As it grows its ad business, LinkedIn will acquire an ad technology provider that promises to enable B2B marketers to more precisely target ads to business audiences and manage leads.
On 22 July, 2014, LinkedIn, a professional social network, said it reached an agreement to acquire Bizo, a B2B marketing and ad targeting platform, for $175 million. The acquisition is expected to close during 3Q14.
LinkedIn’s acquisition of Bizo comes as LinkedIn and other social networks seek ways to entice marketers to use paid advertising to reach audiences and obtain leads — without intruding on the user’s experience.
By acquiring Bizo, LinkedIn adds B2B multichannel marketing and ad targeting technology to segment and deliver ads to LinkedIn members based on title, seniority, company size and other attributes. LinkedIn expects that the acquisition will help to bolster revenue from LinkedIn’s B2B advertising services.
Bizo’s technology can help marketers reach their target audiences via display and social network placements, using a range of ad formats including video and retargeted ads. Bizo also supports multichannel lead nurturing and analytics.
This marks LinkedIn’s second major acquisition this year. It paid over $100 million for Bright, a company that develops data-driven matching technology and machine-learning algorithms to connect employers with talent. That move will help LinkedIn, which has 300 million members, in at least two ways: It will grow its recruiting business and help advertisers reach more people.
Currently, LinkedIn advertising options includes sponsored stories, sponsored InMail and display advertising. It said it will incorporate Bizo’s media solutions and multichannel nurturing products into its portfolio over time. Linkedin said it will not carry over Bizo’s data solutions business although Bizo will honor existing contracts.
Although sponsored content represented about 20% of LinkedIn’s $102 million advertising revenue in 1Q14, the percentage will likely increase as LinkedIn emphasizes this paid content offering.
Bizo, a spinout of ZoomInfo, is no stranger to LinkedIn or B2B marketing. It became a LinkedIn API partner two years ago when LinkedIn launched its new advertising platform. Using Bizo, marketers can manage their social ad campaigns on LinkedIn and also Facebook from a centralized platform. Through a partnership with lead management vendors like Eloqua, Bizo has technology that allows joint customers to use targeted display and social ads in combination with an email nurture program. It’s not clear how acquisition by LinkedIn will affect Bizo’s lead management partners.
B2B marketers using Bizo: If you’re not already leveraging LinkedIn for paid media, explore adding or expanding investments to include placement on LinkedIn, using Bizo’s audience targeting capabilities. Be aware that Bizo’s focus may narrow dramatically post-acquisition (LinkedIn will not be bringing over Bizo’s Data Solutions Business), and evaluate product and technology road maps before making contractual commitments.
B2B marketers using LinkedIn: Evaluate Bizo’s ad targeting technologies to understand the potential contribution they can make to current LinkedIn-based marketing initiatives. Consider the potential role that Bizo partners, such as lead management vendors, could play in your campaign management process.