So consistent has LinkedIn’s money-making ability been since it went public two years ago, that the tech site All Things D described it today as “the Internet company that can seemingly do no financial wrong.”
The company reported earning 38 cents per share on 2nd quarter revenue of $363.7 million. Of that, recruitment accounted for 56 percent, or $205.1 million. A year ago, the company had recruitment revenue for the same quarter of $121.6 million.
The consensus of analyst estimates was for 31 cents per share on $353.85 million.
During a conference call to discuss the company’s numbers, CEO Jeff Weiner credited multiple factors for driving LinkedIn’s success. Among them was an increase of some 2,100 new recruitment customers, bringing the total of contract recruitment customers to over 20,000.
Detailing other milestones during the quarter, Weiner specifically cited the expansion of LinkedIn’s so-called Influencer Program in which people like Bill Gates and Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe offer their take on a wide variety of issues.
LinkedIn’s membership climbed to 238 million during the quarter, Weiner said, as page views grew from 11.1 billion to 11.7 billion. More than 45 million profiles are viewed each day, prompting an increase in profile updates and in the popular skills endorsement program. That latter program is being studied to see if some sort of scoring system might be introduced to recognize that some endorsements are more meaningful than others, Weiner said.
The membership growth prompted one analyst to ask about LinkedIn’s enrollment ambitions. Weiner said the company is focusing on signing up the world’s 600 million knowledge workers; 65 percent of members already come from outside the U.S. After that, the “much longer term vision” is the rest of the world’s billions of workers.
Much of the question-and-answer period was given over to the company’s impending full-scale implementation of its sponsored content advertising program. Sponsored content, also sometimes called native content, is information with some intrinsic value that advertisers create and pay for in order to interest and engage readers who otherwise ignore traditional online ads.
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LinkedIn calls its product Sponsored Updates. Tested over the last quarter, CFO Steve Sordello said the “early signs are encouraging.” The total dollars won’t be significant in comparison to other programs, but he and Weiner both said it offers LinkedIn’s customers another method to promote their brand.