LinkedIn had a poor start to the year. Its stock tumbled by 44% when it announced its quarterly earnings at the start of February.
However, there was strong growth in one area. For the first time, sponsored updates surpassed 50% of the total marketing revenue. LinkedIn makes up 21% of its revenue from marketing. So more than 10% ($91.5 million) of the professional network’s revenue comes from Sponsored Updates. Now the company is now looking to expand in this area.
“We see a huge opportunity for more brands to harness Sponsored Updates on LinkedIn to target their audiences with useful content at the right time to the right audience,” Henry Clifford-Jones, director of LinkedIn Marketing in the UK, Spain, and Germany told Business Insider on Thursday.
Clifford-Jones talked about LinkedIn’s shift from being a site that focuses on recruitment, to one which people browse for the content on the site.
“We now see there’s something like more than 15 times more engagement in the feed with content than there is with job listings,” he said.”That’s been a rapid shift and what that means is that people don’t look for jobs all the time, but people are interested in what influential business people are seeing and sharing.”
Clifford-Jones talked about the success of the influencer programme, a product which allows users to publish long-form blog posts. It was initially only available for 500 high profile leaders in business and politics. However, since LinkedIn opened up the influencer programme to all users, it has seen it grow to more than 2 million users.
Brands are also jumping on board: “Increasingly what brands are doing is building a presence on LinkedIn and then delivering content to people who are interested and then increasing the reach of that, by targeting people that sit within their audience,” the director of marketing said.
Other strategies Clifford-Jones mentioned for LinkedIn’s strategy in 2016 include growth in membership in China and among students, as well as an increased focus on video. With these combined efforts LinkedIn hopes it can overturn Barclays’ Paul Vogel’s claim that the company is “trending in the wrong direction.”