Online professional network LinkedIn has crossed the 15 million mark in India, its second largest market in terms of number of users. With this landmark, LinkedIn has crossed the 161 million mark globally, with two users joining the network per second.
LinkedIn started its India operations in 2009. In these three years of operations, the member base has grown by over 300 per cent.
Hari V Krishnan, Country Manager, LinkedIn India said that while the numbers are very encouraging, the aim of the network is not to achieve numeric targets, but involve its users, who are by and large professionals, with the interactive products and services that it offers.
“What has been most encouraging is the fact that increasingly people are becoming aware of our products and services. They are using them for a variety of purposes e.g. strengthening their professional identities and learning about companies they are interested in,” Krishnan further added.
Adding new advertisers to the kitty
Digital and mobile media garner less than 10 per cent of the overall media mix of marketers in India, with a few exceptions. However, LinkedIn is highly optimistic about the traction that it has gathered over the last few months from marketers who are looking for targeted advertising on social media platforms.
Krishnan distinguishes its position in the digital and social media domain from other networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The site has positioned its identity beyond ‘hiring solutions’ and professional network. He informed that the India operations have added a wide range of advertisers in its kitty, which includes companies that are looking for direct marketing solutions, display advertising and hiring solutions.
“We have a wide range of advertisers who are interested in both B2B and B2C marketing solutions. LinkedIn provides a unique platform of highly affluent and potential consumers, which is helpful for an advertiser like Volkswagen. On the other hand, marketers from the financial services and IT sectors are focusing on highly targeted audience, and hence, it has been helpful to them for seeking B2B solutions,” Krishnan shared.
LinkedIn generates revenue from three major sources – hiring solutions, marketing solutions and premium subscription. Globally, hiring solutions has been the most important source of revenue for LinkedIn. For the India operations, LinkedIn has successfully attracted over 100 leading corporates for marketing and hiring solutions.
On LinkedIn’s acquisition of SlideShare
Earlier this month, LinkedIn had announced acquisition of user-generated content and presentation site SlideShare after its first quarter profit soared on higher revenue. The deal is valued at about $118.8 million. Krishnan explains that the acquisition will help the company expand its base and strengthen its positioning of ‘targeted marketing solutions’.
“More than the numbers, SlideShare will help us connect with the professionals. SlideShare is an exact overlap of our philosophy to connecting with professionals,” he said.
Globally, SlideShare has close to 29 million unique visitors. Krishnan explained that post-acquisition, user-generated content by professionals on SlideShare will strongly support LinkedIn’s content and networking offerings. LinkedIn has also gone aggressive on mobile and tablet platforms through a number of applications for mobile devices, with over 20 per cent of users access LinkedIn through mobile devices. Krishnan insisted that monetisation is not a priority for the company at present.
It may be recalled that iCube 2011, a report released by IMRB International and IAMAI, claimed that the total number of internet users has touched the 100 million mark in India, making it the third largest internet market in the world. India is also the third largest market for social media giant Facebook, with close to 51 million active users.