The Future of LinkedIn and B2B

“The future is much brighter than the past. You just have to find the light switch.” So says Debasish Mridha, author, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

According to market research company eMarketer, the future of LinkedIn as it relates to B2B marketing also looks brighter than the past. eMarketer predicts that by 2021, LinkedIn will be used for advertising and marketing by more than half of all marketers.

The company also forecasted that 49.6% of companies with more than a hundred employees will use LinkedIn for those same purposes this year. They added they anticipated a 6.2% rise in users from last year, to a total of 62.1 million people in 2020. To put things in perspective, that number represents about a third of all social media users in the U.S.

eMarketer’s data goes back to 2017, when 46.3% of companies surveyed reported relying on LinkedIn for advertising and marketing. That number has been slowly and steadily growing ever since. What was excluded from their data were companies that used LinkedIn for recruiting.  Many do.

The light switch and what’s helped to spur LinkedIn’s growth in popularity have been recent additions made to the platform. The additions, like industry, company, seniority, job title, and even education, make it easier for B2B marketers to target business prospects. Many respondents said they also purchased LinkedIn’s Sales Navigator, a tool that allows them to further research and interact with prospects.

What also makes observers optimistic about the future growth of LinkedIn for B2B marketers was the introduction last September of the most recent arm of the Campaign Manager tool called Objective Based Advertising (OBA). In addition to allowing users to create their own ads within minutes, LinkedIn also bills the addition of OBA as helping to generate leads, build brand awareness, and drive traffic to a brand’s website.

One unique feature of OBA is its account targeting. This gives marketers the ability to target more successfully. They can pair up targeted companies against more than 13 million LinkedIn pages. Marketers can also apply professional demographics to focus on and deliver more conversions. In some ways, it’s now similar to Facebook. Users can now choose one of  three objectives – Awareness, Consideration or Conversions.

Another feature is conversion tracking. Not only does it give marketers the ability to gauge the number of customers who purchased after viewing an ad, but it also provides valuable analytic data on the publics that converted, including information about their industry, company, job title, etc.

And while LinkedIn isn’t normally thought of for advertising, digital marketing agency Hanakin’s 2019 survey discovered that almost half the marketers they surveyed reported using their advertising budget on LinkedIn. eMarketer predicts that LinkedIn will earn nearly $1.6 billion in advertising income this year.

For marketers, one thing appears clear. LinkedIn is and will continue to be a significant platform which, when properly utilized, can be extremely useful and effective in opening doors and cultivating a B2B audience.

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