Darren Low posted on 16 November 2020
LinkedIn has just stated it now has 722 million members. We look at what this means, and what LinkedIn is looking like right now for brands.
LinkedIn is a well-respected and thriving social media platform. It seems to have recently enjoyed some fabulous growth too, which makes it a real success story. Who would have thought a slightly stuffy professional networking tool would become such a powerhouse of social media even when faced with ‘fun’ competition like Facebook and Instagram?
The Covid-19 epidemic has been highlighted as a potential reason for the recent explosion in growth that LinkedIn has enjoyed. During the epidemic, more people were looking for work, whether this was full-time or part-time employment. So it makes sense that a professional networking platform would see bigger numbers.
Compared to the previous year, Q3 in 2020 saw a 16% increase in revenue for LinkedIn, according to a press release from Microsoft, LinkedIn’s parent company. That is a huge leap for any brand, and great news for one that has millions every year in revenue.
“Advertiser demand on LinkedIn returned to near pre-COVID levels, up 40% year over year, as marketers use our tools to connect with professionals ready to do business. And organizations continue to tap into the combination of LinkedIn Sales Navigator and Dynamics 365 to ensure salespeople have the context they need to sell remotely.”
When a social media platform reports a rise in members or users we do have to take it with a small pinch of salt. Members and users are not the same as ‘active users’. Active users show how much engagement is actually going on with the platform. So you could have 100 members and just 20 daily active users.
However, LinkedIn has proudly stated that it now has 722 million members, compared to the 675 million members it reported as having in January 2020. That is a considerable leap, and is especially impressive when you consider that this is no new platform, it is not novel or trending. Instead, it is a professional networking platform that still has a slightly stuffy reputation.
Of course, they are not giving us any active user figures yet, so we have to imagine that LinkedIn is naturally seeing more engagement simply down to the fact that it has more users. It is safe to say that they have significantly fewer active users than members.
Covid cannot be given all the credit for bringing more people to the platform. Microsoft made an effort to bring more members on a conscious level. LinkedIn had a potentially serious image problem until the new look arrived earlier this year. Now, it is brighter, and even has some white space. White space is a big deal for a website that was previously, at its brightest, dark blue. This has made a difference, says Microsoft.
Microsoft was product of the new look:
“Two years ago, our brand evolved to better reflect LinkedIn’s community of members and organizations that come together to help, support, and inspire one another. Now, we’re bringing the next chapter of this brand evolution to life across our platform with an entirely new look and feel that embodies our diverse, inclusive, warm and welcoming community.”
It does look a lot better, but whether that is enough to bring in new members in their millions we will never know. And of course, LinkedIn also rolled out Stories worldwide, so that was a brand new feature that obviously brought in some further engagement.
Linkedin is obviously seeing big things ahead. It talks about more ad revenue and engagement coming up in the quarter ahead. In any case, with a platform that is clearly growing, it makes sense to consider the platform for advertising. If a brand needs to reach a B2B young professional market, this could well be the place to do that.
LinkedIn has an amazing ad service, to be honest. It is highly targeted, perhaps more than Facebook (within LinkedIn’s limited market of course) and that means there is plenty of potential here to make some good ROI.
Until LinkedIn releases clear usage figures we will never know just how much of that huge growth in membership matters. But until then, as an ad platform, it seems to be one to watch.
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