It is unusual for me to post about the same channel two days in a row, but I got the opportunity to listen to a webcast hosted by Jeff Weiner and Steve Sordello. Aside from the financials, there was some interesting data that shows how the channel is changing and what their long term ambitions might be.

Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn announced:

 “LinkedIn had a strong second quarter with all of our key operating and financial metrics showing solid performance. Our ongoing investment in product innovation drove healthy engagement as measured by unique visiting members and member page views, and our three revenue streams all experienced significant growth.”

Impressively they have managed to maintain member growth at 2 per second. The total number of users now tops 174 million globally. The number of unique visitors to the site each month average 106 Million making it the 26′th most visited site on the web. What is also important to note is that 23% of the unique visitors are coming via mobile. My feeling is that this is driven by the group updates by e-mail to a mobile device, and reiterates the importance of headline. Typically we check e-mails on the go, and it is the headlines that attract people to click on links. Write your headlines as if you are writing for twitter, with short punchy headings that will stand out in the list of group updates. You need to be thinking mobile when you think LinkedIn. Interestingly the channel are now working on mobile ads, and are no doubt learning a lot from Facebooks venture in to the area of mobile only ads. The new look home page with added social figures is also having a big impact on driving traffic back to the home page.

I see PPC advertising being one of the growth areas for the channel because the structured data on the channel lends itself to reaching the right people, which will only increase the click-through rate. You should be considering including LinkedIn PPC in to your attraction strategy, and that visitors may well be coming by mobile and  will need to land in a mobile friendly environment. The revenue from marketing solutions, which includes PPC grew by 64% in the second quarter, (compared with 28% in the last quarter), totalling $63.1Mn.

Hiring solutions revenue, which includes the Recruiter products totalled $228.2Mn,an increase of 107% on the last quarter. This indicates that recruiters are moving to the paid for solutions in increasing numbers, in part because LinkedIn have invested in increasing their sales teams significantly resulting in 57% of revenue coming from the field sales team as opposed to on-line sales. This indicates that more recruiters are investing in LinkedIn as their primary sourcing channel. Given that hiring solutions revenue represents over half of the total revenue, recruiters can expect more investment in developing the offering in this area. Over the last quarter, LinkedIn have rolled out Talent Pipeline to all of its recruiter customers, and this has seen over a million candidates added in to the Talent Pipeline. This feature makes talent mapping a reality, as well as being able to keep track of target candidates, and their career progress. If you are not using the paid for solution, it might be a good time to revisit the options available. The Talent Pipeline solution enables recruiters to organise search results, tagging, keep notes and see how your employees are connected with them down to third level connections. The indication from the webcast is that LinkedIn are investing heavily in new product development, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see hiring solutions topping the list for new innovation.

Premium subscriptions, which give users extra InMail, more search results, open link which means anyone can message you even if they are outside of your network, and other features represents a growth in revenue by 82% on the last quarter totalling $43.5Mn. More users are signing up for these services, and it is another option that you need to be looking at. As more recruiters move to premium subscriptions, and the results suggest they are, you need to track what your competition is doing to gain an advantage over you. It is worth looking at your competitors to see if they are sporting the premium subscription badge on their profile. This is the brown In badge on the users profile.

Whilst revenue increased by 89% for the last quarter, the net income dropped from $4.5Mn to $2.8Mn. The company put this down to a significant investment in product development, sales and marketing and headcount. The last quarter has seen some big changes in the channel.

According to the Companies announcement, the product highlights of the last quarter include:

  • Launched its first app designed for the iPad. The app was received positively, and engagement trends are encouraging as more than half of page views on the app are being generated by content-focused products such as updates, news and groups.  
  • Simplified the design of its flagship social news product LinkedIn Today and added deeper integration into the homepage.  Engagement on LinkedIn Today is now up more than 150% since the introduction of these new features.  
  • Released Targeted Status Updates and Follower Statistics to all of the more than two million organizations on LinkedIn with active Company Profiles.
  • Completed the rollout of Talent Pipeline to the entire universe of LinkedIn Recruiter customers. In less than three months, Recruiter customers have already added more than one million prospective candidates into Talent Pipeline, enhancing their ability to quickly identify and hire new talent for their organizations.

Additionally, in July LinkedIn began rolling out a significant redesign to the homepage, enabling members to discover, share, and discuss the professional information that is most important to them.  The redesign has begun to positively impact engagement metrics; for example, shares originating on LinkedIn, including status updates, are now at all-time highs.

Steve Sordello, CFO of LinkedIn said

 “Strong performance across our three product lines drove record levels of revenue and adjusted EBITDA. As we continue to invest aggressively in technology, product, and our businesses, we remain focused on achieving our long-term goals.”

These developments reinforce my belief that those long term are are geared towards 8 objectives:

> Keeping people in channel in order to increase PPC revenues.

> Build on the potential for targeted shares within networks, becoming the channel for relevant business news.

> Becoming the premium source for sharing original content in other channels in order to drive traffic back to LinkedIn.

> Developing the home page as a social destination.

> Becoming the reference point for professional data on anyone, and extending the range of categories of people who add profiles to be more comprehensive across all levels of staff.

> To become the professional profile/resume for all students before they enter work.

> To add career products for benchmarking and career planning.

> Becoming the essential reference point for third party apps requiring in-channel access to professional data.

LinkedIn are to be congratulated on outstanding results, and for reinvesting revenue back in to the channel, making it even more critical for recruiters. I’m expecting plenty more changes and new products over the next quarter. It is going to be interesting working out the best way to make the most out of them. The results in full are included in this slideshare: