By now you may have heard the news that LinkedIn acquired Lynda.com for $1.5 billion. That’s correct BILLION with a B. If you’re not familiar with Lynda.com, it is an online learning company that specializes in expert-led video instructional courses. So why would LinkedIn break the bank to purchase this online learning company whose annual revenue is about $150 million? In a word, experience. Just two different types of experience.
The first is career experience. When I first wanted to learn about animation I started with a course from Lynda.com. At the time it was a DVD course that I ordered (I know showing my age). Now the vast majority of their offerings are online so when I want to learn a new program, creative or technical skill, I take a quick course on Lynda.com.
What LinkedIn has done by bringing in Lynda.com is to bring the ability to acquire professional skills, right under its own roof. Video is among the most engaging educational tools and Lynda.com brings that ability to LinkedIn.
Think about the “Skills” that colleagues and connections can endorse you for. Now imagine that once you take a course through Lynda.com that now you are “certified” on LinkedIn for that skill. Or what if you were looking for a job and a particular position required “certification” in a skill and that skill’s Lynda.com related course was readily available from the job posting. Lynda.com turns LinkedIn into a virtual university for people to seek and acquire the skills needed to further their careers.
Reid Hoffman, the co-founder of LinkedIn, foreshadowed this in an article he wrote for the LinkedIn Pulse network way back in 2013. So clearly it was on his radar:
“At LinkedIn, we’ve developed a broad “Skills & Expertise” taxonomy that our members use to describe their attributes, and which then serve as the basis for endorsements from colleagues. For example, some of my skills include “Entrepreneurship,” “Project Management,” and “Viral Marketing.” In a more outsourced form of Apple University, the in-house program that Apple now uses to teach its executives to think more like Steve Jobs, companies could use this taxonomy to publicize the skills and experiences they value most, and education providers could develop curricula that leads to certification in these areas.”
The second type of experience, is user experience. Lynda.com brings a wealth of video content to the LinkedIn platform and we all know video is among the most engaging forms of content marketing. Native video content gives LinkedIn users more snackable video content to make users stick around on the site longer. Soon you’ll likely be able to watch and share some Lynda.com content right in your LinkedIn stream.
As YouTube is synonymous with and Facebook is quickly catching up, video content is incredibly critical to online marketing success. More video content also means more video advertising. It’s possible that LinkedIn will utilize Lynda.com content for brands to sponsor and advertise with. Only time will tell what their ultimate plan is. What is known is LinkedIn has acquired a library of thousands of high quality, well produced, educational video content opening new opportunities to grow and expand their brand.