LinkedIn’s Changes Are Working, Price Hikes Planned
LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner says this past quarter was a transformative one for the business network, and investors seem to agree. Bottom line: the changes LinkedIn has made are working. Not only has the company overhauled its profiles, giving members notifications when people are interacting with their contact, but endorsements have been a huge driver of activity—nearly 1 billion have been generated. And the addition of "influencers" has "exceeded all expectations," says Weiner. Now he says, the company is tackling the "600 million knowledge workers in the world.
The stock shot 10 percent higher after the company reported 81 percent higher revenue of $304 million, and non-GAAP diluted EPS of 35 cents. That's up from 12 cents a year ago and far better than the 19 cents expected. The company's outlook for the first quarter was better than expected, though the full-year guidance was a bit lighter than anticipated. That didn't shake Wall Street's confidence, as the professional network has established quite a trend: results have beaten expectations for the seventh consecutive quarter since the IPO.
(Read More: Where Do LinkedIn's Biggest Influencers Work?)
Mobile growth was front and center on the earnings call. CEO Jeff Weiner stressed that even though LinkedIn doesn't feature ads on its mobile apps, those apps are a key force driving its growth. He reports that 27 percent of LinkedIn's unique visiting members came through mobile apps, which are its fastest-growing consumer experience. And nearly 20 percent of job views and 30 percent of job viewers came from mobile. Weiner said that the company is "pleased with the continued rate of adoption of mobile services," and unlike other consumer web companies, their "mobile monetization" model is different, because they can simply add value to consumers.
(Read More: 10 LinkedIn Tweaks We'd Like to See in 2013)
The biggest news on the company's earnings call is its plans to hike its prices. CFO Steve Sordello says the company will raise prices for its software tools for HR professionals—for job listings and LinkedIn recruiter. The increases will be rolled out starting in the second quarter, but because most companies have contracts which start in the fourth quarter, the impact won't really be felt until 2013. Why is it raising its prices? LinkedIn's member base has doubled to 200 million, so it makes sense, Sordello implies, for companies to pay more to reach a bigger audience.