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Are LinkedIn’s business decision-makers Microsoft’s $35billion target audience?

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, April 2015 – March 2016, sample n = 50,392 Australians 14+.

$35 billion AUD sounds like a lot for Microsoft to pay for LinkedIn – but the networking site’s biggest users are the CEOs, CIOs and CFOs that make billions of dollars’ worth of business decisions annually about what Microsoft products their organisations should buy. In Australia, 10% of LinkedIn visitors made or contributed to decisions about their company’s computer software and online services expenditure in the past year, Roy Morgan Research shows.

As we recently reported, almost 1 in 4 Australian workers 14+ (24%) – including employees, sole traders and small business owners – visit LinkedIn. A total 3.6 million Australians visited LinkedIn via desktop or mobile in an average four weeks in the 12 months to March 2016, including almost 2.9 million workers.  

CEOs, General Managers and Legislators are the most likely to visit LinkedIn: almost two thirds of this valuable business-to-business target market use the career networking site in an average four weeks (65%). Next are Information and Communications Technology (ICT) professionals (57%), Business, Human Resource and Marketing Professionals (45%), and Design, Engineering, Science and Transport Professionals (44%). Other workers more likely than average to use LinkedIn include managers, technicians, and administrators.

Top 10 Occupations most likely to visit LinkedIn

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source Australia, April 2015 – March 2016, sample n = 50,392 Australians 14+.

The value for Microsoft, as it moves away from consumer products toward providing business technology services like cloud platforms and large-scale software subscriptions, is that LinkedIn’s biggest users aren’t just workers, but business decision-makers, those employees, partners, and business owners responsible for determining  their companies’ expenditure across a range of categories—including software and computer services.

Roy Morgan’s survey of business decision-makers shows that almost 950,000 Australians made or contributed to decisions in their organisation regarding computer software or online services in the past year – and 38% of them (360,000) use LinkedIn: that’s 10% of LinkedIn users.  

Those business decisions, made by individuals with social networking and media habits both professional and personal, represent the real underlying value for Microsoft: while around half of those employees’ decisions about computer software or online services were valued at under $2000, another 28% were worth up to $10,000, another 14% up to $100,000, 4% up to a million, and 3% contributed to corporate software and computing services decisions valued at over a million dollars.

Overall, almost a third of LinkedIn users (32%) contribute to their business’s spending decisions across one or more categories, from recruitment, training and accreditation, and document management, to R&D, marketing and advertising, conferences and seminars, and office supplies.

Michele Levine, CEO – Roy Morgan Research, says:

“With plenty of opportunities for synergies to integrate LinkedIn’s platform into Microsoft’s software (and vice versa), it’s perhaps the networking site’s captive audience of professionals that has appealed most to its big-spending buyer.    

“Business-to-business communication is fundamentally business-to-people-who-make-business-decisions communication – and these decision-makers are individuals who access a range of media just like any other target market.    

“As a professional networking site, LinkedIn delivers Microsoft (and any other B2B organisation) a huge global audience of business decision-makers, especially those responsible for top-level assessments of organisational needs for computing software and services – which is exactly where Microsoft is now transitioning its sales efforts in the wake of softer, if not necessarily micro, sales in the consumer space.”

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About Roy Morgan

Roy Morgan is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices throughout Australia, as well as in Indonesia, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate

40%-60%

25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%

1,000

±3.0

±2.7

±1.9

±1.3

5,000

±1.4

±1.2

±0.8

±0.6

7,500

±1.1

±1.0

±0.7

±0.5

10,000

±1.0

±0.9

±0.6

±0.4

20,000

±0.7

±0.6

±0.4

±0.3

50,000

±0.4

±0.4

±0.3

±0.2