What LinkedIn's Q3 Earnings Mean for the Future of the Platform - Firebrand Group

What LinkedIn’s Q3 Earnings Mean for the Future of the Platform

What LinkedIn’s Q3 Earnings Mean for the Future of the Platform
LinkedIn headquarters

LinkedIn just unveiled its Q3 2016 earnings report, which had a number of nice callouts:

– An 18% growth in the member base year-over-year; 467 million members now, in total
– Member page views climbed 27% in Q3
– Over 60% of all LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile devices (continuing “to grow at more than double the rate of overall member activity,” according to the announcement)
– $960 million in revenue in Q3 (a 23% year-over-year increase)

In terms of which of its products grew the most, LinkedIn’s cash cow, Talent Solutions grew 24% year-over-year to $623 million for the quarter. When breaking down Talent Solutions further, Hiring brought in $556 million, with $67 million coming in from Learning and Development. The fact that the site’s largest revenue driver is growing above 20% year-over-year is nothing to sneeze at.

However, we’re not talking about a company without a bit of revenue diversity. Marketing Solutions and Premium Subscriptions were up 26% and 17% respectively, year-over-year. Those brought in $175 million and $162 million respectively, and don’t show any major signs of slowing down much. Sponsored Content, in particular, is the largest driver of Marketing Solutions’ contributions to the bottom line, and that looks like a healthy line of business to be in. Likewise, Sales Navigator, which helps with social selling, grew at a rapid clip and looks to be a healthy part of Premium Subscriptions for awhile to come.

Now, let’s compare this with Twitter, which just released weak Q3 results on Thursday, and announced it would be forced to eliminate 9% of its staff. That’s approximately 350 people; quite the morale buster for those left behind. Of course, this is an effort to sharply reduce costs and crawl towards profitability. Twitter’s Q3 revenue grew 8% year-over-year to $616 million, but that’s just after 6% growth in its advertising revenue. Sure, there was a 26% year-over-year growth for its data licensing business, but is that enough to give the platform a bright future? It pains me to say it, but probably not.

Let’s jump back to LinkedIn: a company with diversified revenue, a parent in Microsoft that should help it identify new revenue streams, and no signs of slowing down. It just wouldn’t be smart to bet against LinkedIn anytime soon.

Jeremy Goldman has been working with companies looking to take their operations online and inject “social” into their processes for over a decade. After a career at L'Oreal and Unilever, Jeremy founded Firebrand Group. His views have been featured in publications such as Inc., Mashable, Wall Street Journal, Smart Money, ReadWriteWeb, and The Next Web. His first book, Going Social: Excite Customers, Generate Buzz, and Energize Your Brand with the Power of Social Media hit the #1 spot on for social media and business.