to $558 million, Marketing Solutions revenue increasing by 29% year-over-year to $154 million, and Premium Subscriptions revenue increasing 22% year-over-year to $149 million.
Add the fact that nearly every professional uses this tool, you can clearly see Microsoft’s interest. When you post on this network, you tap into a market filled with professionals. LinkedIn has become a powerful distribution channel for content marketing — and a source of thought leadership on this subject, too.
What to Expect
You are probably wondering how this will this change Linkedin or Microsoft from a marketing perspective. Will this merger have any effect on the way you advertise on Linkedin? Or will Microsoft/Cortana become smarter by having access to Linkedin’s database?
I’ll let Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella answer these questions:
“We are in pursuit of a common mission centered on empowering people and organizations. Along with the new growth in our Office 365 commercial and Dynamics businesses, this deal is key to our bold ambition to reinvent productivity and business processes. Think about it: How people find jobs, build skills, sell, market and get work done and ultimately find success requires a connected professional world. It requires a vibrant network that brings together a professional’s information in LinkedIn’s public network with the information in Office 365 and Dynamics.
This merger will make it possible for new experiences such as a LinkedIn newsfeed that serves up articles based on the project you are working on and Office suggesting an expert to connect with via LinkedIn to help with a task you’re trying to complete.
As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.”
From this statement, we can expect Microsoft to embed LinkedIn into Microsoft Office. Imagine if you came to a section of your Microsoft Word document and you needed some sort of forecast or a description of a forthcoming product. You could easily draw a box and trigger a request to someone from the product team asking them to fill in the rectangle.
We can also expect a LinkedIn integration for Skype. There are already tools like Rapportive, which displays real-time the Linkedin profile of the person you are talking to on Gmail.
What about SlideShare?
A few months ago, I wrote an article about tools that marketers should use, and SlideShare was among them. As I stated in the article, visuals improve learning by up to 400%, and I believe Microsoft will take full advantage of that.
I expect SlideShare and Sway (a microsoft product) to merge within the next two years. It seems the most logical thing to do, and there will definitely be a collaboration between the two products.
Right now, with over 60 million unique visitors a month, and a serious shortage of quality content, Slideshare is the perfect place to get noticed.
Are You Ready?
Undeniably, the merger with Microsoft will bring lots of changes to Linkedin, and it will have a huge impact on how we recruit, advertise, and do personal branding.
If your LinkedIn profile is not top notch, now more than ever you need to update it. As a marketer, it is likely people will look you up on LinkedIn, and you want to make sure your profile is up to date.
What are your predictions regarding the future of the two companies?