LinkedIn plans to shutter its Lead Accelerator product in the first half of 2016, the company announced in its fourth quarter earnings call. LinkedIn Lead Accelerator was created last February, following the company’s 2014 acquisition of Bizo. The move will cost the company $50 million.
“Our strategy in acquiring Bizo was to create a unified ad platform to better address the B2B market opportunity,” said Steve Sordello, CFO of LinkedIn.
CEO Jeff Weiner said the company instead wants to focus on native advertising and Sponsored Updates, its fastest growing and most profitable ad product. “We saw pretty healthy initial [advertiser] demand [in Lead Accelerator], and what became increasingly clear as we learned more about the business is that to scale that would require greater investment,” Weiner said.
Weiner said that the business “has the potential to benefit from our reimagined flagship application and greater engagement within the feed in that application.”
LinkedIn will phase out selling Lead Accelerator in the first half and incorporate key technology into its Sponsored Content product. Weiner suggested one example of that technology is the conversion tracking technology.
“We want to do as good a job as possible in terms of closing the loop on ROI for our marketers,” he said. [Conversion tracking] is one example of how we can leverage the infrastructure [of Lead Accelerator] going forward.”
Other competitors in the marketing technology space were quick to point out that the move did not reflect a lack of interest in demand for targeted advertising solutions.
"We are not surprised by this move, as Bizo was an odd fit from the start,” said Chris Golec, CEO and founder, Demandbase, in an email with Demand Gen Report.
“Companies today want to tie their advertising more directly to revenue, and Bizo’s exclusive focus on persona based targeting lacked the technology and scale to accomplish this. However, B2B marketing continues to be an almost $40B market, and companies will continue to spend heavily, especially when you can help them bridge ad tech with marketing tech and tie advertising investment to actual pipeline and revenue.”
There is no shortage of options for marketers, according to David Raab, Principal at Raab Associates.
"There are quite a few other people out there now who will help you target advertising on conventional ad networks,” Raab noted. “So marketers will have plenty of other options to replace Lead Accelerator.”