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Expanding Internationally:
A Primer With LinkedIn
Aatif Awan
Vice President, Growth, International & Data Products at LinkedIn
www.linkedin.com/in/aatifawan
aatif_awan
How We Grew LinkedIn To 540M+ Members Across The Globe
100K 2M 4M 8M 17M
33M
55M
89M
145M
202M
277M
347M
414M
484M
546M
03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
When America sneezes,
the World catches a
cold.
When America sneezes,
the World catches a
cold.
becoming less and less true
Source: howmuch.net
Share of Projected GDP Growth (2017-2019)
Source: visualcapitalist.com
Companies not Capitalizing Fully on the Global
Opportunity
Companies with more
global exposure grow
materially faster than
those with less global
exposure
Despite this, only 43% of
S&P 500 revenue is from
outside the US
Source: factset.com
Story of LinkedIn’s Global Growth
About me
• VP Growth, International & Data products at LinkedIn
• Have led LinkedIn growth for 7 years, helping grow
LinkedIn by nearly half a Billion members
• Leading LinkedIn-Microsoft product integrations, which
are a massive growth opportunity
LinkedIn Grew from 500K to 500 Million+ in 13 years
20172004
1000x
LinkedIn
International
SnapshotRegional membership
• 171+M EMEA
• 160+M US & Canada
• 136+M Asia and the Pacific
• 76+M LATAM
Offices in 32 cities across the
globe
70%+ of members and
engagement from international
Growth & International @ LinkedIn: 2003-2007
Product market fit. Growth built into
product from the start.
Reid Hoffman and team invited well-
connected people in the industry.
Public profiles launch in 2006, became a
second major growth channel due to SEO.
Organic expansion into English-speaking
markets
100K 2M 4M 8M 17M
03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
LinkedIn Member Growth
Growth & International @ LinkedIn: 2008-2011
Dedicated cross-functional growth team
(~15 people) focused on acquisition.
Identified drivers for key channels and
optimized.
International expansion. Saw 100%+ lifts
in growth for most markets where we
translated into local language.
Global sales team to monetize
international expansion
100K 2M 4M 8M 17M
33M
55M
89M
145M
03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
LinkedIn Member Growth
Growth & International @ LinkedIn: 2012- 2017
Expanded to cover acquisition, activation,
connections, retention and resurrection,
notifications.
Focus on quality: signups -> quality
signups -> engaged quality members
Accelerated international expansion by:
• Translating site into 24 languages
• Investing heavily in mobile and
partnerships
• Dedicated R&D teams for China, India,
Germany and Japan.
• Expanded global sales teams
100K 2M 4M 8M 17M
33M
55M
89M
145M
202M
277M
347M
414M
484M
546M
03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
LinkedIn Member Growth
Lessons from LinkedIn’s Global Growth
Develop a long-term Market Prioritization Framework
• Develop a prioritization framework
that takes into account
• Importance to mission & vision
• Product Market fit
• Headroom for user/customer growth
• Monetization upside based on
economic indicators and willingness to
pay
• Consider where the world is
headed, not just what it looks like
today
• Classify markets as Core,
Strategic and Venture and invest
Chart is illustrative, not representing actual data
Start with High-ROI Basic Localization
• Highest ROI from localizing
markets that have product-
market fit
• Translation, voice & tone
• Copy optimization by geo
• Local payment methods
• Localize content
• Invest in local customer
service, BizDev, marketing,
editorial & sales team
Remove Local Barriers to Adoption
• Qualitative research to
understand user pain points
• Quantitative analysis of product
usage & funnels to identify
barriers
• Common barriers include:
• User input fields that don’t apply (state,
zipcode etc.)
• Site speed: For LinkedIn, we found this to
be the case in India and invested in
LinkedIn Lite
• Price being too high because it’s based on
Think local, make Global: Build Globally Scalable Growth
Channels
• Assess whether your growth
channels will scale in major
international markets
• For LinkedIn, SEO and viral
growth both had challenges
internationally
• SEO was relatively easy to adapt in all
markets except China
• Made a big strategic investment in
transitioning email-based viral growth to
mobile (phone graph and SMS), crucial for
China and India
• Designing for global adoption
Partnerships
WeChat
Partnerships & Government Relations can be Big
Accelerators
Evangelize Global Growth Early and Often
• Easy to lose sight of global opportunities and focus on
users near the team
• Make your company’s mission global
• Persuade your exec team and enlist them to evangelize to
everyone
• Plan regular visits for key people to priority markets.
Nothing better than this for people to truly understand a
market and why it matters
Recap
• International expansion is a big growth opportunity that most
companies don’t invest enough in
• LinkedIn is a global network with 70%+ of members outside
the US
• Rules of the Global Playbook
• Develop a long-term Market Prioritization Framework
• Start with High-ROI Basic Localization
• Remove Local Barriers to Adoption
• Think local, make Global: Build Globally Scalable Growth Channels
• Partnerships & Government Relations can be Big Accelerators
• Evangelize Global Growth Early and Often
“The world is your oyster. It's up to
you to find the pearls.”
Final thought I’d leave you with…
Chris Gardner – author of
“The Pursuit of
Happyness”
Source: Wikipedia
aatif_awanwww.linkedin.com/in/aatifawan

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Expanding Internationally - A Primer with LinkedIn - SaaStr Annual 2018

  • 1. Expanding Internationally: A Primer With LinkedIn Aatif Awan Vice President, Growth, International & Data Products at LinkedIn www.linkedin.com/in/aatifawan aatif_awan How We Grew LinkedIn To 540M+ Members Across The Globe 100K 2M 4M 8M 17M 33M 55M 89M 145M 202M 277M 347M 414M 484M 546M 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17
  • 2. When America sneezes, the World catches a cold. When America sneezes, the World catches a cold. becoming less and less true
  • 4. Share of Projected GDP Growth (2017-2019) Source: visualcapitalist.com
  • 5. Companies not Capitalizing Fully on the Global Opportunity Companies with more global exposure grow materially faster than those with less global exposure Despite this, only 43% of S&P 500 revenue is from outside the US Source: factset.com
  • 6. Story of LinkedIn’s Global Growth
  • 7. About me • VP Growth, International & Data products at LinkedIn • Have led LinkedIn growth for 7 years, helping grow LinkedIn by nearly half a Billion members • Leading LinkedIn-Microsoft product integrations, which are a massive growth opportunity
  • 8. LinkedIn Grew from 500K to 500 Million+ in 13 years 20172004 1000x
  • 9. LinkedIn International SnapshotRegional membership • 171+M EMEA • 160+M US & Canada • 136+M Asia and the Pacific • 76+M LATAM Offices in 32 cities across the globe 70%+ of members and engagement from international
  • 10. Growth & International @ LinkedIn: 2003-2007 Product market fit. Growth built into product from the start. Reid Hoffman and team invited well- connected people in the industry. Public profiles launch in 2006, became a second major growth channel due to SEO. Organic expansion into English-speaking markets 100K 2M 4M 8M 17M 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 LinkedIn Member Growth
  • 11. Growth & International @ LinkedIn: 2008-2011 Dedicated cross-functional growth team (~15 people) focused on acquisition. Identified drivers for key channels and optimized. International expansion. Saw 100%+ lifts in growth for most markets where we translated into local language. Global sales team to monetize international expansion 100K 2M 4M 8M 17M 33M 55M 89M 145M 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 LinkedIn Member Growth
  • 12. Growth & International @ LinkedIn: 2012- 2017 Expanded to cover acquisition, activation, connections, retention and resurrection, notifications. Focus on quality: signups -> quality signups -> engaged quality members Accelerated international expansion by: • Translating site into 24 languages • Investing heavily in mobile and partnerships • Dedicated R&D teams for China, India, Germany and Japan. • Expanded global sales teams 100K 2M 4M 8M 17M 33M 55M 89M 145M 202M 277M 347M 414M 484M 546M 03 04 05 06 07 08 09 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 LinkedIn Member Growth
  • 13. Lessons from LinkedIn’s Global Growth
  • 14. Develop a long-term Market Prioritization Framework • Develop a prioritization framework that takes into account • Importance to mission & vision • Product Market fit • Headroom for user/customer growth • Monetization upside based on economic indicators and willingness to pay • Consider where the world is headed, not just what it looks like today • Classify markets as Core, Strategic and Venture and invest Chart is illustrative, not representing actual data
  • 15. Start with High-ROI Basic Localization • Highest ROI from localizing markets that have product- market fit • Translation, voice & tone • Copy optimization by geo • Local payment methods • Localize content • Invest in local customer service, BizDev, marketing, editorial & sales team
  • 16. Remove Local Barriers to Adoption • Qualitative research to understand user pain points • Quantitative analysis of product usage & funnels to identify barriers • Common barriers include: • User input fields that don’t apply (state, zipcode etc.) • Site speed: For LinkedIn, we found this to be the case in India and invested in LinkedIn Lite • Price being too high because it’s based on
  • 17. Think local, make Global: Build Globally Scalable Growth Channels • Assess whether your growth channels will scale in major international markets • For LinkedIn, SEO and viral growth both had challenges internationally • SEO was relatively easy to adapt in all markets except China • Made a big strategic investment in transitioning email-based viral growth to mobile (phone graph and SMS), crucial for China and India • Designing for global adoption
  • 18. Partnerships WeChat Partnerships & Government Relations can be Big Accelerators
  • 19. Evangelize Global Growth Early and Often • Easy to lose sight of global opportunities and focus on users near the team • Make your company’s mission global • Persuade your exec team and enlist them to evangelize to everyone • Plan regular visits for key people to priority markets. Nothing better than this for people to truly understand a market and why it matters
  • 20. Recap • International expansion is a big growth opportunity that most companies don’t invest enough in • LinkedIn is a global network with 70%+ of members outside the US • Rules of the Global Playbook • Develop a long-term Market Prioritization Framework • Start with High-ROI Basic Localization • Remove Local Barriers to Adoption • Think local, make Global: Build Globally Scalable Growth Channels • Partnerships & Government Relations can be Big Accelerators • Evangelize Global Growth Early and Often
  • 21. “The world is your oyster. It's up to you to find the pearls.” Final thought I’d leave you with… Chris Gardner – author of “The Pursuit of Happyness”

Editor's Notes

  1. https://howmuch.net/articles/the-global-economy-by-GDP
  2. https://www.visualcapitalist.com/chart-global-growth-happening/
  3. https://insight.factset.com/sp-500-companies-with-more-global-exposure-reported-higher-earnings-growth-in-q3