While much of the talk about Microsoft’s plans to buy LinkedIn has focused on beefing up its cloud business, there’s much to be considered for advertisers, particularly B2B advertisers.
In past years, Bing Ads executives have talked about the breadth of user data that Microsoft has spanning work and personal accounts and hinted at a newfound willingness to open access to that data vault for ad targeting under Satya Nadella. In 2014, David Pann, Bing’s General Manager, told me in an interview that they were looking at ways to integrate with Azure, Microsoft’s cloud platform, and to leverage the business intelligence that platform offers. However, this messaging has never been widely articulated, and translating the value of that trove of data to advertisers has been muddled, if discussed at all.
Fast-forward two years, and the LinkedIn acquisition would seem to pave a clearer pathway for clearer messaging and data integrations.
The acquisition positions Microsoft as the leader in data on the professional world - both at the organizational and individual levels - and potentially offers advertisers: 1. More refined targeting, particularly for B2B advertisers; 2. More reach with the addition of the LinkedIn universe of 433 million users; and 3. More commercial opportunities via Cortana, Micorosoft’s digital assistant, as it is positioned as “the professional’s” digital assistant.
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Read also "How Microsoft and LinkedIn plan to take over the world" at Inc.com and "How Microsoft will put LinkedIn to work in Office" at TechCrunch