eMarketer’s Outlook for LinkedIn Ad Revenue During the Covid-19 Crisis Is Murky

The research firm sees engagement holding strong on the professional network

Marketing budgets are being slashed at business-to-business companies stockcam/iStock
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Research firm eMarketer analyzed how the coronavirus pandemic is affecting LinkedIn, both in terms of engagement and ad revenue.

Principal analyst Jillian Ryan pointed to content that has been spurred by the Covid-19 crisis, such as tips for working from home, ideas for pivoting strategies, ways to keep corporate culture alive while working remotely, photos of home-office setups and screenshots of meetings on Zoom.

She added that many organizations are turning to LinkedIn Live or hosting virtual events and teleconferences on the professional network, and LinkedIn itself has been curating relevant and factual news about the coronavirus.

Ryan wrote, “For now, this bodes well for engagement on LinkedIn. In the short term, the platform is a playground for business professionals to stay connected with colleagues and clients. In the third and fourth quarters, LinkedIn will likely benefit from those who lost their jobs due to the coronavirus, as they log into the platform to look for work.”

eMarketer

She also pointed out some potential pitfalls for advertising on LinkedIn, including companies that may be trying to stay away from content related to the coronavirus pandemic, and user fatigue eventually causing a drop in engagement on the platform, adding, “How much Covid-19 content can users really stomach?”

eMarketer forecasting analyst Eric Haggstrom dove deeper into ad revenue, breaking it up into two streams: job listings and display ads via LinkedIn Marketing Solutions.

He sees sponsored job listings dropping “pretty significantly” and remaining depressed until companies get the sense that the recession is over and feel confident that the time is right for hiring.

Haggstrom also pointed out that LinkedIn has become more of a social network than a job board, and he sees revenue from Marketing Solutions declining, at least through the second quarter, as marketing budgets are slashed at business-to-business companies.

On the flip side, the professional network could benefit from a shift to ads in LinkedIn from in-person events no longer being held due to the pandemic.

Haggstrom wrote, “During an economic downturn, ad budgets will shrink. But the share of budgets will shift toward more essential platforms. The good news for LinkedIn is that many advertisers view it as an essential platform and will shift more of their budgets there. It’s likely that LinkedIn will see an increased share of B2B ad spending and digital B2B ad spending.”

eMarketer

david.cohen@adweek.com David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.
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