Veteran professional social network LinkedIn grew up on the desktop and is in the midst of retooling its 277 million-user strong business for a mobile-focused digital world. Today it said it’s now just nine percentage points off having its ‘mobile moment’ — aka the point when the proportion of users visiting the service via mobile devices tips into a majority.
Speaking in a session about loyalty and retention here at the Mobile World Congress tradeshow in Barcelona, Joff Redfern, LinkedIn’s VP of mobile product, described the process LinkedIn is going through as a metamorphosis.
“We’re becoming a mobile company. We’re going through this metamorphosis. We started as a caterpillar and we’re going to exit this as a butterfly.”
Redfern revealed that the proportion of unique users of LinkedIn coming to the service on mobile is now fast approaching a majority — with 41 percent now coming via mobile, up from 38 percent last October.
The company is still expecting to tip into a full-blown majority this year, with Redfern adding that it expects mobile users to account for more than 50 percent of unique visits by the end of this year.
He also detailed LinkedIn’s three revenue streams — saying they currently break out as follows: 55 percent from what he called “talent solutions”; 25 percent from marketing; and 20 percent from premium subscriptions.
On the marketing/ad side, Redfern said LinkedIn has focused on developing targeted sponsored updates to address a mobile user base — rather than trying to push intentionally distracting banner ads for this form factor.
These sponsored updates give companies the opportunity to use LinkedIn’s platform to tightly target marketing messages at particular professionals or industries — for instance by allowing a router company to target only networking engineers with details of its latest bit of kit.
From a standing start this year, Redfern said 13 percent of LinkedIn’s marketing-related revenues are now coming from this “new type of ad.”
Another part of LinkedIn’s strategy to rebuild its sprawling desktop property for mobile is to adopt a “multi app strategy.” Redfern said unbundling its own desktop service into multiple mobile apps is necessary to retain the level of simplicity required for an app to convert a download into an active user — saying an app needs to follow a “five-second rule” for how long the user will be willing to spend to figure out how it works.
So, while LinkedIn’s desktop site has more than 2,100 distinct pages, Redfern noted there are only about 75 pages across its suite of mobile apps.
Keeping things “simple simple” is key to making mobile work, he added.