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LinkedIn targets European growth

1.3m business users join per month

LinkedIn is making a concerted effort to boost its presence in the European social networking market.

The professional social-networking site is stretching outside the US, building its targeted advertising program as well as selling its recently launched product for job recruiters, said Kevin Eyres, LinkedIn's managing director for Europe.

LinkedIn is playing a bit of catch up. It recently secured the http://linkedin.co.uk domain after a dispute, just hired an advertising sales head for its London office and only offers the site in English, although plans call for more languages eventually.

LinkedIn trails in the number of users compared to other social-networking heavyweights. It has 20 million worldwide, although 1.3 million are joining per month, Eyres said. MySpace has 200 million registered users and Facebook has at least 70 million.

But what LinkedIn lacks in user numbers it makes up for in an important statistic for advertisers: The site's users are largely professional, their average age is 41 and their average income is $110,000, said Eyres, who spoke on the sidelines of Internet World in London this week.

Advertisers are willing to pay more for display ads on LinkedIn than other social networks. LinkedIn's 'cost-per-thousand' - which is how much a company pays for its ad to be shown 1,000 times, known as CPM - is around $75 (£38) in the US and £25 in the UK. Other LinkedIn officials say those rates are far higher than what MySpace and others can charge now.

LinkedIn is combing its users' profiles and parsing information to offer advertisers carefully filtered target audiences. Advertisers can choose their audience by profession or industry and other profile information. LinkedIn users can block the scanning if they choose.

"The more levels of targeting, the more expensive it gets," Eyres said.

LinkedIn is also making a push with Recruiter, a collaborative human resources system, which was launched in February, Eyres said. Recruiters can hunt through profiles of users who have opted-in to allow searches. Several recruiters working for the same agency can have shared access to the system while they're sorting through candidates.

In Europe, LinkedIn's sales team is calling on HR departments to push Recruiter. The system is already being used in the Netherlands and the Czech Republic despite it only being available so far in English, Eyres said.

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