LinkedIn… The good, the bad and the future

The good

LinkedIn have introduced an analytics tool which helps track demographics that will allow analysts and marketers to understand who is visiting their site from the platform. It will allow companies to use LinkedIn’s Campaign Manager to optimise their marketing efforts by targeting potential clients or customers in a more effective way.
LinkedIn, which now has 500+ million users on the platform, announced the new tool in their blog, “For B2B (Business to Business) marketers, knowing your ideal audience is critical to driving ROI. But a key challenge is understanding whether you’ve created the right content for the right people so you aren’t wasting your marketing budget.”
Here is a list of the demographic filters that the tool can track:

  • Job title
  • Industry
  • Job seniority
  • Job function
  • Company
  • Company size
  • Location
  • Country

Some more good

Putting advertising aside, the impact LinkedIn has on building professional relationships is obvious. To further the point, 39% of all LinkedIn users pay for a premium account which allows them access to a limited amount of extra functionality such as InMail and analytics. This highlights that users are finding huge value in the ability to develop relationships. (InMail allows users to communicate directly to prospective clients, which is advantageous towards B2B marketers and recruiters.)

The bad

It will be interesting to see how LinkedIn will develop their marketing tools further in the coming months. The fact of the matter is that LinkedIn isn’t competing on the same level as the likes of Google & Facebook as a marketing platform, if you go by the numbers*. In a report from February it was stated that “The average LinkedIn user spends 17 minutes on the site per month.” It would be safe to say that this is reason enough for some marketers to turn away from using it.
One of the biggest priorities for LinkedIn as an advertising platform will be to increasing this time spent each month on the platform. One possible solution would be to provide more ways for users to share quality content. This will result in other users engaging and interacting more on the platform, resulting in increased value to businesses by allowing them to develop effective LinkedIn marketing campaigns.
However, (even though the metrics may cause some worry) as a B2B tool it can still be very effective. 

The future

Personally, I believe that the Premium account offering of LinkedIn will only be a small segment of the revenue pie in the coming years, as clearly Microsoft have big plans for the platform following their $26.2B acquisition in the latter half of 2016.

Embracing change and being dynamic will give them a chance to (avoid being criticised) close the gap on Facebook and Google, and prepare themselves for the challenge that will inevitably come down the line from these platforms and any new entrants to the market. (The criticism I’m talking about is directed at LinkedIn being reluctant or slow to introduce certain functionality… cough… video… cough.)
I, for one, enjoy using LinkedIn but am looking forward to watching the platform develop and improve its value proposition – so I’ll be keeping my eye on it/using it regularly over the next 12 months to see just how it grows.
Thanks for reading,
Ryan

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*https://blog.kissmetrics.com/guide-to-linkedin-ads1/
*http://www.socialmediatoday.com/marketing/2017-facebook-advertising-benchmarks

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