eMarketer’s new report analyses why a majority of marketers will use LinkedIn next year

eMarketer’s new report analyses why a majority of marketers will use LinkedIn next year

March 2, 2020

eMarketer’s new report analyses why a majority of marketers will use LinkedIn next year

New research from eMarketer predicts that more than half of all marketers will use LinkedIn for marketing by 2021, as B2B marketers make wider use of unique reach and targeting capabilities, and B2C marketers explore the potential of the growing LinkedIn audience.

The prediction, which comes from eMarketer’s report into Engaging Professional Audiences on LinkedIn, uses data on US companies running both paid and organic campaigns on LinkedIn. It found that 49.6% of companies with 100 employees or more will use LinkedIn for marketing in 2020 and that this share will reach 50.3% the following year.

LinkedIn’s growing importance to both B2B and B2C marketers is driven by a growing professional audience – but also by innovative new marketing solutions that enable marketers to reach and engage that audience in ways they simply can’t on other platforms.

First, the audience. The report points out that the number of LinkedIn members is growing faster than expected in the US, up 6.2% this year and with growth continuing at a rate of above 3% until at least 2023. There are now over 675 million LinkedIn members worldwide, with over 70% of members outside of the US.

However, it’s not just growing reach that is convincing a majority of marketers to build LinkedIn into their strategies. As the intro to the report explains, “LinkedIn has a unique context for its users because it’s a network of professionals. This, in turn, offers a unique value proposition for brands when they consider how LinkedIn fits into their strategy.”

The Engaging Professional Audiences on LinkedIn report identifies a number of different components of this unique value proposition that are helping to make LinkedIn the choice of a majority of marketers:

Reach among decision-makers translates into powerful lead generation
It’s not just the volume of LinkedIn’s professional audience that is driving its appeal. Reach among B2B decision-makers is also a key differentiator. A study by content insight provider PathFactory and B2B marketing agency Heinz Marketing shows that LinkedIn is used by 50% of these decision-makers to research vendors and consume information – at least twice as many as use any other social platform. The eMarketer report also quotes analysis from Oktopost in November 2019 that shows 58% of all social media-driven B2B leads in the US and UK coming from LinkedIn.

Organic marketing builds the foundation for LinkedIn strategies
The organic marketing potential of LinkedIn Pages has played a key role in LinkedIn’s growing importance as a marketing platform. More than 50 million companies worldwide are now using their Page as a place to gain followers, build a community, and share relevant company updates and content. The eMarketer report quotes a survey by Social Media Examiner that found 52% of marketers worldwide plan to increase their organic LinkedIn activities over the coming year.

Aligning sales and marketing activity
Another key differentiator for B2B marketers is LinkedIn’s powerful capability for aligning sales and marketing activity at the bottom of the funnel. The report recommends using LinkedIn Sales Navigator to co-ordinate with B2B marketing on the platform and supplement CRM and other sales tools.

Unique data – and targeting that’s both accessible and bespoke
The 25 marketers interviewed for the report consistently draw attention to the range of targeting techniques available on LinkedIn. The new Objective-Based Advertising interface makes it easy to plan and execute campaigns by generating audiences for objectives around Awareness, Consideration and Conversion. However, advertisers can also build their own audiences, layering in different targeting facets such as Seniority, Function, Industry, Company and Education, and creating their own customised segments through first-party data as well. Capabilities such as these have persuaded 35% of marketers worldwide to increase their spend on LinkedIn advertising this year, according to Social Media Examiner.

"LinkedIn is working hard to develop more innovative offerings for their advertisers," says the report’s author and eMarketer principal analyst Jillian Ryan. "The launch of Objective-Based Advertising helps advertisers build the best audience segments based on what they are trying to achieve with each campaign."

“LinkedIn has a wealth of first-party data on a professional audience and unique B2B targeting capabilities, making it a great place to engage business decision-makers,” adds eMarketer senior forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco. “This will continue to drive increased use of the platform as a marketing tool in the coming years.”