With its ability to offer marketers precision targeting capabilities and a host of engagement tools to connect with business users, professional social network LinkedIn is becoming a must-have media platform for b-to-b marketers.
“LinkedIn's ability to target and deliver almost scalpel-level messaging to a specific target is unparalleled,” said Ted Kohnen, CMO at Stein IAS, New York, who oversees media strategy for the b-to-b agency.
“Other venues cannot target that specifically—to a specific title at a specific company at a specific location. LinkedIn gives that to you.”
LinkedIn now has more than 200 million members and 2.8 million company pages. While members use LinkedIn as a networking platform to connect with other professionals and explore career opportunities, they are also actively seeking content and conversations through LinkedIn Groups, news feeds and other content-sharing platforms.
“Our goal is to build relationships between brands and the world's professionals to make them both more successful,” said Alison Engel, global marketing director at LinkedIn. “Our members seek and share relevant information and insights, and because they are in a professional mindset when on LinkedIn, they expect to receive useful content from brands.”
LinkedIn lets marketers create company pages at no cost, which gives them a platform to share information and content about their companies and gain followers. The network also offers paid display advertising opportunities, which it enhanced last year through the acquisition of SlideShare for $119 million. With SlideShare Content Ads, advertisers can include presentations in display ads.
“Many companies invest significant resources into presentation content that ultimately reaches few people,” Engel said. “This content can now reach LinkedIn's 200 million-plus member base, driving awareness, perception and leads.”
“LinkedIn has made a nice push into rich-media banner ads,” said Terrance McDermott, media director at b-to-b agency Slack & Co., Chicago. “Now banners include video and links to social media outlets within a single ad unit. Their targeting is unsurpassed—you can reach the titles, the companies and the geographies you want. They really help reduce wasted impressions.”
Last June, LinkedIn added Targeted Status Updates, which give advertisers an opportunity to provide tailored content to users who follow their brands. The status updates appear on followers' home pages and are targeted to users based on demographics such as job title, company size, industry and geography.
The company reported revenue of $972.3 million last year, up 86% over 2011. The largest share of revenue (54%) came from LinkedIn's talent solutions—its recruiting service. Revenue from marketing solutions made up 27% of total revenue, and premium subscriptions comprised 19%.