LinkedIn squashes Q2 estimates, upgrades social tool Sales Navigator

LinkedIn's new Software-as-a-Service offering is designed for finding and cultivating relationships with prospective and current customers on LinkedIn.


Once again, LinkedIn reported strong second-quarter earnings after the bell on Thursday.

The professional social network posted a net loss of just about $1 million, or a penny per share (statement).

Non-GAAP earnings were 51 cents per share on a revenue of $534 million, up 47 percent from the same quarter last year.

Wall Street was looking for earnings of 39 cents per share on a revenue of $510.98 million.

In response, LinkedIn shares soared in after-hours trading by as much as 10 percent.

All three of LinkedIn's key departments — Talent, Marketing and Premium Subscriptions — saw revenue climb by nearly 50 percent from Q2 2013.

Revenue from US and international markets was split at approximately 60-40, respectively.

For the current quarter, analysts expect LinkedIn to return with earnings of 40 per share on a revenue of $540.86 million.

LinkedIn followed up with a revenue guidance range of $543 million and $547 million with earnings pegged to hit 44 cents a share.

For the full year, LinkedIn expects revenue to fall between $2.14 billion and $2.15 billion with earnings of $1.80 per share.

The social networking site's membership base continues to hover over 300 million (actually closer to 316 million now), but the real user growth during the quarter appears to have taken place elsewhere.

LinkedIn has been busy ramping up its digital publishing platform, and the fruits of those labors are starting to show.

The professional publishing platform is now open to an estimate 15 million LinkedIn users, generating over 30,000 long-form posts weekly.

Furthermore, LinkedIn boasted traffic for publisher and Influencer posts has risen jumped by more than 100 percent over since February.

LinkedIn is shifting gears a bit for sales and marketing professionals with the debut of a revamped social selling tool on Thursday.

Dubbed Sales Navigator, the Software-as-a-Service offering designed for finding and cultivating relationships with prospective and current customers on LinkedIn.

Mike Derezin, vice president of sales solutions at LinkedIn, explained in a blog post that the product taps into network data as well as news mentions of key contacts made possible by the recent Newsle acquisition .

Our goal is to make the right matches between buyers and sellers, but we know that not everyone on LinkedIn fits into these two roles. If a member currently has limited contact with sales professionals on LinkedIn, this doesn’t suddenly change. Members can decline connection requests and block members if they aren’t interested in being contacted. As we do with all of our products, we’re approaching this with a member-first perspective.

In the Q2 earnings report, LinkedIn CFO Steve Sordello posited that Sales Navigator, along with Sponsored Updates and other recent additions "underscore the positive impact of recent strategic investments, and we will continue to invest aggressively in our member and customer platforms."

This version of Sales Navigatoris also offers a standalone experience with a separate login from the standard LinkedIn social network, but still taps into familiar features such as InMails and Who’s Viewed Your Profile while featuring CRM integration with and Microsoft Dynamics.

Sales Navigator is now available for desktop and mobile web, initally in English only and priced on a per-seat basis. LinkedIn promised additional language and mobile app support is on the way.

For a closer look at Sales Navigator, flip through through the slideshow below: