A September 25th research report from equity research firm Canacord Genuity focuses on job-related social media concern LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD). Canaccord Genuity analysts Michael Graham, Maria Ripps and Austin Moldow highlight solid fundamentals in both of LinkedIn’s divisions, and argue the equity is a Buy and is likely to test their $230 price target within the next few quarters.
Linkedin Talent Solutions segment
Graham et al. argue that user engagement is a “key leading indicator of the potential to monetize LinkedIn’s member base.” They point out that LinkedIn rolled out a number of initiatives aimed at improving the new member on-boarding process and overall user engagement back in early 2013. Following the initiative, the number of Unique Visiting Members and Member Page Views accelerated dramatically in the second and third quarters of 2013. However, growth has slowed down quite a bit since then, with the second and third quarter of 2014 looking anemic by comparison to last year.
Overall, the CG analysts note that while LinkedIn Corp (NYSE:LNKD) has seen healthy member additions, growth in Unique Visiting Members and Member Page Views has been lackluster. That said, Page Views per Unique Visiting Member, a critical metric in assessing user engagement, has been steadily increasing over the past two and a half years.
LinkedIn Marketing Solutions segment
The Canaccord Genuity report also highlights that the Marketing Solutions segment “holds the most near-term potential for upside, driven by continued adoption of Sponsored Content.” Graham et al. argue that this segment, starting to surge under the impetus of the recently launched Sponsored Updates, and given stable performance in the core Display business, could offer a revenue upside of 20-40% above our estimates from 2016 to 2018.
The CG analysts also note that the Premium Subscription segment is almost certainly going to benefit from the wider adoption of the Sales Navigator product over the next couple of years. They argue that the “adoption curve for this segment is the most pivotal factor in assessing material upside potential for the company going forward.”