LinkedIn Usage and Revenue Statistics (2019)

Mansoor Iqbal

Updated: December 3, 2019

LinkedIn is the world’s preeminent social network for professionals. Members create online résumés, listing their current and previous job roles, their skills, and their education. They can network with other LinkedIn members, who are searchable by the above criteria and more. LinkedIn users can be endorsed by other users, for individual skills or through a more general written reference. Members can join professional groups relevant to their interests.

As well as individual professionals, LinkedIn allows businesses to create profiles, and list current vacancies. Members can apply for these positions directly through LinkedIn’s interface. LinkedIn also provides a publishing platform, designed to facilitate thought leadership in the business world.

LinkedIn was initially conceived in cofounder Reid Hoffman’s living room in 2002. Hoffman had previously worked for Apple, creating eWorld – an early attempt at a social network, later snapped up by AOL. He would have another go at establishing a social network in 1997, with SocialNet.com – which aimed to connect people with similar interests (sound familiar?).

Peter Thiel later reflected that SocialNet’s failure was down to its being “years ahead of its time”. Thiel had been a Stanford classmate of Hoffman’s: later, he would be a colleague, with the two serving together on the board of the then nascent PayPal (alongside a certain Elon Musk).

Hoffman’s next attempt at creating a social network, alongside colleagues from SocialNet.com and PayPal would be far more successful. LinkedIn officially launched on May 5th 2003. Take up was slow, with daily sign ups as low as 20 people for a period. Sequoia Capital, however, saw enough potential in the idea to invest $4.7 million in the young company. You can read our compilation of LinkedIn stats and facts over its history from these humble beginnings up to the present day below – looking at how many people use the site, who they are, and what they’re worth in terms of revenue.

Of course, LinkedIn wasn’t humble for long. Sequoia Capital has something of a magic touch when it comes to investing in young businesses. At last count, it has 17 ‘unicorns’ on its books, including AirBnB and Square (a company which Hoffman has expressed regret for not investing in). Their faith was duly rewarded

In 2005, LinkedIn opened up its first revenue making operations: job listings and subscriptions (known as Premium membership – unlocking additional features). By 2006 it was turning a profit, and by 2011 it became a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange, under current CEO Jeff Weiner.

In June 2016, Microsoft announced it would be buying LinkedIn in an all-cash transaction for $26.2 billion – $196 per share. The purchase was completed in December of the same year, and stands as Microsoft’s biggest acquisition to date.

According to Amazon Alexa, LinkedIn was the 21st biggest website in the world, and 10th in the US in late 2018. By late 2019, it had fallen to 57th in terms of global engagement  (though SimilarWeb says 24th), and 21st in the US. It had been as high as 35 in August.

Table of Contents

LinkedIn User Statistics

LinkedIn Usage Statistics

LinkedIn Revenue

Key LinkedIn Statistics

  • 660 million LinkedIn users, spread over 200 countries, November 2019
  • US is the biggest market (165 million users), followed by India (62 million), and China (48 million)
  • Over 30 million companies have profiles on LinkedIn
  • In 2019, 90 million LinkedIn users were senior-level influencers, and 63 million were in decision-making positions
  • 46 million student and 87 million Millennial LinkedIn users (11 million of whom are decision makers) in 2016
  • 38.6% of LinkedIn traffic from US, and 16.8% from India
  • 57% of LinkedIn members are male, 43% female
  • 27% of US adults are signed up to LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn users spend an average of 10:20 minutes on the site daily, visiting 8.5 pages, or an average of 7:18 minutes, visiting 7.99 pages, depending on who you ask…
  • Median number of connections between 500 and 999
  • 122 million users have been invited to an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million getting a job through someone with whom they are connected
  • 20 million jobs listed on LinkedIn
  • 3 million US jobs posted every month
  • 57% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile devices
  • 9 billion content impressions take place on LinkedIn weekly
  • 280 billion feed updates viewed annually
  • Only 1% of users post content weekly, though 91% of marketing executives use LinkedIn as a content source
  • 130,000 articles are published on LinkedIn weekly
  • 80% of B2B leads come through LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn purchased by Microsoft in 2016, deal finalised in December 2016 for $26.2 billion
  • In the 2019 fiscal year, LinkedIn brought in $6.8 billion worth of revenue, contributing to $38.1 billion of commercial cloud revenue for Microsoft, which in turn made up part of $126 billion total revenue.

 

LinkedIn User Statistics

LinkedIn reports over 660 million users spread over 200 countries, as of late November 2019. Between them, they represent 30 million companies.

More than two new members join LinkedIn every second. CEO Jeff Weiner has big ambitions for LinkedIn’s reach – stating that his goal was to get 3 billion people to sign up.

LinkedIn, of course, is not just designed for the individual user. Company pages are also a part of the melange: around 30 million of them at last count.

The active user base of LinkedIn is debated. Using SimilarWeb data, We Are Social and Hootsuite in October 2019 estimate LinkedIn MAUs at 310 million (47% of members). This is relatively consistent with Boston-based Apptopia’s 2017 estimate of an active LinkedIn user base of around 250 million in 2017, representing 50% of its 500 million members at the time.

This is actually relatively generous – other estimates are as low as only 25% of the total LinkedIn membership (2018). If we take the 310 million figure as our benchmark, LinkedIn is the 15th biggest social network in the world in terms of MAU.

Other sources claim that 40% of LinkedIn users use the site daily – though we were unable to find the initial source of this stat.

The chart below maps LinkedIn user growth from 2009 to 2019.

We can see that over this 10 year period growth in the LinkedIn membership base has been nothing less than consistent, with quarterly increases tending to remain in the 15-20 million zone pretty much every time. No falling in or out of fashion here – most likely just new cohorts of would-be employees signing up every year.

Data in the year or so after the Microsoft acquisition of 2016 is a bit patchy, but we can see the growth has been along a relatively smooth line, with no great blips or jumps of any note.

LinkedIn user growth, 2009 – 2019, millions

LinkedIn user growth, 2016 - 2019, millions

Data source: Statista/various

We Are Social and Hootsuite estimate that 12% adults can be reached using LinkedIn advertising. 

LinkedIn demographics

If you’re looking to rub shoulders with the cream of the business world, LinkedIn is the place to do it – online at least. Executives from every Fortune 500 company use the social network, LinkedIn claims. There are even claims that four out of 10 millionaires use LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn’s B2B blog, 90 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers (with four out of five decision makers of all stripes on the platform), and 63 million are in decision-making positions. We also see 17 million opinion leaders, and 10 million c-level executives, among others (these stats are from the first half of 2019, so these figures have most likely risen).

We might note those 40 million ‘mass affluent’ users also (that’s the higher end of the mass market). LinkedIn notes that it users have double the buying power of the average web audience.

LinkedIn members in senior positions

https://business.linkedin.com/marketing-solutions/audience

Source: LinkedIn

All levels of professional are included, however: there were 46 million students and recent graduates among the LinkedIn user base, as of September 2018.

Going back a few years, LinkedIn reported 87 million Millennials on LinkedIn, 11 million of whom were in decision-making positions. No doubt both have increased since these figures were published in 2016.  Indeed, LinkedIn’s official addressable advertising audience stats (see age/gender stats below) show that 25-34 year old are by far the biggest demographic by this measure.

An undated stat from LinkedIn claims 12 million contractors use the platform.

If you’re interested in learning a little about certain demographics, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions minisite features stats on certain demographics (though they seem  little outdated, listing 5 million c-level execs, against the 10 million listed above). Here you can find out tidbits such as: Mashable is the second-most followed company by those in the c-suite, or the top influencer for IT decision maker is Michael Dell, or that the top skill possessed by small business owners is business strategy.

165 million LinkedIn users are based in the US. With 62 million LinkedIn users, India is the second-biggest market, followed by China at 48 million.

The UK is the biggest market in Europe, with 27 million users, while Brazil’s 40 million LinkedIn users puts it comfortable in the lead in Latin America. South Africa is the most sizeable LinkedIn market in Africa, with 7 million, and Australia in Oceania, with 10 million.

LinkedIn users around the world

LinkedIn users around the world

Source: LinkedIn               

According to Alexa, 38.6% of LinkedIn’s traffic comes in from the US (as of late November 2019). India is second, providing 16.8%

If we just look at desktop traffic, just over a quarter comes from the US, way ahead of second-place India on a little over 7% and the UK in third place at just under 6%. Brazil and France complete the top-five.

Top countries: desktop traffic to LinkedIn, July 2019

Top countries: desktop traffic to LinkedIn, July 2019

Source: Statista

Google Trends shows that global search interest in LinkedIn has doubled since November 2010. Interest peaked in June 2015 – current levels are at around three quarters of this.

The highest levels of search interest can be found in small nations with big economies, where, no doubt, connections count: fossil fuel-driven UAE, finance-centre Singapore, and tech-hub Ireland.

The UK comes in fourth and the Netherlands is some way behind in fifth. You’ll note that this list has a lot in common with the most-connected stats below, in the LinkedIn connections section.

As of October 2019 the LinkedIn user base skewed slightly male, with men accounting for 57% of the user base (reflective of total membership, as opposed to active users).

Looking at the advertising audience profile (based on official LinkedIn figures pertaining to ‘addressable audience’), we see that 25-34 year olds are far and away the predominant demographic, accounting for 60%. 18-21 year olds follow, on 21%, with 35-54 year olds accounting for a mere 17%.

Addressable audience measures, of course, don’t give us the whole story, and we might assume that – looking at the membership as whole – Millennial users do not account for such a high share of users.

This does, however, give us a clue into who can be reached through the platform, which is probably an indication of who exactly is using it. Which seems to be young professionals in the second stages of their career looking to make connections and draw attention to themselves.

Female users are a minority in each age grouping.

LinkedIn users by age and gender, October 2019

LinkedIn users by age and gender, October 2019

Source: We Are Social/Hootsuite

US LinkedIn demographics and market penetration

It’s no Facebook, but with 27% of US adults signed up to it, LinkedIn outstrips Snapchat (24%), Twitter (22%) and WhatsApp (20%) in terms of market penetration – as is not far off Pinterest (28%). This figure represents a slight increase on the 25% reported in 2018.

As we might expect, the preponderance of LinkedIn usage increases with level of education and with income. ­­­ Only Facebook (74%) and YouTube (80%) can claim greater penetration with those with a college degree – over half of whom are on LinkedIn. We see the same pattern in the $75,000+ earnings bracket, 49% of whom are LinkedIn users.

29% of men use LinkedIn, compared with 24% of women – more or less in line with global trends.

LinkedIn reports one of the lowest levels of urban usage (only Reddit registers a lower percentage, though it is level with WhatsApp) – perhaps unsurprisingly, given most rural professional networking yet to really move online.

In terms of age groups, the 30-49 bracket are the biggest users of LinkedIn, with 37% signed up during this pivotal time in their careers. We might note, however,  breaking down the 18-29 bracket reveals that 44% of 25-29 year old Americans can be found on LinkedIn – more in line with global trends.

Finally we might note that LinkedIn usage is more prevalent among white and black users than it is with Hispanic. As ever, this is the only racial/ethnic data available – no other groupings are included.

Percentage of US adults who use LinkedIn, by demographic

Percentage of US adults who use LinkedIn, by demographic

Data source: Pew Research Center

In the US, the financial and knowledge economies of the northeast are where you’ll find the greatest Google search interest in LinkedIn. Massachusetts is the US state which searches LinkedIn the most, followed by New York and the District of Columbia.

LinkedIn Usage Statistics

According to Alexa, LinkedIn users spend an average of 10:20 minutes on the site each day, looking at an average of 8.5 pages.

SimilarWeb give us a slightly less generous 7:18 minutes, during which time 6.99 pages are visited.

Various sources report that average monthly LinkedIn usage comes to 17 minutes. This stat, however, does not have a source or a date, so we present it as is.

Sessions reportedly increased by 22% in Q1 2020, according to parent company Microsoft (Microsoft fiscal quarters run a half year ahead, in real terms this is Q3 2019). Engagement, it adds, is at record levels, without getting any more specific.

According to SimilarWeb total LinkedIn visits (desktop and mobile) came to 975 million in October 2019. This is the highest figure reported over the trailing six month period. The low point occurred in June, with 897 million visits.

LinkedIn traffic, May – October 2019

linkedin visits

Source: SimilarWeb

Nearly a third of this traffic came from the US (32%). The top-five countries taken together account for 53.1% of visits. Aside from the US, the UK accounts for 7.2%, India for 5.6%, Canada for 4.2%, and Brazil for 4.1%.

The vast majority of LinkedIn traffic is direct – people specifically deciding to log into LinkedIn to see what might be going on (and if there might be a better job out there for them…).

Search, at a little under a quarter, also accounts for a good chunk of LinkedIn traffic. Presumably this is most driven by searches related to specific individuals or for specific skill sets. LinkedIn, after all, is arguably the greatest-ever repository of CVs/resumes in history.

99.37% of LinkedIn search traffic comes from organic search.

LinkedIn traffic sources

linkedin traffic sources

Source: SimilarWeb

In 2017, LinkedIn reported 9 billion content impressions in its feeds per week. The LinkedIn user base has grown since then, so this figure is likely to be higher today. This figure remains published on LinkedIn’s marketing solution page.

According to Sprout Social, the best time to post to get engagement is Wednesday morning, between 9-11 CST (Sprout Social is based in Chicago). So that would be late morning in New York, over breakfast in California, early to mid afternoon in Western Europe, late evening in India, and past bedtime in Japan.

Bearing in mind all the various timezones in play, we see another spike Monday early afternoon, and Friday at 8am. Unsurprisingly, few people want to use LinkedIn on the weekend – particularly on Sunday…

LinkedIn engagement by day/time

LinkedIn engagement by day/time

Source: Sprout Social

LinkedIn connections

In April 2017, it was suggested on the official LinkedIn blog that the each new connection could introduce you to 400 new people. Whether this counts as the average number of LinkedIn connections or takes into account second-degree connections etc. into account is not clear. It is commonly cited as the average figure, however.

Statista report that the median number of LinkedIn connections per user was somewhere in the 500-999 bracket in Q1 2016. Over a quarter of users had 300 connections or fewer at this point, and 43% in all have 499 or fewer. 1% of users have a staggering 10,000 connections or more.

LinkedIn users by number of connections

LinkedIn users by number of connections

Source: Statista

Various sources report that the average CEO has 930 connections on average (as early as 2015), though it’s one of those stats for taken as gospel by virtue of repetition, while the original source has faded somewhat into the mists of time…

When LinkedIn reached 500  million followers, it released a small set of stats looking at the most-connected countries, cities, industries, and job functions – using average connections per member in each category as its measure.

The UAE – the country with the highest search interest in LinkedIn – tops the country list, with an average of 211 connections per person. The Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK also all feature in the top-five countries by average number of connections as well being among the countries with the highest level of LinkedIn search interest. Denmark rounds out the list, confirming it is those small, economically-advanced countries where people are really keen to forge those connections.

Most-connected LinkedIn countries

Most-connected LinkedIn countries

Source: LinkedIn

The most connected city in the world is London, with 307 connections on average (we might even assume it is London that puts the UK in the top-five countries, so we might even think of that as a small country). London, of course, is a global business hub, and certainly a place in which networking forms a key part of business life. Amsterdam is in second – reflecting the Netherlands’ keen usage of the app. The tech-orientated San Francisco Bay Area comes in third in terms of average LinkedIn connections.

Most-connected LinkedIn cities

Most-connected LinkedIn cities

Source: LinkedIn

In terms of industries, it would perhaps be something of a letdown if those working in staffing & recruitment were not top of the list in terms of average LinkedIn connections. They lead with a whopping average of 702 LinkedIn connections.

Their in-house counterparts in human resources come in third place, with an average of 380 connections, with venture capital & equity (another demographic for which connections are key) sandwiched in-between with 423 LinkedIn connections on average.

Most-connected LinkedIn industries

most connected industries

Source: LinkedIn

The industry list is echoed in that of the most connected job roles on LinkedIn, with those working human resources topping the list, with 415 average connections. Those working in product management come in second (324), with business development coming in third (283).

Most-connected LinkedIn job roles

most connected job roles linkedin

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn and jobseekers

LinkedIn’s raison d’être is to connect employers with talent.

100 million job applications are reportedly submitted through LinkedIn every month.

It Microsoft’s Q1 2020 (actually Q3 2019) earnings statement, it is reported that LinkedIn job postings were at ‘record levels’. The official figure reported in LinkedIn’s ‘about us’ (hence updated sporadically) section is currently set at 20 million. This has grown, however; in late 2017, LinkedIn reported the total global figure stood at 11 million.

A 2017 study found 122 million LinkedIn users had been invited to an interview through LinkedIn. 35.5 million reported being hired by someone they connected with over LinkedIn. Again, this is a couple of years old now, so the figure is likely to have crept up. As of late 2019, those invited to interview can also call on special LinkedIn tools designed to help them prepare for typical questions.

Some of the roles on offer are prestigious, with LinkedIn reporting that in 2018, 95% of Fortune 500 companies used LinkedIn Talent Solutions.

In the US, LinkedIn report 3 million jobs are posted every month, with 20,000 companies using the site to post listings. According to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation, 77% of recruiters in the US use the platform. We might note, however, that this represents a decrease on 2017’s figure of 92%.

LinkedIn measures US hiring rates by measuring the proportion of members who add a new employer, divided by the total membership base. Figures are indexed to an average month in 2016/16 (=1).

Assuming profiles are updates pretty rapidly, we can see that peak hiring months seem to occur between May and September, with a one-off spike occurring predictably in January (suggesting that profiles are updated pretty rapidly). Comparing 2018 and 2019 rates demonstrates a certain consistency between years. October 2019 was down year-on-year, before reading too much into that, 2019 hiring rate were a shade above 2018 between June and September.

LinkedIn hiring rates, Nov 18 – Oct 19

 https://economicgraph.linkedin.com/resources/linkedin-workforce-report-november-2019

Source: LinkedIn

If we adjust for seasons, then we see that both 2018 and 2019 see slightly more action than we did in benchmark 2015/16, though both roughly adhere to the average pattern. September 2019 is perhaps the most exciting here, with hiring levels of 13% over the average rate.

Education (49% above seasonal average),  public administration (35%), and nonprofit (28%) were the outstanding sectors in this bumper month, while legal and real estate were not far behind (25% each).

LinkedIn also publish geographical data, for those interested.

LinkedIn hiring rates, Nov 18 – Oct 19, seasonally adjusted

LinkedIn hiring rates, Nov 18 - Oct 19, seasonally adjusted

Source: LinkedIn

Hiring companies stand to benefit from the wealth of talent on LinkedIn. In 2017, LinkedIn reported that 90% of users were open to new opportunities. Accordingly, 20 million job views take place every week. It’s not just the most well-known names either; 87% of LinkedIn users would be open to joining a small company.

Finding likely candidates is made easier by the list of 35,000 or 50,000, depending on where you look, different skills which prospective employees can select and be endorsed for (you only need five to stand out, earning 17 times more views). Those looking for graduates will be able to find those trained at 90,000 global universities.

LinkedIn is considered by companies to be 40% more effective (according to LinkedIn’s own research) than online job boards – with 15 times more impressions than job postings.

LinkedIn profiles

A study by Grammarly found that LinkedIn profile completion levels vary between those at different employment levels. Directors being the most likely to fill out their profile summaries, while managers are the most likely to fill out their work experience (using an average of 198 words for each position).

We might assume that management is the level at which LinkedIn users might want to highlight their experience and successes, while directors would be most keen to summarise their overarching vision. Interestingly, directors made more spelling errors than entry-level workers in their summaries, by a ratio of 6:2 – something which Grammarly says is a mystery, though perhaps some of us might have our theories. The average length of summaries was 70-100 words – climbing up as we go through levels.

LinkedIn report that profiles with complete information get 30% more views.

Profile completion by job level

Profile completion by job level

Source: Grammarly

The four most commonly occurring profile words were: ‘leader’, ‘strategic’, ‘solution’, and ‘innovative’. Unsurprisingly, usage of these words increases as we climb through job levels.

Certain other words occurred at specific levels: ‘proactive’ at entry level, ‘dynamic’ for managers, and ‘ROI’ for directors.

Profile words by job level

Profile words by job level

Source: Grammarly

Entry-level workers are the least likely to have given or have been given recommendations on LinkedIn. We might assume that, looking at this pattern, that this may simply correlate with the length of one’s career and one’s commitment to using tools like LinkedIn (with the latter increasing as a consequence of the former).

Recommendations given and received by job level

Recommendations given and received by job level

Source: Grammarly

LinkedIn devices

Android Police note that the LinkedIn app has been downloaded 100 million times from the Google Play store, as of April 2018. The piece also notes that the app comes pre-installed on certain Android phones, making gleaning any deeper insights a little challenging.

In 2016, LinkedIn reported that 57% of its traffic came from mobile devices. No more recent figures have been made available. This figure is some way beneath the average levels of mobile usage. Perhaps it will have crept upwards, although we might anticipate that desktop usage for a site like LinkedIn might be a little higher than the average, given the nature of the site.

LinkedIn content

LinkedIn reports that 280 billion feed updates are viewed annually the platform. And don’t forget those 9 billion weekly content impressions. There is a rich market for LinkedIn content, therefore.

Only around 1% of LinkedIn users post content to the site on a weekly basis – though 91% of marketing executives said they used LinkedIn to access quality content. Only 0.2% have used the platform’s publisher function. Around 130,000 articles are published weekly in all. The total number of posts, articles, and articles taken together comes to 2 million per day.

Not publishing could well be a missed opportunity: 55% of decision makers use thought leadership content to vet with which organisations they work. What is published seems to be taken very seriously – with 20% of investors saying that LinkedIn is the best place to learn more about something.

Video is the most shared type of content on LinkedIn, over 20 times more than other forms of content.

LinkedIn owns slideshow platform Slideshare (acquired in 2012), which is used by 80 million people per month, and hosts 18 million pieces of content (as of 2015 – more recent data is in short supply).

Slideshare itself is one the world’s top-200 websites, ranked 128 in terms of engagement. In India, it makes the top 100, at 64. India is leading source of Slideshare traffic, at 16.2%, with the US in second at 8.2%, and – interestingly – Mexico in third at 7.1%.

In 2018, Virgin tycoon Richard Branson was elected LinkedIn’s top influencer. He is followed by Philanthropist Melinda Gates  in second, and Bridgewater Associates-founder Ray Dalio came in third.

A journalist (Wired editor-in-chief Nicholas Thompson) and a politician (Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau) give the top-five a little bit of diversity in terms of job roles.

On diversity: nearly half of top 20 are women (nine), though only two are not white.

As well as top influencers on the platform, LinkedIn published 2018 lists (at the time of writing – December 2019 – no 2019 lists were available) of top voices in data science & analytics, economy & finance, education, healthcare, management & workplace, marketing & social media, philanthropy & global development, retail, sales, startups & entrepreneurship, and technology – as well as a series of country-specific lists.

LinkedIn for business

LinkedIn offers a huge suite of business services – ranging from intelligence reports, to online courses, to a hiring platform.

With 30 million businesses running LinkedIn accounts, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see it is the one of the most popular social media channels with Fortune 500 companies. According to research from UMass Dartmouth, however, it was no longer the most-popular channel in this demographic over 2018 (for the first time since 2010).  Indeed, it suffered a considerable drop off in reported usage among Fortune 500 companies standing at 78%, compared to 92% a year earlier.

Facebook has now overtaken it, though its lead is slender. We might note that all four social networks analysed here suffered a drop off in Fortune 500 usage in 2018. ROI (48%) was the leading concern of these companies relating to social media.

Social media usage by Fortune 500 companies

Social media usage by Fortune 500 companies

Source: UMass Dartmouth

LinkedIn also offers a range of B2B marketing tools. Indeed, LinkedIn reports that 46% of social media traffic to B2B company sites comes through LinkedIn – unsurprising, given 52% of B2B buyers use the social network to share content.

Reportedly, 80% of B2B leads come through LinkedIn, with 95% of North American B2B marketers using LinkedIn as a organic channel through which they can distribute content, and 76% as a paid channel. In both measures, it is the number one choice, ahead of Twitter (86%) in the former, and Facebook in the latter (66%).

eMarketer reported in early 2019 that LinkedIn accounted for roughly a fifth of US B2B marketing spend, predicting that total B2B LinkedIn spend for the year would come to $1.25 billion. This compares to total B2B market value of $6.1 billion. Mobile and desktop account for equal shares of the total.

A November 2018 survey by Digiday found that 42% of media buyers were expecting to increase LinkedIn spend over the course of 2019, with a further 47% keeping levels steady.

Media buyers’ LinkedIn spending intentions, 2019

Media buyers' LinkedIn spending intentions, 2019

Source: Digiday

LinkedIn B2B advertisers can measure the performance of their ads simply, using Google Campaign Manager.

 

LinkedIn video for as a tool for B2B marketers

LinkedIn release data and advice through their Sophisticated Marketer magazine, advising B2B marketers how to make the most of the platform.

This includes a study of the sort of video content most-likely to be viewed by a business audience, as enumerated in the below infographic. In short: viewers prefer short videos, that are humorous. If you’re targeting an Asian audience, it might be useful to mention a famous name too…

B2B video viewing statistics

B2B video viewing statistics

Source: LinkedIn

According to eMarketer statistics, LinkedIn is a relatively effective tool for video marketing, with 28% reporting that it was a useful tool, versus 10% who did not believe it was effective (the remainder had not used it). While this puts it some way behind YouTube and Facebook, it’s nearly up there with Instagram, and ahead of Twitter.

Effectiveness of video marketing channels, according to marketers

Effectiveness of video marketing channels, according to marketers

Source: eMarketer

Issue 6 of Sophisticated Marketer includes some data on how marketers can achieve better results using video marketing on LinkedIn.

When it comes to driving brand awareness, brand stories are the most effective LinkedIn video format, accounting for 37% of top performing videos. When it comes to engagement and conversions, however, product descriptions are more effective (43% of the most-engaging videos and 36% of the top videos by CTR). Thought leadership is the second-best performer in each category.

In terms of length, a little longer is better. Top LinkedIn videos for VTR are 30 seconds and up; and top videos for LinkedIn engagement are even longer: 50 seconds and up. In terms of CTR, videos of over a minute perform well – though videos of under 10 seconds are equally effective. Naturally, the length depends on format. LinkedIn case studies perform well at 30 seconds, whereas though leadership works better at 80 seconds.

While only 12% or fewer top performing videos in each category are animated, 33% of top-performing videos in terms of VTR feature some form of motion graphic. Mixing together graphics and camera footage can be generally be effective, but standard branded intros compromise effectiveness.

Natural backdrops and animals, unsurprisingly feature in few LinkedIn videos, but when they do they tend perform well. Generally, a strong sense of location can give a video a boost. Close-ups of recognisable characters in a story are prevalent in 42% of top-performing videos for awareness, 34% of top videos for engagement, and 25% for CTR.

How do B2B buyers use the platform

Aside from the video stats listed above, Sophisticated Marketer reports a raft of statistics related to how those using LinkedIn as a B2B buying platform utilise the platform.

B2B content stats LinkedIn

Data source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn influencers in India

If we were to say ‘influencer’ to you, you’d probably think of heavily stylised pictures beautiful people in an exotic location. Well, in India, though Instagram does dominate the influencer market, it’s interesting to note that 22% of influencers also identified LinkedIn as a valuable platform for influencer marketing.

Influencer platforms India

Influencer platforms India

Source: eMarketer

LinkedIn Microsoft Office integration

Microsoft is gradually taking steps towards integrating Word with its ubiquitous Office suite of programs, as first announced in 2018.

Thus far, we have seen LinkedIn profiles synced up with Outlook address books, allowing users of the latter to quickly gain access to information from the former. Outlook users will also be able to send emails and share documents to their LinkedIn contacts.

In July 2019, it was announced that LinkedIn would be moving to Microsoft’s Azure public cloud, three years after the Microsoft acquisition. It is thought the delay in moving to Azure was due to questions around its reliability. Up until this point LinkedIn maintained its own servers.

LinkedIn Revenue

LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft in December 2016 for $26.2 billion (the total is listed as $27 billion today by Microsoft).

It seems to have been a good purchase for them, with LinkedIn revenue continuing to increase consistently since this point. In Q1 2020 (Q3 2019 in non-Microsoft parlance), the latest earnings statement available to us at the time of writing (December 2019), LinkedIn revenue was reported to have increased by 25% year-on-year.

LinkedIn revenue is consolidated with Microsoft’s overall revenue. Microsoft do not always release full stats for LinkedIn revenue in its quarterly reports.

They are more forthcoming when it comes to annual reports, however. LinkedIn 2019 revenue came to $6.8 billion. In the 2018 fiscal year, LinkedIn revenue stood at $5.3 billion. This compares to $2.3 billion of LinkedIn revenue in 2017 (the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft took place late in the second quarter of their fiscal year). The revenue is chiefly driven by Talent Solutions – the tool to help employers find talent.

A full-year on full-year leap from $5.3 billion to $6.8 billion, took place between 2018 and 2019 (based on the 28% increase reported by Microsoft in its 2019 statement.

LinkedIn revenue 2017 – 2019

LinkedIn revenue 2017 - 2019

Source: Statista

Microsoft credit LinkedIn as being one of the key drivers of the 14%, or $15.5 billion, increase in revenue reported between 2018 and 2019. Total 2019 Microsoft revenue comes to a total of $126 billion.

In recent years Microsoft’s transition towards a commercial cloud business has been widely heralded. As of the 2019 financial year, LinkedIn commercial services have been included been folded into Microsoft commercial cloud revenue. Over 2019, Microsoft commercial cloud revenue was worth $38.1 billion, equal to around 30% of total revenue. The $38.1 billion figure represents a 43% increase on 2018 commercial cloud revenue.

Microsoft’s closest rival in this business area, Google, reported a mere $8 billion in comparison.

In terms of costs related to LinkedIn, Microsoft reported a 15% increase in R&D expenses in 2019 (equal to $2.2 billion) partially driven by investments in LinkedIn. Investment in LinkedIn was also linked to a 4%/$744 million increase in sales & marketing expenses.

In 2018, LinkedIn’s operating loss increased to $987 million, $63 million up on 2017. This was largely the result of amortisation of intangible assets – to the tune of $1.5 billion. We can perhaps assume that these assets will be drivers of longer-term profitability.

Cost of LinkedIn revenue increased the same year, by $818 million to a total of $1.7 million, due to $888 million of amortisation on acquired intangible assets. LinkedIn operating expenses increased from $2.2 billion to $4.5 billion, with amortisation accounting for $617 million. The same figure is cited in reference to an increase in LinkedIn expenses, from $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion.

We don’t get specific figures pertaining to LinkedIn amortisation for 2019, but we do know that amortisation expense for the company as a whole came to $1.9 billion. This compares to $2.2 billion in 2018.

Predicted amortisation expense levels related to intangible assets for Microsoft as a whole are predicted to stand at $1.5 billion in 2020, $1.3 billion in 2021, $1.2 in 2022, $1.1 billion in 2021, $0.7 billion in 2024, and $2 billion from that point onwards.

At least one commentator thinks that this amortisation will spend the end for LinkedIn.

LinkedIn revenue pre-takeover

Talent Solutions has long been the engine of LinkedIn revenue, while subscriptions to LinkedIn Premium and Marketing Solutions have contributed roughly equal portions. All three segments of the business enjoyed robust growth up until the takeover by Microsoft.

In the quarter following the LinkedIn IPO (Q3 2011), Talent Solutions was worth $71 million, subscriptions brought in $28.4 million, while Marketing Solutions generated $40 million in revenue. In the final quarter before Microsoft officially took the reins, Talent Subscriptions commanded revenue of $622.7 million, while subscriptions and Marketing Solutions brought in $161.6 million and $175.5 million respectively.

LinkedIn revenue Q1 2009-Q3 2016

LinkedIn revenue historical

Source: Statista

LinkedIn valuation

LinkedIn’s IPO took place in May 2011, with shares priced at $83 on the New York Stock Exchange, giving a market cap of $7.8 billion.

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $196 a share in June 2016; a total of $26.2 billion, finalising the deal in December of the same year. It was purchased at something of a premium: 50% over the share price at the time. Indeed, stock price had crashed in early 2016, going as low as $101 in February after LinkedIn had posted a weak outlook for the rest of the year and announced the closure of its B2B Lead Accelerator tool. Over $10 billion was wiped off its valuation as a consequence.

It has posted its highest ever stock price a year before, reaching $276.18 per share.

LinkedIn share price history

LinkedIn share price

Source: Statista

Final thoughts

While it can’t claim the raw figures of Facebook, LinkedIn has long represented one of the most dominant names in the social media field. Indeed, in its particular field of operation, it stands almost completely unchallenged. If you’re a professional, then you’re pretty much honour bound to have a LinkedIn profile – whether you want to or not.

For that, it will always stand as a paragon of the virtue of lasering in on a market-based USP and moving first. With user numbers still edging up, the LinkedIn brand seems likely to continue to be dominant in its field.

In a difficult time for many social media enterprises, perhaps the acquisition came at just the right time. LinkedIn’s future is now inextricably tied in with Microsoft, seemingly intended to play a central part in the tech juggernaut’s second coming as a cloud-based enterprise. It’s a formidable pairing, with both brands enjoying de rigueur status in the professional sphere. With cross platform functionality baked into the Office suite and LinkedIn, the two brands look set to build upon each other’s captive audiences.

The challenge, however, will come in reaching profitability. While LinkedIn brings in revenue, it also haemorrhages money. Of course, Microsoft have been around long enough, experiencing highs and lows. While acknowledging it is not infallible, we might also give Satya Nadella and his company at least some benefit of the doubt.

Indeed, Microsoft joined Amazon and Apple in the $1 trillion club in 2019. LinkedIn is still a very public part of this.