Category Archives: Online marketing

LinkedIn future

The future of LinkedIn

I used to hate the LinkedIn platform. More explained in this Linkedin blogpost. I’m still convinced of the business case of LinkedIn with three different revenue streams. So I did what I wrote before:

“Best thing to do is short Facebook and go long LinkedIn – be market neutral with these high levels of valuation.”

And yes that is still a position with red numbers.

Since then I have read more about LinkedIn, used it more. Even advertised on LInkedIn for some customers. And for the time being: This is a perfect business network. They still irritate me when using it. But it develops, and is getting better over time. Mobile works great. I love Slideshare. And at the same time I don’t see all my friends on the platform. That is a huge negative.

LinkedIn information

What I find really strong is that with founding LinkedIn all current steps where already mentioned by its founder. Reid Hoffman explains it perfectly in this blogpost and slideshare.

And now I just came across this video below from the current LinkedIn CEO, Jeff Weiner. Explaining where Linkedin currently stands and how it sees the future. Or better, the next ten years.

The LinkedIn platform gains more and more ground to be a business content publisher, and is currently rolling out the option to have your personal blog on your profile. LinkedIn wants to make an economic graph of the world. It can do so if it continues to attract working professionals. “We simple need scale”. 

And I guess that is what is the biggest challenge for LinkedIn. Getting a better footprint in Asia. Besides India that is currently the second biggest country on the LinkedIn list.

So far it is fulfilling its mission: connect the world’s professionals to make them more productive and successful. 


The absurt high levels of $240 per share were too much the last time I wrote about LinkedIn. Now at a price of $140,- it is still high but more reasonable. LinkedIn current value is 17 billion dollar. Around the price Facebook paid for WhatsApp, (although that price also came down with Facebook shares being down 20%). But LinkedIn also got more than 2 billion on cash reserves. 

So if I calculate with a enterprise value of 15 billion than each member is currently valued at 50 dollar (Facebook $110).  But also a market value of 10 times revenues. Far from cheap. But I see many more revenue streams from this business network. A B2B lead is simply far more valuable than all Facebook advertising could bring in imho. Facebook has a really big lock-in with, Instagram & WhatsApp. But a professional network takes longer to build up. And so there is also a lock-in. Up to you if the user life time value (LTV) is above $50. The Future will decide.

Disclaimer: Long Linkedin < short position Facebook. 

LinkedIn – Human capital

LinkedIn did some remarkeble things last year. Investors noticed it too. The stock tripled last year and currently this online business network is valued at 25 billion dollar. So after Twitter and Facebook I am touching the surface of LinkedIn potential future and the investment case for LinkedIn.

I hated LInkedIn. It was irritating, not working, not properly designed, yet somehow it got tracktion along the business side. It was a better way to connect than with the paper businesscards. Nothing more than a rolodex 2.0. 

And than some big changes were made last year. Linkedin did something really really good last year. I was always hating this platform during my work at Social Inc.  But now I see endless opportunities in a B2B market that is an the edge of discovering online. Don’t even get me started on social. So much more potential.

But LinkedIn made some important decisions:
– mobile first (and building the mobile environment from the ground up; not looking at the current desktop version of LinkedIn)
– It gave way to more and better updates about business related items. It became more a content platform instead of just a tool for connections.

Somehow they still don’t get LinkedIn groups. and nobody does. It is a mess. You cannot do any good community management on these pages. But i think it is probably on purpose because the focus will become more on the company page instead of communities around a topic. That’s were the money is coming from. Company pages that are relevant and give great content updates. (and Companies will love to advertise these pages).

And that is way different than the other social media platforms: it has currently three revenues streams:

  1. Plain ads
  2. Hiring solutions
  3. Pro accounts

And yet the big B2B market still has to explore and move to these platforms.
Yes LinkedIn is also really expensive on the stockmarket. But somehow I see so much more potential in this environment. Human resources and toptalent will become scarce, or better. There will be a bigger fight for talent because of the transparency networks bring along. And this ‘fight’ between companies can be in LinkedIn advantage. Take the demographics of all the working force you can add to you advantage for your sales department and two major markets can be mined.

Current numbers are:

linkedin members

Out of 600 mln professionals worldwide available at this very moment.

Next year estimates for the LinkedIn company are ‘only’ just more than 2 billions in sales. and EPS (Earnings per share) of 2.20. which calculates back to a lot of future promises that are already discounted into the shareprice paying 100 times the profit of next year. Or to put it in other way: only getting a 1% return on your investment.

I know we Dutch were the first to take advantage and rank high amogst LinkedIn users, always eager to do some business and making connections. But to see the rest of the business world also connecting is really good. I don’t have a good view of what is happening in Asia but in the US & Europe there is now real compititor except Facebook (nNot that business minded) or Xing (slowly dying out in German territory).

What makes LinkedIn worth the 25 billion dollar? The richest part of the working class is on this platform.  People on this platform will not switch that easily like other social media platforms. And LinkedIn developed several different revenue streams. That makes a really good total package. And I have got the feeling that focus is an the long term, like Amazon.

Seeing these figures i might buy some shares these days, although I missed out a really big ride. There is still a lot of potential left I guess with LinkedIn members currently valued at the same valuation as Facebook.
(That is crazy, best thing to do is short Facebook and go long LinkedIn – be market neutral with these high levels of valuation)

See the full LinkedIn vision and potential here in this slideshare (also owned by LinkedIn);

Twitter flies away

Twitter is going to be publicly traded (IPO), probably on November the 15th. That is going to be a really nice exit for the original investors and (co)-founders who will have huge returns. But how much is it worth?

Offtopic: I always think about this short movie from Pixar when I see the blue bird from Twitter.

I use Twitter. Maybe too much. But it has it own rythm. It’s own culture. it has its own style and you can perfectly curate your newsstream by choosing who to follow. And especially who not to follow (yeah, I create my own filterbubble plus any confirmation bias and the world gets really small in such a open internet space; true)

Anyhow: something special is happening to Twitter. It brings two worlds I am interested in together. It will be publicly traded any time soon.

But what will it be worth in a few years?

Co-founder Jack Dorsey (@jack) in the official filing:

The mission we serve as Twitter, Inc. is to give everyone the power to create and share ideas and information instantly without barriers.

But like we also see with Facebook, it has to keep all their stakeholders happy. Including the shareholders. And so Twitter turned to advertising models a while ago. It is nowhere near their top saleslevels per user. The current numbers are just somewhere in between zero and what can be possible. Definitively not any point of reflection of its real sales level in the coming years. And that’s sales, Twitter is currently makes losses to finance the growth. So any oldskool P/E measurement can’t be done. In the end that’s what we want in a world of capitalism. Current value is the best estimation of the discounted value of all future cash flows. So we have to estimate a lot with Twitter being somewhere in between.

Current state is not that important, it is more what it can be in the future. But still the latest figues from the official filing: 218 million montly active users, growth of almost 50% compared to 1 year ago.

twitter growth

In an ideal world in which all things be going smooth and perfect for Twitter, what would be the upper limit? If you know that, you can judge on that for any further reasoning. Here is my shot:

  • Twitter to have in 5 years time 750 monthly active users
  • Every user is worth 100 dollar
  • Add a few per cent for data sales (access to Twitter firehose and other sources for selling data )

That will give Twitter a value of 80 billion dollars in 2018.
With a 20% discount rate it will give a fair value today of $32.1 billion maximum. With 472 million shares outstanding it will give a maximum share price of: $68.11

But these are perfect conditions and high numbers for both active users and value per user. These are really the upper limits with the current business. If they add new streams of revenue other than advertising it might be another story but i don’t see any right now (and they would have tought about them right now).

This is the perfect storm. Why it probably doesn’t get such a value is mainly because;

  • It is mainly mobile. And they still haven’t found a businessmodel that matches desktop revenues.
  • Twitter isn’t for everyone. It is for the top 10% of internet users that want to express themselves. Not everyone likes to tweet. A lot of people in my surroundings have tried it. Didn’t like it. And quit. Not so with Facebook, Not so with LinkedIn.
  • You go to Google to search for something. Go you to Facebook to be entertained. Same with Twitter. You are not there to buy something but more to get an update about the latest news/ jokes. An instant shot of bits and bytes. In “real” life. No buying intention at all. Maybe after a really good piece of content. But that is just pure luck when you click on such a link or Twitter Card.
  • Inflation and competition of eye balls business models (a.k.a. advertising).
  • Twitter forgot the demographics and profiling part when building up Twitter. and yeah they are building up target groups based on connections and content.

That’s why it worth less than current values of LinkedIn and Facebook users in my opinion. Targeting can be done, but not as accurate as other platforms. More reasonable numbers would give Twitter 400 million  users maximum and value of $75 per user (still pretty random).  

With those number you end up with a value of $12 billion (shareprice of $25.5) And even than I guess I won’t buy the shares because of the high uncertainty.

But what value will be good for Twitter shares?
I don’t know. And sorry to tell you. Nobody knows. Even those securities analysts don’t know (They are just contentmarketeers to let you trade).

To finish with Jesse Livermore, world’s greatest gambler stocktrader

“People who look for easy money invariable pay for the privilege of proving conclusively that it cannot be found on this earth.”

Are you interested in buying Twitter Shares? And for what price?

IFTTT: Action is reaction

That’s what my track & field coach use to say to me when I was training hard for my javelin throw. “Action is Reaction”. But quite a lot of time this law doesn’t work on the internet. There is no physical energy to preserve and indeed energy can be lost. And; more important is lost online.

There are a lot of dead ends in all corners of this mights unvisible space. Although we call it a network. It has many road blocks or other barriers where energy is leaking.

Recent developments is that we connect more and more code to each other. Just a precursor of the machine to machine age. or Internet of Things. Every node can better communicate with other nodes in the network. Much of this is done via API’s. One such company and platform that made this really really easy to use is IFTTT (IF This Than That). It connects all these different nodes to each other. So it can communicate with each other and things ‘stay alive’ just a bit longer.

If an event on a internet connected device or online platform happens it will tricker an event on another one. This goes for a lot of different things. With this blog for example I use it to post automatically to my Twitter feed whenever I put a new blog online to post the subject line with the corresponding URL. (Not a huge fan of auto posting; but this one works for me, and only on Twitter).

But many other nodes (or channels likes IFTTT calls them) can be connected. 71 channels in total. Here is my public profile. Not that special, but makes my life just a bit more convenient. And yes, Evernote becomes more central in my life. It is in many ways kind of a back up system.

The more excentric examples are that you get an sms whenever your favorite sportsteam scores a goal.  Or this one. Or your Hue Light is going to shine a bit brighter whenever it is raining outside. This very last one is added just this year and is the very first hardware device that is actually connected via IFTTT. But that will be the way to go.

The internet of things is going to be big. Really big. And you can let it already work in your advance right now! The question is: How many channels will IFTTT have in 3 years?

Forget Google Form, forget SurveyMonkey. Go with TypeForm.

Asking for feedback is the best you can do. And speaking for myself: done too little. A way to do it is with quality sessions and talk for hours what can be done better. Or just ask if the customer wants to promote the service or product afterwards. There is a whole research market in between.

Anyway. Not a discussion I want to go into. Because I am just not knowledgeable enough in that exact field. But todat we received feedback in a beautiful designed online tool: TypeForm

Typeform awesome

Today I sent out a survey to get feedback for our event we hosted. We always used to do this with Google form. That is functional. Really functional. And really ugly. But it worked. Today it was a pleasure to work with TypeForm. Still in beta, so chances are something goes wrong. But it is easy in every way. And looks really good!

It takes you step by step through the proces and finally you end up with a survey that looks good. WIthout any line of code involved.

  • Building up your poll or form or survey or questionnaire is really easy. drag & drop. Design and layout can be easily configured.
  • Sending out your survey is easy
  • To answer your survey is lovely. Can all be done with your keyboard and on every device.
  • Beautiful analytics for conversion and time to fill in the questionnaire
  • Lovely dashboard and possibilities to work with your results and data.

If you want to do a quick survey online, forget Google Form, forget SurveyMonkey. Go with TypeForm. Surveys can be fun.

Presentain: Interaction during your presentation (and after)

There is a new tool to make presentations more than just a story to doze off and looking at your smartphone. You are still looking at your smartphone but now it becomes part of the presentation. How cool is that!?

Today we had our social business event #change for our customers and partners. To change our way of presenting we used the tool Presentain. The product is still in beta but the guys behind this startup were really helpful. And had such a high standard of service. Damn! Responding times were very fast and flexible to help us out.

What is does? Is gives you the option to directly interact with the audience due to input that the audience can give via their smartphone or tablet.

1. So you can have a poll in which the results immediately shown on the big screen which even move with every extra vote is gets. This is perfect material to react upon during the presentations on how the audience thinks about certain topics.

2. It lets you interact with the host and so you can ask extra questions to the presentor.

3. The presentor uses the smartphone as a remote; which is something you have to get used to. But gives you also information about the current slide, the next slide and how long your presentation is already been running.

4. Afterwards the audience can leave their email addresses so you can do follow up (sales / marketing) activities.

5. You can choose to upload your presentation directly online including the audio (which has been recording via your smartphone).

This is still beta. Not everything is publicly available yet. It has some work arounds to get things working smoothly. But the reactions from the audience were very good!

I am very happy we took the chance and tried something new today. And with a lot more features coming up i guess this will get big. I hope this will change the way presentations will be held to have more interaction and feeling with the people you speak to. 

Using Google Analytics

I love the web and all of those free tools we get to make use of it. Somehow those companies make money by giving it away for free. Be aware of that. But as long it is marketing for their products to go pro instead of the data being sold;

“if you are not paying for it you’re not the customer but the product being sold”

Anyway. You are a product of Google. Almost all internet users are. Who isn’t using either Google Chrome or Google Android?

Still. I love using Analytics. In my work for Social Inc I get to see a lot of data from social media platforms. That are finally giving away the data of the back-end. I also connected the Google Analytics (and downloaded the app to monitor the highlights via the smartphone) that are available for free. Big issue this week by Google no longer providing the search keywords.

Still a really valueble asset to see where your traffic is coming from. What you still can see:

  • How long people stay on your website.
  • Where they come from. (visual location)
  • Where they come from. (internet domain)
  • What devices, browers they are using
  • and much more :P

All that data can be used to see what gets the best responds. And if you look to much to this data you end up like a lot of sites that are a variant of buzzfeed. No quality at all. But a lot of pictures of cats. So don’t get blind by only looking at the data.


Emaillist with Mailchimp

Good old e-mail, you know. This box on your computer that isn´t fluent. Where you have your own stack of all things to do together. That is also another great tool to grab the attention of your audience. It is in decline. But still going strong compared with other channels. I will tell you a lot about social in the coming weeks to explain more about actual click through and conversion.

If you compare the numbers. Email is still a really valueale asset. For marketeer to have an email adres is really valueable because you can be targetted and hunted in your own working space.

and yes Google dit a good job with Gmail to make the separate tabs for different kind of email. Giving you back much more control of your email. Too bad for the marketeers.

The best online tool to set up a mailinglist is Mailchimp.  Mailchimp is free, or at least if you don’t send more than 2000 mails per month. No hard lock in, you can download your data at any time. A really fun tool to work with. The monkey from mailchimp is talking to you. Gives you high fives. But more importantly; it is really easy to work with!

But to conclude; you can leave your email adres behind here. Thanks :)


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Making it easy for yourself to blog

Just do a shout out you do a 100 day blog challenge. I can assure you know. That helps. Some other tips I have for you to blog. Remove all barriers. Simple.
Most people have said sometimes during their life they want to write a book. And not much people actually do it. There are a lot of reasons for this. And I guess the same can be said about blogging. People want to express. Not all, i know. But all these platforms on internet have helped to democratize the web. We all can set up a twitter account in seconds. But 140 characters is easy. Or at least, it lowered the barrier a lot. (even much more for communications via the smartphone; Whatsapp delivers 31 billions messages a day!)
Back to blogging: why not? No time, too much hassle to set up a blog. Or no skills to write for online. What ever it may be. Do it. Try it.
Some tricks that work for me to keep writing:
  1. Say out loud you are blogging. fun to share and outside force that you don’t want to disappoint.
  2. Catch every idea. Put those ideas directly online that will also sync online. I use Evernote pro for that.
  3. Work on it device indepently: no matter if you are on your PC, tablet or smartphone. Make sure you have every app (no matter if you use Tumblr (by far the most easy one to upload) or WordPress.
  4. Work on it during every moment you have; the loo, a waiting line, a elevator. Instead of consuming content. Make content during those moments!
  5. Digg deep into one subject (it is more easy to name objects in your fridge containing milk than to name objects without the help of an ingrediënt. Weird, but true).
  6. Ask for feedback or drop a statement that could lead to a discussion. Which is great input for your next blogpost.

What works for you?

Claim and connect your online content with Google Authorship!

Blogging is one. Getting people to read is a second.

Google is allmighty for online marketing in trying to reach you audience. But from the communications corner an slightly growing competitor is getting stronger and stronger. Your own profile and connections you have built over time. Your friends on Facebook. Your business contacts on LinkedIn. Your whatever on Twitter. Each a separate target group. But all together you have your very first online audience. And the social media platforms want you to broadcast data over it.

Google is very well aware of this human behaviour. It does is A/B testing too :). It missed out the social platforms for long, failed a few times. But it has now the best information about each person on internet. Actual behaviour (instead of just the pretending to be human). Enter Google+. So important is to have your profile connected to your Google+ account. Here is mine.

Google also wants you to connect yourself to all you assets all over the internet. So it can benefit you and give you credit for it. Enter Google Authorship. You can see here the difference: My posting of yesterday

screenshot authorship

Yeah busted. I have +1’d my own posting. Compare that to this blogposting I have written before for MarketingsFacts;

Google Author

This gives two extra’s. One is a picture with a face. That is always a plus. Second is my network, or better, people that have my profile visible in their Google+ feed. For a bit of social proof. Enough about that a little later on this blog.

The steps you have to take to add Google authorship to your blog can be found here. It is easy. It is worth it!