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What LinkedIn Corp. Management Wants You to Know

By Daniel Sparks - May 2, 2016 at 6:40PM

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From the success of LinkedIn's new app, to the company's ongoing success in China, here's what you missed from LinkedIn's earnings call.

After surprising investors with better-than-expected first-quarter results last week, LinkedIn (LNKD.DL) proceeded to offer some more in-depth update on the company's current situation, as a look at some of the opportunities ahead of the company, in its first-quarter earnings call. If you didn't tune in, here are some of the most important items discussed in the call you may have missed.

LinkedIn's new app is a hit
In LinkedIn's fourth-quarter update, the company was confident its just-launched, reimagined flagship app was a success. But how does the company feel about the new app now that users have had more time with it?

"Q1 marked the first full quarter for our new mobile Flagship experience and we are pleased with the performance thus far," LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner said during the first-quarter call (via a Seeking Alpha transcript). "Members are engaging at record levels with the more relevant and comprehensive feed."

The CEO went on to cite several key trends in engagement, highlighting the app's success: Viral actions, daily shares, and traffic to third-party publishers increased 80%, 40%, and 150%, respectively.

Weiner also noted that the mobile app's revamp actually gave desktop a boost in unique sessions and page views, too.

China is still a catalyst
One area LinkedIn investors are hoping for much of the company's future growth to come from is China. Fortunately, this market still looks promising for LinkedIn.

Image source: LinkedIn.

"China continues to be one of our fastest sources of member growth on a daily basis," Weiner said during the company's first-quarter earnings call.

Weiner noted that LinkedIn's members in China had "surpassed 20 million." This update is particularly helpful, since LinkedIn didn't provide an updated figure when it reported fourth-quarter results earlier this year. The figure further highlights the company's rapid growth in the market; just over two years ago, LinkedIn had only 4 million members in China. And by Q3 last year, members in the country were at 13 million.

But just as Weiner emphasized during the company's first-quarter call, LinkedIn is now prioritizing engagement in China over growth. And monetization will come next -- but it will have to wait for now. The company will focus on monetization once its growth and engagement are at levels the company is satisfied with, Weiner explained.

LinkedIn's localized Chitu app is showing promise
Notably, LinkedIn's update on its member count in China doesn't even include its 2015-launched, pure-play app, called Chitu, which was made specifically for the important market. But investors shouldn't overlook the app's potential just because it's not included in the company's China member count.

LinkedIn provided a vague but positive update on the key app.

"Interestingly enough, that is not capturing the growth of the new localized mobile app that we launched in China, Chitu," Weiner said. "And when we factor that in, the Chitu app is now growing at relatively similar rates to the extension of our global platform."

Image source: LinkedIn.

It's time to integrate Lynda's technology
Updating investors on the progress of LinkedIn's 2015 acquisition of Lynda.com, or a leading online learning company specializing in video courses, Weiner noted that LinkedIn is essentially done with integrating the Lynda.com team into the company's business, and it's now working on integrating their technology.

Two examples are the launch of LinkedIn Learning Paths, aggregating relevant content from across LinkedIn relating to a specific topic or course and testing deeper integration into relevant LinkedIn subscription packages. On the enterprise side, we continue to build out the comprehensiveness of our content library to meet the growing demand from our corporate customers.

Going forward, investors should watch for LinkedIn to continue to integrate Lynda.com more deeply, as well as look for subsequent updates from management on the sort of incremental value Lynda's technology is bringing to the company.

While these were some of the most interesting takeaways from the call, it was packed with more useful commentary on LinkedIn's business, including a closer look at job posting growth, the company's long-term roadmap for its Talent Solutions segment, and more. Investors can find a recording of the conference call on the Investor Home portion of LinkedIn's website.

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