LinkedIn is the world’s largest professional network, with over 706 million users across 200 countries. But the social networking site is mostly a free service. So a lot of people wonder: how does LinkedIn make any money?
LinkedIn provides plenty of opportunities for career growth by helping professionals expand their network, meet new clients, boost their sales, and establish their brand. Its focus on building business and professional relationships is what sets it apart from other social networking sites. This also means that LinkedIn is full of high quality leads.
But of course, in order to keep this whole operation running, it needs to make money. In December 2016, LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft for $27 billion. Even so, LinkedIn’s goal of connecting the world’s professionals to make them more successful hasn’t changed. And the same can be said for its monetization strategies: they’ve been using the same methods since the beginning.
Here we will talk about how LinkedIn monetizes its traffic and its users.
LinkedIn has three ways of making money: its marketing solutions, talent solutions, and premium subscriptions. This is according to LinkedIn’s quarterly SEC filings. The social networking site earns through these three revenue streams.
To put it simply, LinkedIn earns by selling recruitment services, advertising, and additional features. Of course, these revenue streams may not be obvious to most users because a lot of LinkedIn’s features are available for free.
In addition to these three main revenue streams, LinkedIn Learning Solutions is also worth mentioning. It is the site’s learning division. Although it is not a primary revenue driver, it is still significant because many LinkedIn members are using it to learn various skills and become more knowledgeable on different topics.
LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions refers to the LinkedIn Recruiter product—which is geared towards recruiters. It is used by corporate recruiting teams that want to use LinkedIn to find highly qualified candidates for vacant job positions.
Primarily sold to employers and recruiters, Recruiter has always been one of LinkedIn’s biggest sources of income. In 2016, it accounted for 65 percent of LinkedIn’s revenue.
LinkedIn’s Talent Solutions comes in two parts: Hiring, and Learning and Development or L&D. Hiring helps recruiters find and hire talent. On the other hand, Learning and Development is focused on online courses and other learning content. L&D courses target both enterprise clients and individuals.
The LinkedIn Recruiter tool gives better access to detailed information about LinkedIn users—data that are not available to users with basic accounts. This tool helps recruiters find suitable professionals that fit their preferences.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions are ads. It allows companies to advertise to LinkedIn users. LinkedIn earns money by selling ads and sponsored updates to online marketers. It helps marketers reach their target audience on LinkedIn more easily.
Finally, LinkedIn Premium Subscriptions are subscription plans that improve accessibility and provide extra features. It is a product that lets members see who is visiting their profile. It also allows premium members to send messages directly to users that are not part of their LinkedIn network. This feature, also known as InMail, is one of the main reasons people pay for Premium LinkedIn. The ability to contact people outside of your network is very important for marketers, business owners, etc.
LinkedIn Premium Subscriptions offer plenty of other features, such as access to analytics. It gives you access to LinkedIn’s massive database of passive and active job seekers.
LinkedIn’s premium plans come in four tiers: Premium Career, Premium Business, Sales Navigator, and Premium Recruiter Lite. These plans range from $29.99 per month to $119.95 per month. You can get significant discounts by paying annually.
Interestingly, LinkedIn makes most of its revenue from a small portion of users: with only 21 percent of total users having premium subscriptions as of March 2016.
If you want to take your career and LinkedIn marketing efforts to the next level, consider investing in LinkedIn Premium. This social networking site is already the biggest platform for professionals online and it is still growing. It is safe to say that the platform will only be more valuable in the future, so start taking advantage of its capabilities right now.