Category Archives: 2016

Outstanding Viral Video Campaigns of 2016

OK, we admit it, we’re always keen to hear about marketing campaigns that worked (especially viral video campaigns).

Jeff Bullas has just shared some of the best of 2016, so without further ado, watch, listen and get inspired:

In 2015, 73% of marketers believed that video had a positive impact on their marketing results. And it’s predicted that by 2020 a whopping 75% of mobile traffic will consist of video content.

In fact, YouTube has reported that mobile video consumption rises by 100% each year. Facebook has taken notice, making sure its content-recommendation algorithm is giving preference to its own video player when determining what content to show in someones newsfeed.

The four brands in this blog post took the importance of video marketing to heart and created some of the most viral campaigns of the year.

1. Dove

It’s been 12 years since Dove first launched their iconic marketing effort, “Dove Campaign for Real Beauty” and since then, the brand has become synonymous with its beauty campaigns.
Dove is one of those brands that has managed to crack the code when it comes to creating video content that relates less to their product and more to their mission.

As published in a research on The New Science of Customer Emotions, “Fully connected customers are 52% more valuable, on average, than those who are just highly satisfied.” This has to do with a brand’s commitment to emotionally-charged marketing that makes customers feel important.

Through these campaigns, Dove has been able to create a worldwide community of women who share their personal stories and encourage one another to feel good about themselves.

As the company puts it in their YouTube description for their #MyBeautyMySay campaign, “Somewhere along the way, it has become the norm to judge women based on their appearance and use their beauty against them. With the #MyBeautyMySay campaign we feature stories of amazing women who stood up for their own beauty.”

The brand’s latest campaign has been watched nearly 13 million times on Youtube and introduces the real stories of a boxer, a fashion blogger, a model and others who’ve accomplished their dreams despite what people told them they can or cannot do.

The campaign has to do with the 2016 Dove Global Beauty and Confidence Report, which included interviews with 10,500 women across 13 countries. The results of the research are astonishing with only 4% of women who consider themselves beautiful and 54% of women who claim they have “low body confidence” and report that they are not assertive and do not stick to their decisions.

2. Always #LikeAGirl

Similarly to Dove, Always has been creating marketing campaigns that aim to empower girls and women. The “Like a Girl” campaign is intended to grab the viewer’s attention with the use of famous insults directed at women, and then change the narrative with what it really means to run, throw, and fight “like a girl.”
As the Youtube description puts it, “today, 7 out of 10 girls feel they don’t belong in sports. And as they’re pressured to conform to societal expectations, it’s no wonder that at puberty girls’ confidence plummets and half quit sports. Yet sports are exactly what help girls stay confident… In fact, a recent NHCS study found that women aged 18 to 24 are twice as likely to be confident if they play sports regularly than those who do not play at all!”

The video has garnered nearly 28 million views on Youtube and the entire “Like a Girl” campaign, which started a few years ago, gained praise and even won an Emmy, a Cannes Grand Prix award, and the Grand Clio award.

By turning an all-too-familiar emotion like self-consciousness and humiliation on its head, Always manages to touch base with its clients in ways no other brand has been able to.

3. Coca Cola

“Taste the Feeling” is Coke’s first new global advertising campaign in seven years and marks a significant change in the brand’s marketing strategy.

Starting at the beginning of the year, all Coke Trademark brands are now united by the “Taste the Feeling” campaign. The campaign celebrates the idea that drinking any kind of Coca-Cola, with or without calories and with or without caffeine, makes everyday moments that much more meaningful.

Unlike the brand’s award-winning “Open Happiness” campaign, “‘Taste the Feeling’ will feature universal storytelling with the product at the heart to reflect both the functional and emotional aspects of the Coca-Cola experience, as explained by the company.

The campaign that was created by four ad agencies, showcases over 100 images shot by noted fashion photographers, Guy Aroch and Nacho Ricci, and includes music by Swedish producer Avicii.

As the company’s VP of global creative, Rodolfo Echeverria puts it, “we want to bring the brand closer to the people through these images.” Echeverria adds, “we also want to leave them open to interpretation, so in many cases a photo might not complete the narrative.”

4. Kenzo World

Dubbed as possibly “the best music video of the year” as well as “the best perfume commercial ever made”, Kenzo’s new ad “Kenzo World” is a refreshing change from any other perfume commercial you’ve ever seen.

The wacky and wild innovation in the ad is due to Kenzo’s creative directors, Carol Lim and Humberto Leon, who enlisted ‘Being John Malkovich’ director, Spike Jonze, and the choreographer behind Sia’s ‘Chandelier’ video, Ryan Heffington.

Andie MacDowell’s daughter, Margaret Qualley, stars in the short film that has so far gained 3.8 million views on Youtube. The song “Mutant Brain” was created especially for the campaign by DJs Sam Spiegel & Ape Drums with vocals by Assassin, and the whole scene resembles Jonze’s video for Fatboy’s Slim’s “Weapon of Choice” starring Christopher Walken.

However, as W Magazine puts it, “Qualley manages to out freak Walken though. Along the way she flies through a giant Kenzo eye made out of flowers, has a ballet moment in an empty theater, and also finds time to kill a man.”

Qualley herself agrees, “When we think about perfume campaigns, we think about a pretty girl with a bottle. This clip is exactly the opposite. It’s very multifaceted and different; it takes the spectator by surprise.”

Lim and Leo added in a statement that “the Kenzo girl inhabits the present, like right now. She’s not nostalgic at all. She likes movement and speed and the way things shift and slide and collide in real time. She’s never blasé, always enthusiastic. She stands out from the crowd.”

What marketers can learn from this example is how to create a viral campaign people will be buzzing about, and no one will soon forget.

PS With all this talk about online video, we would be remiss if we didn’t suggest you check out our Online Video Marketing short course. Details here:

Introducing Our Facebook Audit & Analysis Programme

Is Facebook working for you?

How effective is your Facebook page?

Are your customers and prospects engaging with your page — liking, commenting and sharing — or does the page just sit there, ticking over, not doing much for you?

If you’d like to improve that performance significantly, you could take our new “Creating Effective Facebook Posts” short course (today’s the Early Bird Booking deadline for that course, saving you $100 — details here:

Or perhaps you’d like to have your Facebook activity audited and analysed for you, to determine:

  • what you’re doing wrong
  • what you’re doing right
  • what the most successful competitors in your category are doing; and
  • which Facebook strategies you should adopt for future posts

If that sounds appealing, we invite you to check out our new Facebook Audit & Analysis programme.



We should warn you upfront that we can accept no more than eleven clients at this time, based on the time and effort required to conduct each Audit, and because we have a very special introductory pricing offer (see below) — we’d go broke if we took on too many clients at these prices.

Also, please note that client audits will be processed in order of receipt so if you are interested, the sooner you sign up, the better.

With that caveat out of the way, let’s explore the new Facebook Audit & Analysis programme.

Here’s what the programme covers:


We will conduct an audit of your Facebook activities over the last six to twelve months, including:

  • how your Facebook activities stack up against your marketing objectives
  • how your Facebook activities match up against your target audience
  • analysis of your Facebook post creative content
  • analysis of your Facebook post formats
  • analysis of your Facebook post sizes & durations
  • analysis of your Facebook post timings
  • analysis of your Facebook post frequency
  • analysis of customer interaction and engagement
  • review of the look and feel of your Facebook page, on desktop and mobile

NB To conduct the audit we will require administrator access to your Facebook page, along with details of your marketing objectives and your target audience.



We will also conduct a competitive evaluation of the Facebook performance of other marketers in your category, drawing on our database of more than 150,000 Facebook pages from New Zealand, USA, UK, Canada and Australia.

We will be benchmarking the overall performance of pages in your category, and determining how your own page stacks up in comparison.

For example, in the Real Estate category, from our sample of 2320 NZ real estate pages we have established that the average NZ page has 372 likes, but with just 4.49 people talking about a typical page (1.21% engagement).

In comparison, across 2270 Australian real estate pages, the average is 1202 likes, with 7 people talking (0.58% engagement).

We then report on the Top 20 Facebook pages in your category in each of the five markets, in terms of (a) Total Likes; (b) Numbers of People Talking About The Pages; and (c) Most Engaged Pages.



Once we’ve crunched all the numbers, we drill down even further. We review the most effective posts by the most engaged organisations in your product category and identify:

  • the strategies they’ve used
  • how successful they’ve been in encouraging engagement
  • ideas that you can steal and adopt for your own activity

For example (sticking with our real estate category), we’ve uncovered:

  • killer wording that almost forces prospects to like and engage with your page
  • a strategy that turns a dollar donation into a compelling engagement tool
  • a tactic that you simply must not use — because you’re attracting totally unqualified leads
  • a truly delightful content strategy that really pays off and proves the power of words
  • a low-cost but dramatically effective way to use Facebook video



As well as the Insights gleaned by examining the top performers in your category, we’ll also report on the 16 most effective viral strategies we recommend for Facebook marketing, and suggest ways that you can take advantage of each relevant strategy.

We will also recommend the type of content on which you should focus most of your attention – content that best represents a combination of your expertise and relevant visitor interests.

For example, STORY-TELLING is an extremely powerful viral strategy, and one that Australian real estate agency Earnshaws uses to bring to life what might otherwise be pedestrian property listings.



As you can imagine, this whole Audit & Analysis process requires a lot of individual effort and attention, and draws on our extensive knowledge of, and experience with, social media marketing.

Up until now, we have conducted such analyses as part of a comprehensive marketing audit for which we charge several thousand dollars.

For the Facebook Audit & Analysis programme as a standalone service, we could easily charge $1500 or more, and that would be a fair return on the effort involved.

Still, since this is a new project for us, we’re looking for some social proof in the form of very satisfied customers. So we’ve decided to offer our Facebook Audit & Analysis programme at a very enticing $999+GST — though only for the first eleven customers to take us up on our offer.



(We always wanted to say that!)

We’re going to slice even more off that pricetag, but only for the first five clients.

If that’s you, you can sign up for our Facebook Audit & Analysis programme, for just NZ$699+GST.

Yes, that’s a further $300 savings. And yes, this is a classic direct marketing strategy — deep discount, limited availability — and it’s a “classic” because it works and keeps on working. In this instance, the strategy means an awesome deal for you.

To sign up for our Facebook Audit & Analysis programme, just click here:

You’ll be taken to our PayPal payment page, where you’ll be asked to provide your name and email details and to pay for the programme.

If you’re one of the first five to sign up, the PayPal payment page will show a rate of NZ$699+GST. If you’re too late, the rate will automatically switch to NZ$999+GST — not as good a deal as the early birds got, but still great value for money. Once we have our eleven, alas, you’ll be redirected to a waiting list instead.

If you would prefer to pay by bank deposit, or require an invoice, please send an email to [email protected] with your requirements.



You’ll receive our emailed confirmation of your booking (normally fairly quickly, but please do allow up to 12 hours for us to get back to you). Then we’ll be in touch to request Administrator Access to your Facebook page and to provide you with some questions regarding your Marketing Objectives and your Target Audience.



We won’t just complete the Facebook Audit & Analysis and then leave you to your own devices. We do have several follow-up programmes that we will discuss with you as part of our recommendations, including ongoing monthly category monitor & social media content provision.



Want to take advantage of our Facebook Audit & Analysis programme to make your social media activity more effective? Then sign up today — be one of the first five to take action and grab this valuable service at an awesome bargain price!

Five Mistakes That Most Kiwi Marketers Make

On this new NetmarketingTV video we talk about the five mistakes that most Kiwi marketers make, including:

  • Mistake # 1. Not spending enough on digital marketing
  • Mistake # 2. Not spending nearly enough on social media marketing
  • Mistake # 3. Spending their TV ad dollars on TV
  • Mistake # 4. Not thinking Mobile-first.
  • Mistake # 5. Not keeping up with the latest digital developments(Watch the video for the details).

We’re developing a number of new initiatives to help with these problems, and the first of those is now available. It’s our 2016 Social Media Refresher course, designed to capture the latest developments across the expanding world of social media. We cover what’s new, what’s different and what’s important in the major social media networks.

You can check out the Social Media Refresher course here, at

Make Money with Pokemon Go


Now’s the time for you to cash in on the phenomenon that is Pokémon Go.

Here’s a quick description of our short course:


It’s the hottest game in the world right now — and it’s driving massive amounts of foot traffic that savvy organisations are tapping into, to market their businesses and make money while the craze lasts.

Online training provider Netmarketing Courses has now released a short course to help your business make money with Pokemon Go.

Here’s what you will learn:

  • How Pokémon Go works (and its phenomenal growth in a matter of days)
  • How you can tell if your business is already well-placed to attract players (and what to do if it isn’t)
  • How fast-moving local businesses are already cashing in on Pokémon Go (and how you can adapt their ideas and tactics for your business)
  • How you can make money even if you aren’t a local marketer
  • How to market your Pokémon status to prospective visitors
  • The most important steps you must take to take advantage of Pokémon Go

Here are the course details:

Lesson One: Essential Facts About Pokémon Go
In the first part of the course, we:

  • share the amazing statistics that Pokémon Go has achieved in just a few days
  • give you a basic introduction to Pokémon Go, explain the rules and tell you how to play the game for yourself
  • identify the primary demographics of this brand new game
  • explore the incredible statistics of Pokémon Go, including how the game has come from nowhere to out-power other popular apps
  • delve into the short history of the game and its creators
  • share the April Fools’ Day video that started it all
  • discuss why Pokémon Go has succeeded where others have failed
  • offer up a few cautionary tales
  • review the 20-year-old history of the Pokémon franchise

Lesson Two: Key Elements of Pokémon Go
In this next section of the course we take you through the key elements of Pokémon Go, including:

  • definitions of the various terms used in the game
  • all about Lures and how they can attract business
  • why Pokémon gyms are a great asset
  • how to find your nearest Pokémon Pokéstops and gyms (and why they matter)
  • what you need to know about Pokémon Go teams
  • how to request that your location gets added to the Pokémon map

Lesson Three: Basic Pokémon Go Strategies for Businesses

Even though Pokémon Go is a game for consumers, marketers have been quick to jump on the bandwagon. In the third lesson, we:

  • talk about the business-friendly features of Pokémon Go
  • share strategies that you can use to incorporate Pokémon Go into your local marketing strategy

Lesson Four: How Local Organizations can tap into Pokémon Go
In this lesson, we identify the types of early business adopters that are enjoying the most successes (and a few failures) with the Pokémon Go craze. Along the way, we:

  • highlight businesses (and non-profits) that are already succeeding with Pokémon Go
  • talk about effective strategies and tactics
  • show how some organizations just don’t get it
  • warn you what NOT to do with your Pokémon Go marketing
  • provide plenty of tips to get you thinking about how best to make money from Pokémon Go
  • share examples across a wide variety of categories as local businesses quickly gear up for Pokémon Go
  • suggest strategies for those organizations that don’t find themselves near a Pokéstop or gym

Lesson Five: Even if you’re not a Local Marketer
In this lesson, we explore some of the most effective money-making methods available for those organizations that don’t have a local retail footprint. We:

  • take you beyond the obvious
  • show you how to leverage Pokémon Go without needing to have a real-world storefront
  • share unexpected, profitable tips across a variety of product and service categories
  • warn you what NOT to do

Lesson Six: How to Market To Pokémon Go Players
In this lesson, we consider a number of methods that you can use to market your products and services to players. We don’t subscribe to the Kevin Costner Field of Dreams “build it and they will come” philosophy, so instead we discuss:

  • who you should market to, and the best ways to reach them
  • why initial strategies may not work so well anymore, and what you should do instead
  • how to tap into the marketing power of the crowd to help you promote your Pokémon Go presence
  • introduce you to new technology that can help you spread the word

Lesson Seven: 21 Pokémon Go Strategic Tips
In Lesson Seven, we take you through 21 strategic tips that will guide you in the actions you need to take NOW, while Pokémon Go is still so hot. And, finally, we consult our crystal ball (and informed speculation from elsewhere) to talk about the future of Pokémon Go and how you should prepare for the next phases of this mobile gaming phenomenon.


The “Make Money With Pokémon Go” short course is just $97+GST.

To reserve your place in this course, please pay by credit card through PayPal by clicking here:

Register Now for the next course

Once we receive and process your booking, you’ll be emailed login and password details to this exploration of the hottest local marketing initiative of the decade.

How The Course Works
This online training course is conducted on a web-based e-learning software platform, enabling course participants to proceed at their own pace, accessing materials online. This particular online training course provides content in a variety of multimedia forms, including videos, slideshows, flash-based presentations and PDF files. No special software is required to participate.

We also provide comprehensive Course Notes in PDF format which can be downloaded and printed for future reference.

Who Should Take This Course
The “Make Money with Pokémon Go” short course is ideal for retailers, bars, restaurants, cafes and any local businesses. Advertising, marketing and communications professionals should also ensure they are up to speed with the Pokémon Go phenomenon.


This course in its entirety is copyright © 2016 Netmarketing Services Limited, Note that during the course we may quote findings with attributions from a number of sources; copyright in that material remains with the copyright owners.

Also, please note that Pokemon, Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, Niantic and all related brands, trademarks, descriptions and imagery belong to their respective organisations. Netmarketing Services is not affiliated in any way with Nintendo, The Pokemon Company, or Niantic, nor is the advice in this report endorsed, sanctioned or approved by these companies in any way.


LinkedIn Marketing: How to Win Business & Influence Through LinkedIn ft. @AlexPirouz

Alex Pirouz is the founder of Linkfluencer, the world’s largest online community for LinkedIn training as recognized by Huffington Post.

To learn more about Alex, please visit:

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Pinterest Adds New Targeting Tools

Pinterest has just announced a new suite of targeting tools:

Targeting your ads is important—it’s how you can effectively get your leather tote noticed by a new grad searching for a work-ready bag, or how you get an aspiring home chef to try your dumpling recipe. And starting today, targeting on Pinterest is even more powerful.

In addition to targeting Promoted Pins based on Pinners’ interests, search keywords, device, location and more, you can now also target Promoted Pins using your own business data. This lets you combine what you know about your customers with what we know about people on Pinterest. So the next time the customer who bought your leather tote browses Pinterest, you can show them another bag from your latest product line.

If you use the Pinterest Ads Manager, you’ll now be able to create and target in 3 new ways:

  • Customer list targeting: Target existing customers using emails or mobile ad IDs
  • Visitor retargeting: Reach people who’ve visited your site
  • Lookalike targeting: Reach a larger group of people who look and act similar to your audience


The businesses Pinterest has worked with to test these targeting options have already seen dramatic results. For some, visitor retargeting increased clickthrough rates by 3x. For others, lookalike targeting increased clickthrough rates as much as 63% and boosted reach up to 30x.

If the concept sounds familiar, it’s because Pinterest is taking its inspiration from Facebook and Google, who both offer similar First Party Data services, matching your customers with their information for more targeted marketing.

For a full rundown of this new Pinterest offering, check out our Social Media Refresher 2016 online training course, available now.

The Promises & Perils of the Microsoft LinkedIn Acquisition


The ink is barely dry on the announcement that Microsoft has offered US$26.2 billion in cash to purchase LinkedIn and already the usual suspects are lining up to criticise or praise the deal.

Tech commentator Peter Cohan, writing on Forbes, reckons that “Microsoft Wasted $26.2 Billion To Buy LinkedIn” and offered up four reasons why, including these two:

1. The business social networking industry is not attractive
LinkedIn lost $166 million on $29.9 billion in sales in 2015. As a LinkedIn user, I cannot see anything worth paying for and I would guess that there are simply not enough people who see enough value in the service to make it worth “upgrading to premium.”

2. Combined companies will not be better off.
There is no scenario I can envision in which the combined companies will be better off. There is no reason to believe that Microsoft has the strategic skills needed to revive LinkedIn’s growth.

Recode added in another concern:

LinkedIn’s ad business is slowing down.
While recruitment services are the big sales driver at LinkedIn, advertising represents roughly 18 percent of LinkedIn’s business, a significant segment that has been trending in the wrong direction. When LinkedIn reported Q4 earnings earlier in February 2016, one of the concerns was that its ad business grew just 20 percent for the quarter year over year; that compared to growth of 56 percent in the same quarter the year before. Research firm eMarketer predicted LinkedIn’s U.S. digital ad revenue would fall from 35 percent growth in 2015 to less than 10 percent growth this year. In other words, LinkedIn wasn’t selling ads the way people expected it to.

VentureBeat is similarly negative:

Acquisition double-talk, part 1: On the one hand, this deal is all about the oft-vaunted idea of “synergy” (even if that word is not used). The idea is presumably to build LinkedIn into all sorts of Microsoft products. Great! But, does this mean I’m going to get all sorts of messages suddenly asking if I want to share my Word doc through LinkedIn or have some LinkedIn integration with an Excel spreadsheet…or…what? There’s a lot of talk today about how this is going to broaden Microsoft’s reach into all sorts of new channels for selling stuff like cloud services. But does one of the largest tech companies in the world really need to spend $26 billion to reach new customers?

Acquisition double talk, part 2: Structurally, LinkedIn is going to remain independent. Per the Nadella memo:

“LinkedIn will retain its distinct brand and independence, as well as their culture which is very much aligned with ours. Jeff (Weiner) will continue to be CEO of LinkedIn, he’ll report to me and join our senior leadership team. In essence, what I’ve asked Jeff to do is manage LinkedIn with key performance metrics that accrue to our overall success. He’ll decide from there what makes sense to integrate and what does not.”

So why do the deal?

Officially, according to the slide deck announcing the deal, key opportunities for the combined entity include:

  • Realize a common mission by bringing together the world’s leading professional cloud and professional network
  • Drive increased engagement across LinkedIn as well as Office 365 and Dynamics CRM
  • Accelerate monetization through individual and organization subscriptions and targeted advertising

LinkedIn’s CEO Jeff Weiner explained his perspective, in an email to employees:

Both [Weiner and Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella] recognized that combining [the two companies’] assets would be unique and had the potential to unlock some enormous opportunities.

For example:

  • Massively scaling the reach and engagement of LinkedIn by using the network to power the social and identity layers of Microsoft’s ecosystem of over one billion customers. Think about things like LinkedIn’s graph interwoven throughout Outlook, Calendar, Active Directory, Office, Windows, Skype, Dynamics, Cortana, Bing and more.
  • Accelerating our objective to transform learning and development by deeply integrating the Learning solution in Office alongside some of the most popular productivity apps on the planet.
  • Realizing LinkedIn’s full potential to truly change the way the world works by partnering with Microsoft to innovate on solutions within the enterprise that are ripest for disruption, e.g., the corporate directory, company news dissemination, collaboration, productivity tools, distribution of business intelligence and employee voice, etc.
  • Expanding beyond recruiting and learning & development to create value for any part of an organization involved with hiring, managing, motivating or leading employees. This human capital area is a massive business opportunity and an entirely new one for Microsoft.
  • Giving Sponsored Content customers the ability to reach Microsoft users anywhere across the Microsoft ecosystem, unlocking significant untapped inventory.
  • Redefining social selling through the combination of Sales Navigator and Dynamics CRM.
  • Leveraging our subscription capabilities to provide opportunities to the massive number of freelancers and independent service providers that use Microsoft’s apps to run their business on a daily basis.

Those are enticing future possibilities, to be sure, but are they really worth 26.2 billion dollars? Some commentators were far more positive.

ComputerWorld provides some current context:

There’s a ton at stake here. Microsoft is slowly dropping out of the hardware business for smartphones as they make a bold move with apps like Outlook for the iPhone and a cool Bing app that provides quick info about movies in your area or local eateries. The world is going mobile, and LinkedIn is one of the first apps most of us install on a new phone. How can you not? It’s how we discover the news, find people to fill a new position, and how we connect socially during the day. Social networking is partly a response to the isolation that comes from working at a keyboard all day. When we need to keep doing business on the move, LinkedIn is one of the best ways to maintain business relationships.

I first realized this when I was working on an article about a new book called “Disrupted” by Dan Lyons. It was a bit of a diatribe against startups in general (and one in particular called Hubspot), and I was curious how people who like the company would respond.

There’s a lot of noise on Facebook, thousands of posts about graduation parties mixed in between serious business news. Yet, on LinkedIn, one quick check on a post by the founder of Hubspot revealed hundreds and hundreds of comments from people defending the company. This is why Microsoft is acquiring LinkedIn. It has become part of the fabric of business discussion. All of those comments are from “the LinkedIn community” in the best sense of the phrase.

The article … was filled with smart comments from people who actually have real jobs. It was filled with people who have something to say and a place to say it. Without LinkedIn, I’m not sure how anyone could parse a discussion like that down to something even remotely useful. Facebook is all over the board. Twitter is too condensed. When we say “woven” we mean useful, that it holds the shirt together. You can stretch it, pull it, drag it over the mud, and even tie-dye it and it will hold up to scrutiny. Woven means it is worth $26.2B and a high stock price.

Microsoft needed something woven, and the acquisition makes perfect sense. Some of their other ventures are a bit frayed at the edges. I’m not sure what will happen with Office, because I’m too busy using Google Docs on a Chromebook Pixel. I’m not sure what will happen with data centers that are so Microsoft-centric, when it’s becoming quite clear that there are thousands of cloud service providers that can do exactly the same thing for much lower costs. I’m not even sure what will happen with the Xbox or Windows 10. There’s some shifting sand beneath these monoliths, and you’d have to be crazy to predict they’ll be around in the same form for the next 10 years.

But LinkedIn? It will have a really long shelf life. It has the same deeply entrenched sustainability as Google ads and Facebook photo archives.

Meanwhile, PC World reckons that the primary reason that Microsoft is buying LinkedIn is to provide content for its digital assistant Cortana:

Picture a typical business trip: meetings all day, drinks at night. A good salesperson knows his or her contacts before he or she steps foot in the door. But that goes for coworkers as well: How you you make them feel comfortable? How do you make them part of a team? How do you let them know who to approach, both inside and outside the company?

All of this usually takes some effort on your part, or at least a competent assistant. And that’s the role that Microsoft hopes to play, especially with its digital assistant, Cortana, and Office 365.

Right now, Cortana provides some basic information about your calendar, suggesting, for example, what time you’ll need to leave to ensure you arrive at your next meeting on time. In Microsoft’s digital future, Cortana will be able to sum up what you need to know both about your business relationship, and what information you can use to cement a more personal connection, too. It sounds smarmy, but a good salesperson will tell you that an emotional connection helps seal the deal.


If the thought of Microsoft owning more data about you—well, you probably should go delete your LinkedIn profile, now. Microsoft already knows your calendar (Outlook), your meetings (Outlook), your coworkers (Delve) your accounts (Microsoft Dynamics CRM) and some of your expertise (Delve).

Inc magazine spells out a few more considerations:

What LinkedIn has that Microsoft wants is connections — business connections. And that’s critical to the latter’s strategy. Microsoft understands that computing and relationships to the business users that are its mainstay have changed. More people have moved to mobile, an area where the Redmond-based giant has struggled. Computing has shifted to the cloud, and while Microsoft is a significant player in that arena, it’s a far cry from the influence it wielded when companies all had their own servers, whether directly own and run or contracted out to a service provider.

As the statement noted, LinkedIn has 433 million members across 200 countries and territories and 105 million monthly average users. Sixty percent of its traffic comes from mobile, with 7 million active job listings. Two-thirds of its revenue comes from recruiting tools.

Not only does LinkedIn extend Microsoft’s quest to connect business users — Skype and Yammer both previous examples of the same interest — but there’s an amazing amount of data. Microsoft will be able to see what people are doing in business, who’s hiring, what the requirements are for various positions, and the like. To put it differently, this is a way to make the plans and expectations of companies all over the world transparent to a business that wants to sell them the technology they need.

Plus, Microsoft has software for contact management, customer relationship management, prospecting, and other activities that would dovetail neatly into LinkedIn. The social connections become a natural reason for people to take a look at what Microsoft offers.

Tempting or terrifying?

Paul Ford, Co-founder of product studio Postlight, suggests 7 amazing things that Microsoft could do with LinkedIn:

1. Microsoft could embed LinkedIn into Windows as a service.
This makes perfect sense: Think about how amazing Hotmail and Outlook could be if you could instantly write to anyone in your second-degree LinkedIn networks. Imagine how exciting it will be when you can beg your friends for an introduction to someone in their professional circles right from your email client with the push of a button. (This integration is the thing that could finally destroy email.)

2. Microsoft could embed LinkedIn into Microsoft Office.
Office is about doing things, and people do things socially more often than they used to. LinkedIn is a business social network, and it probably knows more about your company than the people inside the company do. Imagine if you came to a section of your Microsoft Word document that needed, I don’t know—some sort of forecast, or a description of a forthcoming product. You could draw a little rectangle and automagically trigger a request to someone from the product team, asking them to fill in the rectangle. Workflows like this used to be the stuff of fantasy and billion-dollar “unified object model” sinkholes, but Git/GitHub has shown that they can work, and they can work decentralized, and LinkedIn has the messaging network and “InMail” system to pull this off, given a couple hundred million dollars.

3. Microsoft could embed LinkedIn into other tools across their ecosystem as a “workplace” API.
LinkedIn knows a lot about what people do and Microsoft builds tools for doing lots of specific, difficult things (I.e. programming, project management, making diagrams, managing databases). If there was a single LinkedIn API that let you do things like: Look up people in your company; find relevant consultants; identify the skills needed to solve problems, etc.; that’s a kind of raw power that we don’t really see inside of most software.

4. Microsoft could turn LinkedIn into the Windows-default publishing platform.
If you want to write a blog post or share some thoughts with Microsoft where do you even go in 2016? I have no idea. Yammer? Windows Live Server? XBox? LinkedIn, for its part, obviously believes that it should be the publisher of record for every horrible list of “inspirational strategies” and mutual ass-kissing glurge that content marketers exhaustedly produce for lazy Fortune 10,000 CIOs. Anyway, there’s a huge opportunity here—become the communications platform of record for the entire global business world! However this is an opportunity that both parties have a proven ability to squander over and over again. We’ll see!

5. Microsoft could mine LinkedIn’s data in order to inform product strategy.
This is the sort of mega-opportunity, and also highly sketchy. Microsoft is a software company, sure, but it’s also a bit of a nation-state with an enormously broad mandate. LinkedIn is an unbelievable data-mining platform; it has the ground truth about the global economy, especially around the technology industry, and it has a lock on that data. Microsoft will know what’s going on with Facebook before Zuckerberg does; it’ll know what skills are being added to Googlers’ resumes; it’ll know what kind of searches HR departments are doing across the world, and it can use that information to start marketing its own services to those companies. It can use LinkedIn as a global knowledge base to make more informed, long-term decisions about its own role in the global economy, and it can combine that information with what it learns from other platforms like Windows, Office 365, Bing, XBox, and so forth. It can answer questions like, “are employees of Google playing more XBox or less compared to last year?” It’s…terrifying. And we’ll never really know what’s going on. Which makes it kind of brilliant. But still terrifying.

6. Microsoft could use LinkedIn’s data to create new advertising products.
Given the above, Microsoft now has an absolutely amazing advertising platform. I can’t bring myself to write much about this because it will make Amazon chasing you around the web trying to sell you another toaster seem like a fun game played by little babies. I mean you’re talking about one company that knows how often you open Microsoft Excel per day, and another that knows how long you’ve been in your current position and if your boss just got promoted. And now they are one beautiful blue company. And the world’s largest advertising agencies and media buyers are just sitting there with their mouths open trying to figure out what to do now. I bet someone will tell them!

7. Microsoft could improve LinkedIn.
Microsoft is Microsoft and will always be Microsoft. But if you look at the recent design work in its applications, it’s capable of first-class, consumer-grade interface design and product thinking.

Microsoft designs for people who have to do boring things with computers in order to make money. It’s the 9–5 software vendor. LinkedIn is the social network of 9–5, too. It’s also a tire fire of failed UX patterns; it looks like robot poop. That’ll be the part we see: When Microsoft slowly starts applying pressure, fixing the long-standing, painful bugs, improving the overall product experience, bringing everything up to code until LinkedIn looks like a fully modern, business-focussed social network. The part we won’t see, though, that’ll be amazing.

Our View
This acquisition is one of those “so big, we can’t afford to let it fail” deals which will define the success or failure of current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. Sure, as unkindly noted above by several of the industry observers, the deal comes with a number of pitfalls. But, as others have pointed out, there’s plenty of potential as well.

Without an acquisition such as LinkedIn, how else can Microsoft grow and prosper in today’s cloud-based, AI-enabled world, where:

  • Google follows us from desktop to tablet to mobile phone to smartwatch and senses what we want to know almost before we do, thanks to a combination of search queries, browsing behaviour and GPS-derived location awareness
  • Facebook knows who we know, what our interests are, what we like and what we talk about
  • Amazon knows what we want to buy, what we actually buy, how much we spend and what else we look at
  • Netflix knows what we watch, how long we spend watching, when and where
  • Digital assistants like Siri and Google Now are becoming more and more important in their users’ lives as the data gets richer, behavioural patterns are analysed and harnessed and intent and purpose are more effectively tracked

Microsoft, with much of its clients’ data locked in legacy PC-based systems rather than in the cloud, has been in danger of missing out on the 21st century’s most important innovation – effortlessly harnessing big data to meet users’ needs, with minimal user prompting.

Such data is at its most useful and powerful when it’s available at our fingertips when and where we need it — whether via Cortana, Microsoft Office, Dynamics CRM or otherwise. Let’s hope that the more positive future is the one that comes true.

PS If you’ve yet to discover the full potential of LinkedIn for yourself and/or your organisation (or still think “what’s the big deal about LinkedIn, isn’t just for listing your CV?”), you should check out our How To Use LinkedIn Effectively online training course.

We also delve into these latest LinkedIn developments in more detail in our new Social Media Refresher 2016 course, currently being rolled out.


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Social Media Refresher: Online Video Now Essential


Early Bird Booking Deadline tomorrow – SAVE $100 on our new SOCIAL MEDIA REFRESHER 2016 online training course.
Social media is an ever-changing environment and unless you’re involved on a day to day basis you’re unlikely to stay up-to-date with the latest developments in the medium. So we’ve devised this social media refresher course to capture the latest developments across the expanding world of social media marketing.


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Lesson One: Latest Social Media Updates: Facebook

Lesson Two: WhatsApp, Messenger and other Messaging Apps

Lesson Three: Streaming Video: Facebook Live, Periscope, Meerkat

Lesson Four: Pictures: Snapchat, Instagram, Pinterest

Lesson Five: Social Media Advertising

Lesson Six: Community Management and Influencer Marketing

Lesson Seven: Tools & Tips, Twitter & LinkedIn


Full course details are available from