For all the growth and opportunity the mobile Internet holds, it sure is hard for most companies turn a buck on it.LinkedIn is no exception, but it’s in a better position with mobile than most. Mobile is its fastest growing service. Last year 10% of unique visitors to LinkedIn came from mobile. This year its 23%, CEO Jeff Weiner said in an interview at the Citi Technology Conference.
Growing its mobile users helps the company way more than it hurts it, even it can’t make money on mobile directly right now. That’s because it makes two-thirds of its money on stuff other than Internet ads, such as its flagship Recruiter tool for enterprises, and premium subscriptions that give users extra tools like the ability to send direct messages to people.
“For LinkedIn we have three businesses, hiring solutions, marketing solutions, premium subscriptions,” Weiner said. Advertising comes under the marketing business and that’s represents under 30% of LinkedIn’s revenues, or “roughly 28% as of last quarter,” he said.
Mobile access helps its recruiting tool and subscription customers get more bang for their buck.
Still, that 30% figure is very important for LinkedIn. The company doesn’t want to see that vanish as mobile use escalates.
So Weiner is looking at the advertising display market as if it were really “two channels, phone vs. tablet,” he said.
The tablet is better suited to take ads because of its bigger screen. “We’ve already launched a pilot program on the iPad,” Weiner said. It’s being tested by some of LinkedIn’s biggest customers, companies that already spend millions a year on its other services. Weiner didn’t offer a lot of specifics but did say he was happy so far with that.
As for smartphones, LinkedIn hasn’t figured it out, yet. “We want to be very intelligent in how we go about it,” Weiner said. He doesn’t want ads or other income-producing services to turn users off from accessing the site from their smartphones.
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