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Microsoft Buys LinkedIn: What Does This Mean for B2B Marketing?

Yesterday, Microsoft announced its acquisition of LinkedIn in a $26.2 billion deal that will close later this year. Jeff Weiner, LinkedIn’s current CEO, will continue to run the company and report to Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO.

“This deal is all about bringing together the professional cloud and professional network,” Mr. Nadella said in a telephone interview. (The New York Times)

This seems like a good move for both companies which cater to the same user base – business professionals. For Microsoft, this marks another step on its shift from a traditional software vendor model to a cloud computing model.

What could this mean?

LinkedIn has 433 million members worldwide and is considered to be the most effective social platform for B2B lead generation. The following facts highlight LinkedIn’s value for B2B brands:

  • “LinkedIn is the social network with the largest number of followers of B2B companies.” (Social Media B2B)
  • “88% of B2B marketers use LinkedIn.” (Social Media Examiner)
  • “80% of social media B2B leads come from LinkedIn.” (LinkedIn)

Microsoft owns Bing, which powers 32.8 percent of global search market share and brought in more than $1B in revenue in Q1 through Bing Advertising (Marketing Land). This acquisition should increase inventory for ad placements and improve understanding and targeting of users across the social and search engine platforms.

“For the B2B Market we are excited to see how this relationship expands Microsoft and Linkedin advertising opportunities. LinkedIn registered user data is bar none the most accurate B2B social network which gives Microsoft a much-needed boost in credibility in targeting business-to-business users with this acquisition,” said Michael Orlinski, Overdrive Interactive’s Director of Search and Media.

B2B marketers should definitely watch Microsoft and LinkedIn’s next steps very closely.

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