If you’re a B2B marketer, you’re probably already on LinkedIn. With 313 million active members (more than Pinterest and Instagram combined) and 173 thousand new members signing up every day, LinkedIn is the best social network for B2B connections. But if you think it’s a big platform now, you haven’t seen anything yet. The social hub for business is growing fast, but it wants more.
How much more?
With their recent acquisition of a B2B startup named Bizo, LinkedIn has stated a goal of $1 billion annual revenue from B2B services by 2017. Their most recent quarterly report came in at about $115 million revenue, so that translates to 250% growth every year for three years.
What does this mean for you as a B2B marketer?
It means if you’re not already using LinkedIn, then drop everything and start learning. It’s about to get really, really big. And with the B2B marketing tools it’s acquired with Bizo, LinkedIn is about to become an even more powerful place for you to sell your B2B services.
What is Bizo & Why Did LinkedIn Buy It?
Acquiring Bizo is an integral part of LinkedIn’s plan to become more than just a social platform for content marketing. A recently leaked insider document from LinkedIn says, “Our long-term ambition is to build an integrated marketing and sales platform that provides a simple and effective way to reach audiences, nurture prospects, and acquire customers.”
But before we talk about the future of LinkedIn, let’s understand the history of Bizo.
Bizo started in 2007 as an ad platform specifically designed for B2B marketers. It was like Google AdWords, exclusively for B2B. Since then, the Bizo network has grown to 120+ million business professionals from around the world. That includes an astounding 90% of the US business population. However, this sizeable audience isn’t the only reason LinkedIn wanted the startup.
What Tools Make Bizo Better Than Other Ad Platforms?
Even though Bizo started as a simple ad platform, today it’s so much more than that.
At its core, Bizo’s biggest selling point is its unique ad-targeting technology called Bizo Multi-Channel Nurturing (BMN for short). BMN was developed to address one of the biggest hurdles in advertising today – tracking and retargeting users across multiple devices and platforms.
But, that’s just the beginning of what Bizo can do. Here’s a cursory list of some of the other tools you’ll find in their advertising suite:
- Advanced audience analysis and demographic targeting
- Customizable ad content depending on where a prospect is in your sales funnel
- Conversion tracking and ROI calculation for both paid and organic social media campaigns
- Split-testing and retargeting across multiple devices and platforms
- Automatic integration with both LinkedIn and Facebook ads
By now you’ve probably figured out that LinkedIn will be using Bizo to beef up their advertising platform, but what specific new tools can you expect to see?
How Will Bizo Change the Way You Use LinkedIn?
If you’re anything like me, the above list of features looks like a pile of meaningless gibberish. Even if you’re a B2B marketing guru, you probably need some help seeing exactly what these tools can do for you. How will things like Multi-Channel Nurturing allow you to generate more leads for your business?
Imagine this real-world scenario:
Today, 100 different prospects visit your business’s website. You have a clean design with a clear and compelling call-to-action, so 10 of them complete your lead-gen form and get into your sales funnel. Most of us would be thrilled with a 10% conversion rate, but what happens to the other 90 prospects?
However, Bizo gives you the tools to keep engaging with those 90 lost prospects even after they leave your website. Their advanced social targeting and user tracking make it easy to intentionally show prospects your message whether they’re browsing Facebook on their iPad or doing research on their laptop.
And what about those 10 prospects who turned into leads? You can maximize your sales by showing them custom-targeted ads depending on where they are in your sales funnel, even if they never come back to your website.
What Specific New Tools Will LinkedIn Adopt?
LinkedIn acquiring Bizo brings together the best of both worlds. You get the advanced automation, data management and multi-channel targeting of Bizo, paired with the enormous audience and publishing capabilities of LinkedIn.
But what will this acquisition mean for you in the real world? How will it change the way you use LinkedIn?
Of course, LinkedIn just acquired Bizo a little over a month ago, so a lot of this is still speculation. However, there are a few key tools that we’re sure to see integrated into LinkedIn’s platform:
Larger Display Advertising Network – Bizo has their own display ad network, similar to what Google AdSense does for Google AdWords, which will almost certainly get incorporated into LinkedIn.
Integrated Facebook Advertising – Again, Bizo has built-in Facebook Ads integration and social media ROI calculation. We expect both features to make it into LinkedIn.
Sales Funnel Tracking – When you use LinkedIn Ads in the future, you’ll be able to track a prospect’s progress through your sales funnel and customize your message depending on where they are in the sales process.
Improved Demographic Targeting – LinkedIn Ads already has great demographic targeting if all you care about is targeting LinkedIn members. However, Bizo’s expansive pool of data will help LinkedIn optimize their demographic targeting as they scale up into a larger and more diverse ad network.
Multi-Channel Nurturing – To tie it all together, LinkedIn will of course adopt the trademark BMN technology to allow advertisers to track prospects’ activity across multiple devices and websites.
The Future of LinkedIn
If you want to know where LinkedIn is going next, Bizo CEO Russell Glass said it best: “LinkedIn’s mission is to connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful, while Bizo’s is to help B2B marketers get to the right people… Combining forces will accelerate our ability to execute the huge opportunities ahead.”
From now on, LinkedIn isn’t just a social network. It’s an interactive platform for B2B marketers to engage professionals. They already have all the bricks needed to create the world’s premier B2B marketing platform – Bizo’s suite of advanced advertising technologies is the mortar that will hold it all together.
Now that you know why it’s essential to start using LinkedIn for B2B marketing, there are three things you should do right now:
- Optimize your LinkedIn Business Page for higher visibility.
- Grow your professional network and familiarize yourself with LinkedIn’s current advertising platform.
- While you’re waiting for Bizo’s tools to integrate with LinkedIn, start seeking customers in relevant LinkedIn groups.
Whatever you do, make sure LinkedIn is a top priority for your B2B marketing campaign. Trust me, it’ll pay off.