By Jay Bemis | Advertising Systems Inc.
When it was launched in 2003, LinkedIn mainly served as a professional networking service where businesses could post jobs and potential employees could post their curriculum vitae for any potential employers to see.
Owned by Microsoft since 2016, LinkedIn has grown exponentially, now boasting its own business model with more than 600 million members worldwide, nearly a tenth of whom reside in the United States.
In fact, LinkedIn is growing even faster than expected in the more recent economic climate, with the analysts at eMarketer forecasting last week that the platform’s 58.5 million users in the US at the end of 2019 will grow to 62.1 million users by the end of this year — and then to nearly 69 million users by the end of 2023.
Growing, too, are LinkedIn’s revenues, which will grow to $1.59 billion this year and $1.77 billion in 2021. Most of that money comes from B2B (business-to-business) advertising, or the marketing of products and services to other businesses.
What Is B2B Marketing/Advertising?
B2B advertising holds several key distinctions from B2C marketing, which is based on business-to-consumer strategies.
“In broad sense, B2B marketing content tends to be more informational and straightforward than B2C,” LinkedIn itself notes in a recent blog post that details the business-to-business or B2B strategy.
“This is because business purchase decisions, in comparison to those of consumers, are based more on bottom-line revenue impact,” the blog adds. “Return on investment (ROI) is rarely a consideration for the everyday person — at least in a monetary sense — but it’s a primary focus for corporate decision makers.”
The LinkedIn blog goes on to tell businesses how to build a B2B strategy of their own, beginning with early steps of developing an “overarching vision,” defining a market and buyer persona, and identifying B2B marketing tactics and channels, and then the advanced steps of creating assets, running campaigns, and measuring and improving those campaign’s results.
LinkedIn also details the types of marketing at a B2Ber’s disposal, including blogs, search engine optimization, social media, whitepapers and e-books, email and videos.
And, of course, it offers up a comprehensive look at a LinkedIn-based marketing plan.
Up There With the Likes of Facebook and Twitter
LinkedIn users now make up about a third of all social network users in the US, according to eMarketer, and the platform’s steady growth will keep it at that level over the next few years.
“LinkedIn continues to innovate its platform and offerings for both users and advertisers,” said Jillian Ryan, principal analyst at eMarketer, when releasing the LinkedIn report last week.
“Although, when compared with social platforms like Facebook and Instagram, LinkedIn can be considered a slower follow, the social network has recently launched features like LinkedIn Live and Events,” she said.
“While these new experiences aren’t unique to LinkedIn, the use cases for professional audiences can be differentiators for maintaining current users and attracting new ones.”