Microsoft Is Turning LinkedIn Into an Algorithmic Advertising Machine

Let’s Talk about the Future of LinkedIn

Have you been getting less value from LinkedIn recently? Users are just ARPU in the big picture. Your experience doesn’t actually matter, it’s all about scale. For networking scams (let’s just email all of your friends/contacts), LinkedIn, it’s always been about scale. So how does Microsoft get ROI from their considerable acquisition costs of LinkedIn? It’s all about Advertising, baby.

An algorithmic monster all optimized for Advertising revenue. LinkedIn continues to see record-high levels of engagement and beat revenue expectations in the most recent quarter, according to the latest update from parent company Microsoft.

Microsoft is Projected to Acquire OpenAI and monetize GPT’s Talent for Content (Ad) Creation

The reality is when Microsoft acquires OpenAI in the not so distant future, algorithms will be getting an upgrade where even content creation will be somewhat automated. Little need for journalists or even people attempting posts that read more like shady business spam.

This is due to GPT-3 and its future iterations. It will further cement LinkedIn being a somewhat machine-driven environment — that place where human connection has a helpful algo middle-man to prop up Microsoft’s reputation in AI. Ironically it’s LinkedIn Ads’ growth that fuels Microsoft’s purchase of OpenAI in around 2024.

As per Microsoft’s FY21 Q2 update, posted last week, LinkedIn sessions grew 30% in the last three months of 2020, while the platform’s total revenue increased 23% in the period. Microsoft has stolen the future with its digital transformation power play. It’s a return to monopolistic driven practices and Ads are part of the equation.

Microsoft Says LinkedIn Topped $3 billion in Ad Revenue in the Last Year

  • Microsoft said Tuesday that LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has brought in more than $3 billion in revenue in the past 12 months. The Marketing Solutions unit’s clients included brands like American Express, Adobe and Chase as of last month, LinkedIn said in March.

So what is Linkedin becoming under the thoughtful tutelage of its Microsoft masters? As outlined by Microsoft: “We once again saw record levels of engagement across the platform, as LinkedIn’s nearly 740 million members use the network to connect, learn, and find new opportunities. Sessions increased 30%. Conversations were up 48%. And hours spent on LinkedIn Learning were up 2x, compared to a year ago.”

It’s becoming an algo network optimized for advertising revenue. 2020 was a great year for advertising as can be seen with the Earnings of Facebook, Google, Amazon and others. But Microsoft in the Ads space?

Towards the Endgame of the Social Graph of Everything

LinkedIn has tried to position itself as a better place than competitors like Instagram or TikTok for business-related ads. Even as Snap thrives and Twitter fails, LinkedIn has a global network that’s big enough (750 million, give or take) to compete with how Alibaba and ByteDance will scale in advertising in the coming years. In this regard an acquisition of Pinterest would make sense. (Microsoft failed to acquire Discord at a bargain basement price in 2021).

LinkedIn has never been totally forthcoming about active users, as such, preferring instead to report total ‘members’, which is not a comparable metric. One of the downsides of Microsoft’s takeover of LinkedIn has been that we no longer get specific performance updates related to the platform, like total member charts and insights into usage.

Even as talent leaves LinkedIn’s employee base, Microsoft’s strategy to “automate it” for Ad-revenue will be somewhat incredible. This is because there are ways to monetize its increasing social graph.

All tech giants need to become adept at cloud and Ad revenue to compete with the likes of Amazon and Alibaba in the future. This is because these are by far the most profitable. Microsoft can do PR that’s it’s an ‘AI for Good’ company, but the reality is advertising revenue is one of the only easy things you can do with LinkedIn besides becoming a corporate education company. It’s low hanging fruit.

For Microsoft, LinkedIn is Synergistic for the Development of an AI of Digital Advertising Matrix

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella LinkedIn’s Marketing Solutions was up over 60% year-over-year. Last quarter, the company said growth in the unit was 53%. By way of comparison, Snap has generated roughly $2.8 billion in revenue over the same time period, while Pinterest, has seen revenue of $1.9 billion. Amazon and LinkedIn are thus improving in digital advertising faster. (Twitter is unable to keep up due to a lack of scale).

In the future GPT (OpenAI’s jewel) will be writing our Ads and many of our posts and articles too. The idea that journalism, human created news or social media posts by people (in text), will continue is absurd. The transition to video streaming is becoming more mature, as we saw with YouTube’s own even more impressive Ad growth. This is the fate and quality of the internet we are talking about.

How to Monetize India’s Startup Renaissance of 2023-2033

For Microsoft, LinkedIn’s users (especially in India) and its Ad-growth combined with the future OpenAI acquisition is the future of the AI of advertising. LinkedIn is aggressively testing and building an algorithmic machine. As individuals, sure, we are job hunters, but we are mostly ARPU, little particles in this machine.

When LinkedIn speaks about ‘higher levels of activity’ those particles are working harder for the machine. You are taking a course, you are job hunting, you are trying to improve your career skills. Meanwhile the Advertising spectrum is increasing in its ability to warp-drive the Indian corporate renaissance that is an actual economic recovery post pandemic in South Asia.

India will be the hottest sector in the world in the 2030s as its young population become entrepreneurs in the 2020s. Microsoft is ready, ready to serve that. Do you need a marketing solution?

eMarketer forecasts that LinkedIn will command 1.4% of U.S. digital ad revenue share in 2021. Just wait to see what it becomes, the results might surprise you. Microsoft eventually develops the AI that matches you with the right job or right product automatically, without the necessity for sales professionals or human resources. A world with less human persuasion and administration, what’s not to like?

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