As a relative oldster in the world on online tech, LinkedIn struggles with the same issues faced by companies like Google and Yahoo: how to stay beautiful and relevant when the very definitions of those terms are being constantly redefined by startups.

In this regard, Google is holding its own, and Yahoo is engineering a massive turnaround. LinkedIn, however, is a stunning success story — one that investors are loving right now.

And that story is definitely reflected in today’s earnings.

Between July and September, the professional network raked in $393 million, up 56 percent from $252 million this time last year.

Net loss for Q3 2013 was $3.4 million, a decrease from last year’s profits of $2.3 million for Q3.

The company’s membership head count stands at 259 million, up significantly from 187 million in September 2012.

LinkedIn: Q3 in News

LinkedIn has been focusing a lot on mobile over the past year or two, and that focus shines in every aspect from design to features to ads. The mere range of platforms and stand-alone apps is astounding: Recruiter, Contacts, Intro, etc. And each one is getting a constant stream of updates, feature-adds, and UI improvements.

With all those platforms comes new opportunities to sell sponsored updates (LinkedIn’s very first mobile ads) and jobs in new formats and placements — opportunities that become ever more important as the network speeds toward its “mobile moment,” chief executive officer Jeff Weiner’s term for hitting 50 percent of all traffic coming from mobile. He personally expects that to happen next year.

Also, LinkedIn has been emphasizing news and content as a major part of its desktop and mobile experiences. The UI is elegant, and the content is algorithmically customized for each user. Again, this creates more opportunities to sell highly targeted commercial content.

Comparison shopping

Looking at its peers around the web, we see a still smallish company managing to hold its own. While Facebook obviously takes the lion’s share of social marketing budgets, eMarketer estimates that LinkedIn’s share of social-network ad spending worldwide will rise to 4 percent in 2013, up from 3.8 percent last year.

However, when you strip out the social filter, “LinkedIn accounts for less than 1 percent of all digital ad spending in the U.S. and worldwide,” an eMarketer analyst noted via email.

But LinkedIn’s growth in digital ad market share is expected to exceed the overall market growth. Online ad spend rose by 13.3 percent to $10.46 billion in Q3 2013, eMarketer estimates.

Investor response

Overall, LinkedIn’s performance on the public market has been remarkably healthy for Q3. Here’s a look at stock prices between July 2013 and September 2013:

LNKD Chart

LNKD data by YCharts

When held up side-by-side with some of its competitors in various products and features, LinkedIn still shines, especially when compared with Monster on the job-search side and Yahoo/Google on the content-curation side:

LNKD Chart

LNKD data by YCharts


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