LinkedIn Network Display Extends Brand Reach Outside Platform

Expanding its Marketing Solutions platform, LinkedIn will now let businesses target potential business clients beyond its borders.

A new LinkedIn Network Display will help brands reach professional audiences with display ads both on LinkedIn and off-platform across thousands of publisher sites. Plus, a new LinkedIn Lead Accelerator is designed to connect companies to target professionals with tailored content.

LinkedIn executives say the expansion should contribute significantly to the company's bottom line.

"Worldwide, we estimate the B2B advertising market to be a $50 billion opportunity, and this is the next step in our strategy for addressing it," said Russell Glass, head of marketing products at LinkedIn.

Glass said the new Lead Accelerator borrows from Bizo’s Multi-Channel Nurturing product, which LinkedIn acquired last summer. Glass founded Bizo and served as its CEO before selling the B2B marketing platform to LinkedIn.

“LinkedIn’s goal is to offer the most effective end-to-end platform for marketers, and the capabilities that come with the marriage of LinkedIn and Bizo get us that much closer," Glass said.

Prior to its official launch, LinkedIn tested the Accelerator with a number of pilot brand partners, including Lenovo, Salesforce, and Samsung. The Accelerator includes AutoFill -- a form-fill tool designed to increase conversions -- and an analytics tool. Among other results, Lenovo’s cost per lead decreased by 60%, according to Glass.

Thanks to a successful mobile shift and international expansion, LinkedIn recently posted strong quarterly earnings. Year-over-year, revenue for the fourth quarter rose 44% to $643 million on earnings per share of $0.02.

During the quarter, LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions products generated $153 million in revenue -- an increase of 56% compared to the fourth quarter of 2013. Marketing Solutions revenue represented 24% of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2014, compared to 22% of total revenue in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Analysts were roundly impressed by LinkedIn’s recent performance. “We would continue to be buyers [of LinkedIn stock],” Pacific Crest analyst Evan Wilson wrote in a note to investors.

Looking forward, LinkedIn said it expected revenue to range between $618 million and $622 million in the first quarter of 2015. For the full year, it expected revenue to range between $2.93 billion and $2.95 billion.

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