From a business perspective, the concept behind LinkedIn is a compelling one. A social network along the lines of Facebook, but one where everybody hands over the intimate details of their employment history – allowing advertisers and recruiters to target them with the pinpoint accuracy they wouldn’t have dreamed of 20 years ago.
And though the website’s ridiculously complex interface might leave some users feeling cold, that hasn’t stopped it drumming up a decent amount of cash. The professional network said last night that its revenues were up 35% last year to $2.9bn (£2bn) while its adjusted EBITDA, an unofficial indicator of profits, was a pretty hefty $780m.
So why did its share price plummet 30% in after-hours trading? Shareholders who could be bothered to pick through its epically long (almost 8,000 words) market update weren’t pleased to discover a lack of optimism about the company’s performance for the coming year. The company said growth in its self-service advertising business would fall below 10% in 2016 and its revenue and earnings forecasts weren't as high as analysts had expected.
On the plus side, CEO Jeff Weiner has a no-nonsense straightforward plan to get back on track. ‘Our strategy in 2016 will increasingly focus on a narrower set of high value, high impact initiatives with the goal of strengthening and driving leverage across our entire portfolio of businesses,’ he said. ‘Our roadmap will be supported by greater emphasis on simplicity, prioritization, and ultimate ROI and investment impact.’ Got it? (Jeez, I'm sticking with Facebook - Ed).