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New Potential for Bing Ads After Microsoft’s LinkedIn Acquisition

From families gathering around black and white televisions to IPads and Netflix, the way in which we consume media rich content has changed considerably over the past 50 years.

Microsoft showed their buying power recently with the purchase of the well-known B2B social media platform LinkedIn. For many, the sale of LinkedIn was imminent due to their inability to extend their core product offerings and innovate. Prior to the acquisition LinkedIn stocks plunged as much as 46.5%, registering its sharpest decline since the company’s public offering in 2011, begging the question:

What did Microsoft see in LinkedIn?

Well, there are many reasons why the acquisition of LinkedIn makes sense for Microsoft. The acquisition dovetails into Microsoft’s strategic focus on the B2B service industry, which has been a pillar of their past success. The acquisition of LinkedIn will allow for additional integrations into the Windows operating system and their heavily trusted Office 365 suite. This also ties into the successful launch of Windows 10, which seamlessly integrated Bing into the Office suite and operating system, which has resulted in a significant increase in searches and an impressive 18% increase in their online ad revenue.

The greatest potential of this merger and what excites me the most is the ability to manage campaigns with Bing Ads Manager while including LinkedIn targeting options.

This acquisition could potentially be a big deal for advertisers, especially for those with B2B clients and customers.

Why? Well let’s take a look at some potential outcomes of the acquisition:

  1. The integration of a LinkedIn-like news feed into the Office 365 interface allows users to more closely track their network. Imagine having the ability, whilst making a a PowerPoint presentation, to quickly view all parties in attendance. This would enable you to closely tailor the presentation to all the attendee’s backgrounds.
  1. LinkedIn owns the online education company Lynda, which will allow for additional access to thousands of learning materials and cross selling opportunities. “Having difficulty setting up a pivot table on excel? [cue popup] Well why not take this $xx.xx course on Lynda and become a pivot table master.” Of course, these pop-ups will need to be well timed and non-intrusive to receive a positive response. But, if executed sensitively, they could be seen as a valuable service and they could also improve perceptions of the (MS) product you have just had help with.
  1. Cortana, Microsoft’s equivalent to Siri, now has access to a plethora of user information such as phone numbers, email addresses, education, employment history etc. This has useful applications within Microsoft Dynamics – the customer relationship management platform – and their suite of cloud computing software.
  2. However, in addition to all of this, the greatest potential of this merger and what excites me the most is the ability to manage campaigns with Bing Ads Manager while including LinkedIn targeting options. Imagine being able to target a specific profession related to a keyword search on a search engine!! Very powerful stuff!

I know this has been said before, but I urge fellow advertisers to start paying more attention to Bing. If we take a trip down memory lane we can recall how sceptical we were when Microsoft’s acquired Skype back in 2011, only to be proven wrong with the tremendous integration of the video chat program into their ecosystem with Cortana, Xbox and Windows. Today, Skype makes up of a third of all the worlds telephone traffic.

Our infatuation with Google can create a sense of tunnel vision for advertisers. Bing always seems to be the lower priority option, despite the fact that Microsoft’s search engine powers extremely well-known services and apps including – surpisingly – Apple’s Siri. So make sure you think about taking advantage of the combined power of LinkedIn and MS when the dust of the new acquisition settles.

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