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Microsoft acquires LinkedIn: Good news for advertisers?

This article was updated on: 07.02.2022

In a blog post on Monday, Microsoft announced that they had acquired LinkedIn for a reported $26.2 billion. Current Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella wrote in a public email to employees about the benefits of combining Microsoft’s productivity and business tools with LinkedIn’s content network.

Meanwhile, online advertisers like myself are anticipating – and wishing – for LinkedIn ads to merge with the Bing Ads platform. In this post, I take a stab at what I expect to emerge over the coming months.

With Facebook and Google both expanding their display reach, Microsoft now has an opportunity to play catch up, gaining audience territory. The graphic below from a Microsoft presentation, gives a brief glimpse of how the two newly acquainted companies stack up against each other.

Microsoft’s internal presentation describes the current lack of “one source of truth for an individual profile”, suggesting a stronger push toward user-based advertising.


The implications for advertisers could mean for new targeting opportunities, ad formats, and evolving audience targeting that makes use of both platforms. My likely predictions (read: suggestions) include:

  • Refined targeting options from LinkedIn being available in Bing Ads
    • For example, bid adjustments within search / display ads for those users with a particular job title / sector / industry etc (much the same as audience building within the Google Display Network, or Facebook advertising).
  • Search based advertising opportunities
    • It’s likely we’ll see new chances to advertise within LinkedIn search, with Bing search also tapping into the data available from LinkedIn.
  • More opportunities for targeting users from within Cortana (Microsoft’s ‘personal assistant’).

At this stage, speculation is the closest we’ll get to any more insight about the change. In any case, I anticipate the trend of all platforms branching out into user-based targeting to continue.

In other news, the merge has added more fire to the much-anticipated acquisition of Twitter, with many commentators waiting for Google to snap up the platform. Exciting times for digital marketers! 

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