LinkedIn Acquire Pulse News Reader for $90m

LinkedIn is social media at its least social; a characteristic that is both its strength and its weakness. On the one hand the fact that you don’t need to be frequently active for it to pass real business value is of great appeal to many of its users, many of whom have proved reluctant to embrace LinkedIn’s more garrulous siblings, Twitter and Facebook. But on the other hand, LinkedIn needs its users to be frequently active on the site for discussions and groups to flourish, users to connect, recruiters to recruit and, of course, ads to be consumed. So how to encourage that when the very thing that appeals to so much of their users is that they don’t have to be engaging in constant waffle? The answer is content.

The first step was taken in March 2011 when they released LinkedIn Today, which provides tailored daily news based on the popular trends from your network and delivers it not only in your LinkedIn news feed but also, if you wish, straight to your inbox. This was expected to give users a reason to return to the site over and over again; exactly what was needed!

There was just one problem; most of the articles were not on LinkedIn and therefore this did almost nothing to keep users onsite. A problem that for two years they have struggled to remedy, until now….

LinkedIn have just purchased the popular news reader, Pulse, for $90m. Pulse provides content via its app and therefore, if they’re able to maintain their relationships with the publishers, there’s no reason why LinkedIn shouldn’t be able to serve this content onsite, keeping users right where they need them. It will also greatly increase the volume of content, giving users much more choice. Not to mention the benefits to LinkedIn’s mobile efforts as Pulse was primarily concerned with a mobile audience.

It’s one of their bigger acquisitions but LinkedIn will be hoping that the integration of Pulse will help to make LinkedIn the daily destination that it has so far failed to be for the vast majority of its loyal but all too passive users.

Dan