LinkedIn acquires Run Hop to give users tailored content

Steven Loeb · May 6, 2016 · Short URL:

The purchase was an acqui-hire, with Run Hop's two founders working on content initiatives

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In recent years LinkedIn has been attempting to beef up its content game with the introduction of "influencers," which then became a publishing platform for all of its users to join. The idea is to get people to go onto the site not only when someone tries to connect with them, but because they actually have something to read.

The company is taking another step toward that goal with the acquisition of Run Hop, it has been confirmed to VatorNews. 

There's little information about Run Hop available. On its Twitter, the company, which is still in private beta, describes itself as, "Helping companies to measure and improve user engagement." Basically, the company was using an algorithm to show tailored content, like articles and videos, to specific audiences. 

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it was revealed to me that is was an acqui-hire. Run Hop's two co-founders, Pete Davies and Evan Solomon, are joining LinkedIn. According to the Wall Street Journal, which first reported the acquisition, Davies is now a senior product manager on the content team. He will lead LinkedIn’s strategy on publishing and sharing content. Solomon is now a senior software engineer at LinkedIn. 

Before founding Run Hop, both Davies and Solomon worked at digital publishing platform Medium.

"We wanted the co-founders' talent and expertise in content. It's long been a strategic priority for us, and we believe their knowledge and capabilities can help us accelerate the execution of our content roadmap," a spokesperson for LinkedIn told me.

"The two co-founders are already working on LinkedIn content initiatives."

Founded in 2014, Run Hop had raised a small pre-seed and Angel round in early 2015 from investors that included Resolute Ventures.

Publishing on LinkedIn

LinkedIn started out with 150 "thought leaders," or important people, that could be followed, including Barack Obama, Arianna Huffington, Richard Branson, Mitt Romney, Reid Hoffman, T. Boone Pickens, Cory Booker, Ben Smith, and Deepak Chopra.

A year and a half later, LinkedIn opened up the Influencer program to everyone in the United States , before bringing it to all English-speaking countries in early 2015. In addition, for the first time, users were able to follow members that were not in their network, in order to reach the largest amount of people possible.

As of July of last year, more than one million members were publishing more than 130,000 posts a week on LinkedIn.

Engagement on the network is low, especially when it comes to 18 to 34 year olds. While Facebook still remains, far and way, the network that this age group spend the most time on, coming close to nearly 1,000 minutes per visitor, per month, LinkedIn barely registers at all. 

When broken down by demographic, LinkedIn skews pretty old, with 62.1 percent of its users aged 35 or above. Perhaps giving those younger users the right content, perhaps with advice about how to enter the workforce and ways to make themselves stand out professionally, the company can bring in those younger demographics.

This is LinkedIn's first acquisition of 2016, and the first it has made since buying predictive sales and marketing firm Fliptop in August of last year. 

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