When Microsoft reported Q1 2021 earnings Tuesday, total revenue grew 19% to $41.7 billion, its largest jump since 2018.
Profits came in at $15.5 billion -- pushed higher partly by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.
LinkedIn, the B2B social media site, grew revenue by 25% year-over-year, driven by strong advertising demand in the Marketing Solutions business.
Sessions grew 29% with record engagement, according to the company. During the past 12 months, revenue surpassed $3 billion and continued to grow nearly three times faster than the B2B digital advertising market.
“Improvement in the advertising market again benefited our Search and LinkedIn businesses, and in gaming we continue to see record engagement and strong monetization across our platform, as well as demand that significantly exceeded supply for Xbox Series X and S consoles,” said Amy Hood, Microsoft CFO, during the earnings call.
During the first quarter, LinkedIn seemed to take the spotlight -- with revenue rising by 25%, compared with the year-ago quarter. Microsoft’s Dynamic enterprise product line also did well -- up 26%, driven by Dynamics 365 revenue growth of 45%.
Microsoft reported that LinkedIn now supports 756 million members on its network. Conversations during the quarter rose 43%, content share rose 29%, and the hours on LinkedIn increased by 80%.
eMarketer estimates that LinkedIn will take 1.4% of U.S. digital ad revenue share in 2021 -- up from 1.2% in 2019. By 2023, eMarketer expects LinkedIn to generate $3.77 billion.
Aside from Xbox's content and services in the personal computing space, which rose 34%, revenue from search advertising -- excluding traffic acquisition costs -- increased 17%.
Surface revenue rose 12%, while Windows OEM and commercial product sand cloud services each rose 10%. Server products and cloud service revenue rose 26% and 23%, respectively. Azure revenue grew 50%, driven by continued strength in Microsoft’s consumption-based business.
“Microsoft's recent moves, including the purchase of AI and speech-recognition provider Nuance for $19.7 billion, only underscores the continued demand for cloud-based solutions that accelerate digital transformation,” Dustin Grosse, chief marketing and strategy officer at Nintex, wrote in an email to Search & Performance Marketing Daily.