The sale of LinkedIn to Microsoft created a lot of waves in the world of social media. It had people wondering which social network would be sold next and why Microsoft had opted to make the sale. What few people were talking about was the inevitability of such a thing.
LinkedIn has been on the ropes for years. Its premium subscription service wasn’t yielding as much as it used to, and it was trying and failing to come up with an alternative.
There are many sins that caused LinkedIn to fail, but one of those sins was failing to monetize in terms of lead generation. This business community should have been a fertile ground for generating leads, but why was that and what will Microsoft do to change things?
A Core Problem
LinkedIn has received a lot of negative press in recent years. Part of this was due to the fact that it suffered from hack attacks that led to account losses on Twitter. It also lost major lawsuits regarding spam emails. These were only symptoms of a deeper problem. These were only sideshows that misdirected the public eye.
The reality is that LinkedIn failed because it had the problem of not being able to turn its huge business community into money, or at least consistent money. Its revenues are still expected to grow to $1 billion this year, though.
Olin Hyde, CEO of LeadCrunch, a B2B SaaS platform that uses data and artificial intelligence to generate high precision leads, adds “There was so much potential to not only help boost LinkedIn revenues, but to help businesses connect with each other. LinkedIn fundamentally failed to utilize that.”
Microsoft has tons of potential for righting the wrongs of the past and changing the way the world works. But how?
B2B marketers and B2B businesses already know how valuable the Gmail Sponsored Promotions feature can be. You can target specific domains and the audiences of specific businesses. And this is valuable because so many people have Gmail. Microsoft can now do the same with Outlook.
In fact, for large enterprises, Outlook is the number one choice. Microsoft may now replicate the same feature within Outlook. And that’s just one place where we could soon see sponsored updates.
LinkedIn ads could be expanded across the rest of Microsoft’s assets. For example, B2B businesses could have the chance to advertise in Office 365, Skype, and MSN.
The problem before was that LinkedIn didn’t use its full selection of advertising options.
Account-Based Marketing for Bing
It’s true that Google is the number one search engine, but people still use Bing. Many B2B marketers have found that using Google for lead generation has yielded them some great benefits. Now, since there are likely to be synergies between Bing and Linkedin, marketers might be able to get more bang for the buck with Microsoft.
Account-based marketing is especially interesting because marketers have a lot to gain from being able to bulk upload lists on Bing. Once they do this, they can start serving ads based on their broad match keywords.
One of the big problems with the Bing search engine is that ads don’t have the same retargeting networks. Together with the advanced LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, Microsoft has just taken its first steps into the retargeting game. This could bring retargeting to Bing for the first time, which would present a challenge for Google.
Another area where Microsoft could really improve is with the Lead Accelerator. They could easily merge Bing search history with LinkedIn. The more numbers they have to work with the more effective B2B advertisements and retargeting will be.
What is the Future of LinkedIn with Microsoft?
There are so many other ways in which LinkedIn and Microsoft could work together to improve prospects for B2B marketers. For the B2B world, this is a positive development because it means more competition for everybody. The added competition will ultimately lead to an arms race, where both Google and Microsoft will work to improve their services.
It will prevent stagnancy and will mean an exciting new time for B2B businesses. But this is certainly going to take a while to become a reality. Microsoft has yet to reveal any concrete plans for what it will do with the service, which is why LinkedIn is continuing to run as normal.
Whether LinkedIn will become more useful and successful entity remains to be seen. Only time will tell, but whatever the outcome the B2B industry is waiting on edge.
What do you think about the future of LinkedIn with Microsoft?