LinkedIn Ad Revenue Soars on Strength of Sponsored Content

Advertising Sales Jump 45%

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Sponsored Updates fueled LinkedIn's ad-revenue gains.
Sponsored Updates fueled LinkedIn's ad-revenue gains.

LinkedIn continued its tear in the third quarter, with revenue climbing 45% compared to last year to $568 million. That beats analysts' expectations of $557.5 million.

Advertising revenue reached $109 million during the third quarter -- which is the period from July through September -- marking a 45% increase over last year. Ad sales, which LinkedIn calls "marketing solutions," accounted for 19% of overall revenue, the company said.

The increase was led by sponsored updates, a content-marketing product LinkedIn introduced last year. It allows advertisers to reach members who don't follow their company. LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner told Ad Age in September that sponsored updates represent the "fastest growing business in LinkedIn's history."

Sponsored updates generated 31% of advertising revenue in the third quarter, Mr. Weiner said during a call with investors on Thursday explaining the quarterly results. In the second quarter, the sponsored-update product was 28% of ad revenue. A year ago, it was just 7%.

Bizo, which LinkedIn acquired for $175 million in July, contributed slightly to marketing revenue, the company said. Bizo is a tech company that will allow marketers to target professional audiences with content-based marketing messages on a network of more than 3,000 professional websites.

"The team is looking forward to rolling up their sleeves and making that integration happen as well," Mr. Weiner said of Bizo.

LinkedIn reported a net loss of $4.3 million during the quarter, up from $3.4 million a year ago.

During the third quarter, LinkedIn members grew 28% to 332 million, the company said. Unique visiting members grew 16% to an average of 90 million per month.

The percentage of visitors coming to LinkedIn on mobile devices was 47%.

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