As reported on July 22nd, LinkedIn has entered into an agreement to buy Bizo for $175 Million.
Here is my quick take on what this means for media buyers and B2B marketers:
The union of LinkedIn and Bizo brings together two of the preeminent sources of B2B oriented Audience profile Data. Until now, these two separate entities offered media buyers a lot of promise but neither solution was really complete. Bizo offered great scale and efficiency but LinkedIn had the truly superior data that marketers have long coveted. As LinkedIn likes to say, their profile data is more accurate because “LinkedIn is your professional identity on the Internet.” It’s more likely to be accurate than, for example, the registration form that a B2B buyer might fill out for a whitepaper on a publisher site.
Bizo presents LinkedIn with the opportunity to scale their audience data and growing content strategy (sponsored updates) well beyond the walls of LinkedIn and across thousands of Bizo partner publishers and potentially out onto the long tail of the web via programmatic buying. At the Native Advertising Summit in San Francisco on July 22, David Thacker, VP of Product for LinkedIn, was hesitant to state whether the Bizo acquisition is indeed meant to scale LinkedIn data and content beyond their own Network. But logic would tell you this is indeed a key reason behind the acquisition.
The Bizo acquisition is not only important for LinkedIn to achieve more scale. To paraphrase a past conversation with a LinkedIn Sales representative: “LinkedIn is not really a media company.” In order to continue their growth, LinkedIn has to adapt and learn to fully operate as a media company. From an agency perspective LinkedIn has not always been the easiest company to work with and their offerings have often lacked the sort of creativity and flexibility that is required in such a dynamic market. Hopefully the acquisition of Bizo is an indicator that LinkedIn is ready to take the next step in their evolution as a media company and will learn from Bizo how to creatively partner with marketers to build programs and products that deliver unique value to their partners. I will eagerly watching to see how this unfolds!
Just Media, Inc.