Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn holds enormous potential for helping B2B marketers reach their audiences and improve revenue generation.
Announcing the reinvention of productivity and business processes, Satya Nadella, CEO of Microsoft, explains:
As these experiences get more intelligent and delightful, the LinkedIn and Office 365 engagement will grow. And in turn, new opportunities will be created for monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising.
As marketers we took a close look at the implications for online advertising.
In this post we’ll discuss the possibilities that emerge from one of the biggest tech acquisitions to date.
What can we expect or wish for?
1) More Inventory For Sponsored Updates
Gmail Sponsored Promotions work well for B2B marketers given the ability to target specific domains and target business audiences that are constantly on email. But what about Outlook? For certain large enterprises the email provider of choice is Outlook. Microsoft’s acquisition of LinkedIn could mean we see sponsored ads inside Outlook.
It doesn’t stop there. LinkedIn ads could also expand to the rest Microsoft’s suite, including Office 365, Skype, and web properties like MSN. As a B2B marketer, the ability to engage and influence our audience through the tools they use most is an exciting possibility.
We know this is already in the plans, too.
One of the opportunities created by the acquisition includes, “Giving Sponsored Content customers the ability to reach Microsoft users anywhere across the Microsoft ecosystem, unlocking significant untapped inventory," says the Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn.
2) Account-Based Marketing Inside Bing Ads
Account-based marketing is surging in popularity this year. With the ability to scale thanks to improved revenue reporting for account-based marketing, marketers may anticipate the ability to do ABM on the Bing platform.
We would love to see the ability for B2B marketers to bulk upload account lists to Bing and begin serving ads to key accounts in combination with broad match keywords.
3) Improved Retargeting And Display
It’s no secret Bing Ads lacks a strong display and retargeting network. With LinkedIn Lead Accelerator, Microsoft enters the retargeting game. We could see legitimate retargeting finally come to Bing Ads which arguably has a leg up on Google, at least in B2B.
One improvement Microsoft could make to Lead Accelerator, is merging Bing search history with LinkedIn for purposes of advertising and retargeting.
This would be huge for marketers doing account-based targeting and demand generation.
4) Lookalike Audiences That Work For B2B
Most lookalike features are based on broad information and produce varied results for B2B marketers. By merging LinkedIn data with CRM data, Microsoft Dynamics users could see a feature where lookalike audiences from the LinkedIn platform are presented, based on actual social graphic and firmographic information from the two systems, generating potentially high quality lists of accounts.
This would be a huge benefit for B2B companies who invest heavily in demand generation and would certainly provide Dynamics with a differentiator to Salesforce.
5) Dynamics Integration For Enhanced Segmenting And Data Cleaning
LinkedIn has valuable career history and firmographic data on their users. Our CRM’s have valuable prospect and customer information. Now imagine our lead database gets enhanced automatically with additional information such as job titles, work history, connections and skillsets.
This opens up a variety of possibilities around verifying contact information and cleaning data for B2B marketing reports.
B2B marketers may have a lot to look forward to. The unique social data on professionals, merged with the Microsoft platforms used by professionals presents a win-win opportunity for marketers and ad platforms.
For now, we’ll wait in anticipation to exactly which opportunity we’ll be able to take advantage of to improve our demand gen and account-based marketing.