Updated from Monday, Nov. 10
HALF MOON BAY, CALIF. (TheStreet) -- With 47% of traffic to LinkedIn (LNKD) now coming by way of mobile devices, the professional social network finds itself in the precarious position of needing to rely on a fledgling business to make up for lost revenue from eyeballs moving away from the company's website and, by association, its tried-and-true desktop advertising business.
The business in question is Sponsored Updates, and though only a little more than a year old, the mobile-friendly, in-stream ad type is already the fastest growing business in LinkedIn's history, CEO Jeff Weiner said Monday at the Techonomy conference at the Ritz Carlton in Half Moon Bay.
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Weiner, who was interviewed by Techonomy founder David Kirkpatrick, focused his remarks on how LinkedIn, with more than half of its addressable market using its service, is finally in a position to "operationalize" the company's vision of creating economic opportunity for every member of the work force. Part of that vision includes constructing an "economic graph" -- now a favorite talking point of the chief executive -- to map all the world's jobs, professionals, universities and skills.
Released in late July last year, Sponsored Updates is similar to Twitter's (TWTR) Promoted Tweets and Facebook's (FB) Sponsored Stories, meaning advertisers can pay to promote their regular LinkedIn content to members beyond those who follow the company. A broader audience is reached via the professional network's stream. The release of the platform-agnostic ad type marked the company's first attempt to profit from mobile audiences who were, and still are, migrating away from the desktop app at the expense of display advertising revenue.