Source: The Acquisition Presentation
A bombshell was dropped on Monday the 13th of June when it was announced that Microsoft would be acquiring the professional social network LinkedIn for $26.2bn (£18.5bn). The CEOs of both companies – LinkedIn’s Jeff Weiner and Microsoft’s Satya Nadella – claimed that LinkedIn would remain independent, but that both companies would work closely together. LinkedIn has enjoyed year-on-year growth despite issuing a profit warning this year and since Weiner joined in 2008, the company has grown to 10,000 employees and 433 million LinkedIn members together with a revenue of $3bn. A couple more stats to note are that LinkedIn had 45 billion page views in the last quarter and over 60% of its traffic is mobile.
So why is LinkedIn selling now? In a email sent to his employees on the 13th of June, Weiner wrote explained that Microsoft and LinkedIn had virtually identical mission statements: “Essentially, we’re both trying to do the same thing but coming at it from two different places: For LinkedIn, it’s the professional network, and for Microsoft, the professional cloud. Both of us recognised that combining these assets would be unique and had the potential to unlock some enormous opportunities.” The combination of Microsoft and LinkedIn’s graphs as shown above show the complimentary nature of the deal that Microsoft claims will create “more connected, intelligent and productive experiences”.
How Can It Benefit Marketers?
The acquisition brings about plenty of talk on the positives it presents for marketers, but what are they exactly? Some were outlined in Weiner’s letter itself:
Scaling the Reach and Engagement of LinkedIn
This is to be done by using its network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over a billion customers. This could include weaving LinkedIn’s graph with Microsoft’s products such as Outlook and dynamic CRM.
Partnering for Innovation
LinkedIn partnering with Microsoft to innovate on solutions within enterprise that are the “ripest for disruption”, such as the distribution of business intelligence and collaboration, open up more positives for marketers.
Giving sponsored content customers the ability to reach Microsoft users everywhere across the Microsoft ecosystem opens up a whole new sea to fish from as marketers.
Among the other positives outlined in the letter, according to Marketing Tech News, there’s “redefining social selling” through the combination of sales navigator and dynamics, along with leveraging LinkedIn’s subscription capabilities to provide opportunities to the “massive” number of freelancers and independent service providers that use Microsoft apps.
The benefits don’t just stop there though.
Project Management Insights
The partnership allows marketers new opportunity to understand their own team’s productivity, capabilities and effectiveness with a project management tool that can also provide feedback on how to acquire and retain top talent in your company.
CRM Meets Social
One of the most prominent parts of this deal is the opportunity to merge LinkedIn’s 433 million professional profiles with the data in Microsoft Dynamics CRM. Microsoft Dynamics likely gets a big boost from matching this social network with clients’ first-party data for marketing purposes. Jasmine Sandler, CEO of Agent-cy Online Marketing agrees the acquisition could mean amazing opportunities to reach and engage your target audience. She states: “Marketing, advertising, and sales relationship development can occur now across all Microsoft products potentially – Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, and Bing,” Sandler said. “By expanding where the customer can be reached and certainly the volume of customers (over 1 billion Microsoft users across all products), marketers can reach more potential customers at every point of customer communication and business action.”
Unified Customer and Employee Information
The partnership promises to link Office 365 properties and LinkedIn data so all of your employee information will be seamlessly integrated between both platforms and above all – consistent.
A Predictive Digital Assistant
Microsoft plans to leverage LinkedIn’s capabilities to give you the professional assistance and networking connections you need before you even know that you need them.
The Intelligent Newsfeed
Microsoft and LinkedIn aim to “reinvent ways to make professionals more productive” and this shall take the form of a project management/social network hybrid product in the future. They’re planning to create a new intelligent newsfeed that will feature everything you need to see, with the aims of it becoming a “habitual” part of your day.
LinkedIn has 7 million active job offerings. With Microsoft’s strong foothold in the B2B community, it’s likely this is a profitable business that it can accelerate.
From on-boarding to development, Microsoft and LinkedIn will use their pool of data to facilitate the most useful courses for employees. That means whether you’re a manager or have a recruitment role, this will be relevant to you.
This is a great move for Microsoft as it makes it the leader in data in the professional world at both individual and organisational levels and potentially offers advertisers:
- – More refined targeting, particularly for B2B advertisers
- – More reach with the addition of 433 million users from the LinkedIn universe
- – More commercial opportunities via Cortana, as it’s positioned as “the professional’s” digital assistant.
Referring back to the side-by-side professional cloud of Microsoft and the professional network of LinkedIn, it illustrates the impact this web of data can have in terms of precision in targeting advertisers.