During the conference call this afternoon for their first quarter earnings, LinkedIn executives boasted about the impressive mobile growth they’re seeing. In the last week of March, the company says mobile accounted for 22 percent of unique visitors, up 8 percent from the same period last year.
And although he wouldn’t share any numbers, CEO Jeff Weiner said adoption of the recently launched iPad app has exceeded the company’s “aggressive” expectations. Weiner mentioned the iPad app again when asked about the areas where the company is strongest right now.
But one analyst asked: Is that entirely a good thing? Since LinkedIn (and other Web companies) have been slower to monetize on mobile, could the shift actually hurt the company’s revenue? Weiner argued that it should be “accretive” because “our intention is to bring all of our business lines into the mobile environment.” That means premium members should get premium access on the mobile app, and yes, it also means mobile advertising.
Weiner has already talked about his plans to bring ads to the app, but he offered a few more details today. For the iPad app, the ads will probably resemble those already found on the website. On the other hand, since smartphones have less screen real estate, the company will be experimenting with custom ad types designed specifically for the iPhone and Android, such as promoting companies to follow or posting relevant ads in the news stream.