August 5, 2014, 1:50 PM

LinkedIn plays up its sales and marketing tools

The business-to-business networking service, which is adding new advertising and marketing options, reported a 47% increase in Q2 revenue.

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LinkedIn Corp., the social network for more than 300 million businesspeople, is out to be more than a place to meet and greet. In recent weeks it has launched several sales and marketing tools—and entered an agreement to acquire social ad-targeting company Bizo—as it strives to boost its revenue by helping companies market and sell to each other.

Last week the company reported a 47% increase in second quarter revenue, to $534 million from $364 a year earlier, including a 44% increase in revenue from marketing services, to
$106 million. 

Among its new products is Sales Navigator, which it launched July 31 as an application that lets salespeople meet potential customers on LinkedIn through common connections among professional colleagues. “This new SaaS product delivers a customized view into LinkedIn to better connect sales professionals with the right buyers, by leveraging key insights and connections across the LinkedIn network,” CEO Jeff Weiner said in a July 31 Q2 conference call with stock analysts, according to a transcript provided by Seeking Alpha.

The cost to users is $1,200 per year. SaaS, or software-as-a-service, lets users access a technology application via a web browser without having to run it on their own web servers.

Bizo, for which LinkedIn intends to pay $175 million, “offers technology and products that enable measurable display and social advertising programs specifically focused on professional audience segments,” LinkedIn says. It adds that B2B marketers will be able to use Bizo to target sales prospects within professional segments. “Our ability to integrate their B2B solutions with our content marketing products will enable us to become the most effective platform for B2B marketers to engage professionals,” says Deep Nishar, LinkedIn’s senior vice president of product and user experience.

Last month, LinkedIn launched Direct Sponsored Content, which Weiner says enables marketers “to test and optimize targeted content campaigns” throughout the LinkedIn network, instead of just on a company’s own LinkedIn page. He adds that Direct Sponsored Content will complement Bizo. “Integration of Bizo will increase the speed with which we can leverage our own content marketing products to create a comprehensive B2B platform and help customers build stronger relationships with professionals,” Weiner said during the conference call with stock analysts last week.

In June, LinkedIn launched its Job Search App for iPhone, “which at the end of Q2 accounted for more than 40% of all job views versus approximately 25% a year ago,” Weiner said during the conference call. “Engaged users of the new app are using it to view an average of 15 jobs per week.”

For the second quarter ended June 30, LinkedIn also reported:

● A net loss of $1 million, compared with net income of $3.7 million a year earlier;

● Non-GAAP net income of $63 million, up from non-GAAP income of $44 million. It said its non-GAAP income figures exclude tax-affected stock-based compensation expense and amortization of acquired intangible assets. GAAP, or Generally Accepted Accounting Principles, is the set of accounting rules by U.S. public companies.

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