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Microsoft and LinkedIn: A Primer for Social Marketers

When I heard the news that Microsoft is set to acquire LinkedIn for $26.2 billion dollars by EOY, my first reaction was…This just feels right. It was like watching two of your friends from different life stages hit it off, start dating, and live happily ever after.

Okay, one step at a time, but you know what I mean. This is the perfect match for both the Microsoft brand and the LinkedIn brand. Together, they’ll be an unstoppable force, and the go-to network for professionals, on and off social. Now, let’s break down the facts of this acquisition, the implications for Microsoft and LinkedIn, and what it means for you as a social marketer.

Nota bene: Apparently, other people agree with me about this being a perfect match, because after the announcement of the acquisition, LinkedIn shares jumped 47%. 

What the Brands Have in Common

LinkedIn is “the world’s largest and most valuable professional network,” and Microsoft is a multi-platform, multi-product organization. A passing glance shows a vague, unpolished connection between the two companies, but they have more in common than you might think.

  • The same target audience. Professionals. Decision-makers in businesses. Enterprise brands.
  • A shared focus on enhancing productivity. Here is LinkedIn’s company description:

LinkedIn connects the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful and transforms the way companies hire, market, and sell.

And here is Microsoft’s:

Microsoft is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

The major way that both brands help organizations and people enhance productivity is by taking individual parts of their organizations out of silos.

Microsoft and LinkedIn's Economic Graphs side-by-side from the presentation deck.
Microsoft and LinkedIn’s Economic Graphs side-by-side from the presentation deck.


What the Brands Do for One Another

Microsoft is on a mission to “empower every person and organization on the planet,” according to Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s CEO. How will LinkedIn help Microsoft achieve this mission?

  • With an expanded audience. While Microsoft and LinkedIn are “highly complimentary,” they also have unique TAM (Total Addressable Markets), which combine to equal an estimated $315 billion in TAM. Microsoft has 1.2+ billion Officer users, while LinkedIn has over 433 million members to date. Combine those numbers (even considering some overlap), and you have an impressive pool of professional users to serve.
  • With impressive growth. LinkedIn has shown consistent growth across all pertinent metrics: membership growth, engagement, and revenue.
LinkedIn Stats
  • With data. By combining Microsoft’s data on how users interact with their software and cloud offerings, and LinkedIn’s data on how their members move and interact, Microsoft will have an unprecedented understanding of how professionals work and travel through their careers — and a chance to build innovative product offerings using this data.

What it Means for You, the Marketer

Here’s what you can expect from the LinkedIn acquisition as a social marketer.

  • Unified customer and employee information. The Microsoft/LinkedIn partnership promises to link Office 365 properties and LinkedIn data so that all your employee information will be consistent and seamlessly integrated into both platforms.
  • The Intelligent Newsfeed. Together, Microsoft and LinkedIn aim to “reinvent ways to to make professionals more productive.” This will take the form of a project management/social networking hybrid product in the future.
  • A predictive digital assistant. Microsoft wants to leverage LinkedIn’s capabilities to give you the professional assistance and networking connections you need before you even know you need them.
LinkedIn MIcrosoft
  • Social selling capabilities. Are you a brand who wants to sell product and/or service on social? Chances are, if you are reading this post, the answer to this question is YES. Microsoft wants to join the Dynamics CRM (and any other CRM your organization might use), and connect them directly to the LinkedIn Sales Navigator — so you can turn insights into better sales numbers.
  • Project management insights. Understand your own team’s productivity, capabilities, and effectiveness with a project management tool that can also give you feedback on how to get and retain top talent in your organization.
  • Learning tools. From on-boarding to development, Microsoft and LinkedIn will use their pool of data to recommend and facilitate the most useful courses for employees. Whether you are a manager or have a recruitment role, this will be relevant for you.

Are there any other ways you think you will be affected by Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn? Let us know on Twitter! 




Lucy Hitz

I’m the Head of Marketing Communications here at Simply Measured, where I'm responsible for our content program, social media marketing, PR, and comarketing ventures. I love yoga, The X-Files, peaty scotch, hiking, and poetry. If I were a social media channel, I’d want to be Instagram, but I think I’m Twitter.

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