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Microsoft says LinkedIn topped $3 billion in ad revenue in the last year, outpacing Snap and Pinterest

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Key Points
  • Microsoft said Tuesday that LinkedIn Marketing Solutions has brought in more than $3 billion in revenue in the past 12 months.
  • The Marketing Solutions unit's clients included brands like American Express, Adobe and Chase as of last month, LinkedIn said in March. 
  • LinkedIn has tried to position itself as a better place than competitors like Instagram or TikTok for business-related ads.

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Recent data from LinkedIn shows the skills that are most in-demand as the labor market attempts to slowly regain its footing after the steep decline caused by Covid-19.
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Microsoft said Tuesday LinkedIn's ads business has brought in more than $3 billion in revenue during the year ended March 31, outpacing pure-play digital ads competitors like Snap and Pinterest.

The company does not regularly report revenue from LinkedIn's ads business — called LinkedIn Marketing Solutions — but it says growth is accelerating. On Microsoft's earnings call for its fiscal third quarter (ended March 31), Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said the unit's revenue was up over 60% year-over-year. Last quarter, the company said growth in the unit was 53%.

By way of comparison, Snap has generated roughly $2.8 billion in revenue over the same time period, while Pinterest, which also reported quarterly earnings on Tuesday, has seen revenue of $1.9 billion.

LinkedIn's ads business has offerings like sponsored content appearing in its feed, sponsored messages, and other ads that might drive LinkedIn users to register for an event or set up a demo. Clients included brands like American Express, Adobe and Chase as of last month, LinkedIn said in March. 

LinkedIn has tried to position itself as a better place for business-related ads than competitors like TikTok or Facebook's Instagram. In March, it launched a campaign to try to convince advertisers they can reach business professionals on LinkedIn when they're in a "ready-to-do-business mindset." It's part of a larger brand platform launched by LinkedIn Marketing Solutions in June that includes the motto: "Do business where business is done."

LinkedIn also likely got a boost last year when a slew of advertisers paused their placements on Facebook starting in the summer and tried out other other channels.

eMarketer forecasts that LinkedIn will command 1.4% of U.S. digital ad revenue share in 2021, just slightly up the 1.2% it held in 2019, but well shy of Facebook's 25.4%, Google's 28.7% and Amazon's 10.7%.

Overall, though, LinkedIn's advertising business is still a tiny portion of Microsoft's total revenue, which was $41.7 billion in the quarter ended March 31 alone.

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