LinkedIn Revamps Products, Integrates Email Workaround For iPhones

Mobile will soon be driving every aspect of LinkedIn’s business. The company is reengineering its product roadmap and focus to extend its professional graph of 238 million members into an economic graph tailored for this increasingly mobile-centric world.

LinkedIn’s executive team introduced a series of new mobile apps in San Francisco on Wednesday, including a redesigned iPad app and a new service that integrates the LinkedIn network with users’ email accounts directly on their iOS mail app.

Across LinkedIn, mobile usage has grown from 8 percent in early 2011 to 38 percent today, says the company’s chief executive, Jeff Weiner. “It’s pretty amazing to think about the implications of this,” he says. “By sometime next year we believe we’re going to cross the 50 percent threshold, what we at LinkedIn refer to as our mobile moment.”

As its “fastest growing product or service,” mobile is enabling a reinvention of LinkedIn, says Weiner. “This has put us in a position to redefine LinkedIn within these mobile environments.”

According to LinkedIn, members who use the service on mobile and desktop are two-and-a-half times more active than desktop-only users. More than 10 people searches are conducted and 124 LinkedIn profiles are viewed from mobile devices every second, according to the company. Finally, nearly one in three job views come from mobile and at least half of all members who have applied for jobs on LinkedIn have never done so from a desktop.

“With that greater engagement we need to be very thoughtful about monetization,” says Weiner. Sponsored updates, a new ad unit that was launched across desktop and mobile over the summer, has already had its mobile moment. “Within only one quarter of launch we’re now seeing the mobile composition of revenue for sponsored updates at well north of 50 percent,” Weiner says.

In addition to the tens of thousands of marketers using LinkedIn’s ad platform, more than 1 million other users are also using the platform’s paid products and services, says David Hahn, vice president of monetization product at the company. As smartphones increasingly gain favor as the business device of choice, LinkedIn is mobilizing all of its core products around talent solutions, marketing solutions and subscriptions, he adds.

In many cases the rise of mobile usage also means that LinkedIn has gone from helping its members eight hours a day to 16 hours a day, explains Joff Redfern, vice president of mobile product at LinkedIn. To reach those users, the company continues to pursue a multi-app strategy with its flagship app available alongside other apps like Contacts, Pulse and Recruiter.

LinkedIn Intro joins that class of mobile apps in a dramatically different way. Using the technology and team it acquired in a deal for Rapportive in early 2012, LinkedIn has built a workaround of sorts that integrates LinkedIn’s network and data directly into the iOS mail app for iPhones.

“What’s the number one activity on mobile? It’s not gaming, it’s not browsing the web, it’s not even social networking. The number one activity on mobile is email, and the growth of mobile email is simply staggering,” says Rahul Vorha, founder and chief executive of Rapportive who now serves as the “Rapportista” at LinkedIn. While less than 4 percent of emails were read on mobile devices four years ago, today that number is more than half, he adds.

LinkedIn also announced that a new version of Pulse, a mobile content platform with more than 30 million current users, will make its way to iOS devices soon.

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