Microsoft Buys LinkedIn: What Does It Mean?

Microsoft Buys LinkedIn: What Does It Mean?

Social media marketing is always changing. There’s always something going on, it seems, to throw the social media world a curveball.

This past week, a curveball was thrown when computer giant Microsoft decided to purchase the professional networking platform LinkedIn for a staggering $26.2 billion.

Some quick math: There are 105 million active monthly users, so Microsoft effectively paid $249.52 per profile. If you only factor in the number of paid accounts – 2 million – the cost balloons to $13,100. Of course, if you look at page views, it tells a better story. LinkedIn received 45 billion page views over the last three months, so that works out to $0.58 per page view – not bad.

Why did Microsoft make the leap? It saw an opportunity to get into the social media world and not only extend its reach, but also take advantage of a massive amount of consumer data. Throw in the fact that these users are business users and you can see why Microsoft would be interested.

Is this bad news for LinkedIn? Not necessarily. Other similar purchases worked out well for the platform being acquired, like when Tumblr was acquired by Yahoo in 2013. Actually, just kidding: Tumblr hasn’t met any of its revenue goals and has languished. That could be the future for LinkedIn.

For its part, Microsoft is likely to recommend a few changes, such as a unified professional profile, a smarter newsfeed, and use of its Cortana personal digital assistant for LinkedIn users. That could spur innovation with the platform that still leads when it comes to the small social media marketing niche of professional audiences.

Impact on Social Media Marketing

How does this impact marketers? It could help companies who take advantage of LinkedIn’s sales tools and reach for its sales teams. You could, in theory, also use advertising to tap into Microsoft’s diverse pool of products, from Windows to Office, Outlook, Bing, and the like.

Don’t move away from LinkedIn, but don’t put all your eggs in one basket, either. LinkedIn could certainly start to slip under Microsoft’s reign, so spread out your marketing budget to other platforms if they’re appropriate for your business.