In case you haven’t heard yet, Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn for a cool $26.2 billion in cash. It’s the biggest martech acquisition in history, according to Scott Brinker, editor of the Chief Marketing Technologist blog.
It’s also the surest sign yet of martech consolidation. In the last month alone, Marketo announced that it was bought by a private equity firm, while Salesforce announced its $2.8 billion acquisition of the commerce software company Demandware.
The Microsoft-LinkedIn deal is a massive acquisition that will, according to many smart people, help Microsoft boost the value (and revenue potential) of its growing suite of enterprise software products. But what does it mean for marketers and advertisers?
Only time will tell, of course, but here’s my two cents. (Spoiler: I think the deal is very good news for marketers.)
- More value for LinkedIn advertisers…and Bing marketers.
In a conference call about the acquisition, Microsoft shared how it envisions the Microsoft graph integrating with the LinkedIn graph. The company talked about interesting features in the future—like Cortana, its personal assistant software, providing personalized tips based on a user’s LinkedIn information.
One footnote that caught my attention is this: “Increased Bing engagement with the best professional network.”
With the marriage of Bing and LinkedIn, we might see the integration of social media advertising and search advertising like never before. This could potentially boost value for both LinkedIn and Bing advertisers. Exciting!
With the marriage of Bing and LinkedIn, we might see the integration of social media advertising and search advertising like never before.
- Better LinkedIn advertising platform very soon.
With more money, LinkedIn will have the necessary resources to further improve its advertising platform. That’s good news because, while the company has made improvements to its advertising product recently, it is still way behind Facebook or even Twitter. I expect Microsoft to share its search advertising expertise with LinkedIn.
- More marketing dollars for LinkedIn to drive user growth.
Let’s face it: If LinkedIn was doing better, it probably wouldn’t have agreed to a sale. Unfortunately, the company has seen slower user growth recently. With Microsoft’s marketing resources and with potential integrations with Microsoft’s enterprise software products, LinkedIn could see a boost in its user base, which could once again drive its revenue.
That’s good news for marketers—with more users on LinkedIn, targeting options on the site’s advertising platform could improve and increase the reach—and, by extension, the effectiveness—of your campaigns.
- Advertising opportunities on LinkedIn Slideshare.
Right now, LinkedIn Slideshare’s tools for marketers are pretty limited. For instance, there is no way to advertise your presentation decks within Slideshare. The site, which LinkedIn bought in 2012, currently only offers a lead gen product.
I wouldn’t be surprised if this changes soon. As Microsoft integrates its ecosystem with LinkedIn, we could see products that allow Bing ads to be served on Slideshare, for instance. I don’t think LinkedIn has fully utilized Slideshare to its full potential yet, so there’s a lot of potential here.
- Interesting new features for premium subscribers.
LinkedIn’s premium memberships is a hot business, growing 22% year-over-year in 2015 . Many sales, marketing, HR and C-suite professionals are using it to reach out to leads, prospects and potential employees.
In the future, we could see LinkedIn newsfeed or notifications within Window’s many applications and enterprise software. And, if LinkedIn is smart, it could boost value for premium members by allowing them to take advantage of this integration.
Overall, I think there are a lot of possibilities with Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition, and marketers should be excited. It all comes down to execution now. With both companies having strong leadership though, I believe they can do it.
How do you see Microsoft’s LinkedIn acquisition affecting the marketing practice?
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