Advertisers now can use LinkedIn data -- job function, company, and industry -- for search campaigns on the Bing Ads platform.
David Pann, general manager for Microsoft search advertising, made the announcement in a blog post Tuesday.
“With over 575 million global LinkedIn members, part of our vision has always been to bring together each company's rich data and deep understanding of users to help our customers reach people in meaningful ways,” he wrote.
Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in June 2016. Since then the company has been on a mission to integrate LinkedIn’s data with other Microsoft products. In September the company announced it would build LinkedIn into Outlook and other Office apps. The idea was to allow Outlook users to coauthor documents with LinkedIn contacts in Word, Excel and other apps.
Marketers, for the most part, are pleased with the decision. “This is an incredibly powerful offering for B2B advertisers in particular," said Janel Laravie, Chacka Marketing founder. "This type of targeting provides a unique value for Bing to attract some of those advertisers that are still only tapping into Google because of their significant market share. A lot of B2B companies don’t see the value in using Bing, but having the ability to target to this degree makes it much more attractive.”
While today’s announcement made no mention of a connection to Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella’s pay, which now links to LinkedIn’s performance, the idea of allowing advertisers to use LinkedIn data for search campaigns on Bing certainly suggests the company is continuing to move in that direction.
The pay goal also suggests that advertisers could see more aggressive moves by Microsoft to integrate Bing, in order to drive up revenue and profits.
Nearly one-third of Nadella’s annual pay comes from a performance stock award. LinkedIn will be one of six areas tracked, alongside metrics like the number of Windows 10 month active devices being sold and used.
Microsoft is scheduled to release earnings on Wednesday. eMarketer estimates that Microsoft overall will generate $5.76 billion in ad revenue worldwide, rising to $7.05 billion by 2020. LinkedIn should bring in about $1.75 billion in 2018, rising to $2 billion in 2019, and $2.24 billion in 2020.
In the period of more than two years since Microsoft acquired LinkedIn, the company has made strides in building out advertising and marketing services. In September the company launched Dynamic Ads in Campaign Manager. In June, the company introduced Carousel Ads for Sponsored Content, and back in May it advertisers saw the introduction of the Microsoft Audience Network, supported by Bing Ads and LinkedIn data.