• Alexander Müller

What is XING? - The German LinkedIn Explained

Updated: May 3



Xing is a German social media network for business interaction. Similar to LinkedIn and with a huge userbase in the German-speaking countries (DACH region), Xing a marketing tool that some companies should not miss out on. Xing is like LinkedIn interesting for everyone who wants to reach businesses or a professional audience. For businesses with that target group - we want to make sure that you know about Xing and its differences to LinkedIn and that you know how you can use it.



XING – the German LinkedIn

I know, the name sounds like an adult version of Microsoft's search engine Bing. But Xing is a reputable social media platform and a big competitor of LinkedIn here in Germany and the DACH region.


How important is XING?


Xing is a social media platform on which businesses and professionals can interact with one another. So as LinkedIn, Xing offers a great platform for businesses to present themself for marketing and sales next to recruiting. Xing is the only German social media that has a sizable audience and can be described. Therefore, Xing is definitely relevant for those who have German businesses as a target group.


Xing has around 20 million users In the DACH region. This is even more than LinkedIn, which “only” has 17 million (September 2021). And the users are also active. Going by third-party data (since XING published no data) we can see that monthly and daily user interaction is roughly the same as on LinkedIn in total numbers.


While Xing is very strong in Germany and the whole DACH region, outside of Germany, Austria, and Switzerland nearly nobody knows about Xing. This obscurity has some drawbacks we will come to later. But this also means your competition outside of Germany has probably no clue about Xing, which can give you an advantage.



The number of Xing users in the DACH region

Source: Xing



The similarities of Xing and LinkedIn


Xing is a word with different meanings in different languages. In English XING stands for “crossing”, symbolizing a crossroad where business people meet. In Chinese Xing means something like “it works” or “it functions”. But ironically for a German-speaking platform, the word Xing does not have any meaning in German.


Xing is very similar to LinkedIn - like Pepsi is similar to Coca Cola so to say.

The idea behind the name Xing is therefore not that different from the idea behind LinkedIn. But the similarities don’t stop here. Xing is very similar to LinkedIn - like Pepsi is similar to Coca Cola so to say.


Just like LinkedIn, Xing offers the following characteristics:

  • Focus on professional, work-related interaction

  • For people who want to advance their careers, connect, and progress

  • Used for recruiting and marketing

  • Strong event functions

  • Strong marketing channel - esp. for B2B



LinkedIn vs. XING – what are the differences


Xing is mainly for German-speaking users whereas LinkedIn is more for a worldwide audience.

The big difference is the audience of the platforms. Xing is mainly for German-speaking users who live in the DACH region whereas LinkedIn is more for a worldwide audience. This impacts the social media strategy in various ways on those two social media platforms. For example, the keywords that are used on Xing are way more German than on LinkedIn. Even when you look at German entities only. The focus on German keywords on Xing makes sense since the more international-oriented audience is more likely to be active on LinkedIn. LinkedIn users are more comfortable using English words. On the other side, professionals on Xing are German speakers who want to interact with other German speakers. Therefore users on Xing stick to the native language. Moreover, marketers on Xing also target the older generations, which are not that fluent in English, they use more German words. For example, “Teilhaber” instead of “Stakeholder”.



Xing - the platform to reach decision makers in Germany


Xing is a platform for decision-makers. Xing members are generally well educated and are to a large extent professionals with relevant seniority. The distribution of professionals across industries is quite balanced.


The demographics of Xing users

Source: XING



Xing - the platform to reach decision makers in Germany

Source: XING



Xing is generally for the middle aged and older colleagues


Regarding the age distribution, we can observe a high concentration of middle-aged users on Xing. Moreover, we can observe a trend that the users of Xing are getting older and fewer young professionals are joining Xing. Speaking from our experience with marketing on Xing, it is a very good tool to reach the bit older business generation in Germany.



The age distribution of Xing users 2021

Source: XING



That Xing is more interesting to target a bit older business audience might not sound very appealing to everyone. As common wisdom says the young are the future and the ones open to new ideas. But in the end, the older generation makes most of the business decisions, especially in Germany. But in the end it depends on your target group and marketing strategy whether Xing is a channel for your business.


The older generation makes most of the business decisions, especially in Germany.



How to use XING as a B2B marketing channel


Based on our analytics you - the reader of this article - are a non-German entrepreneur, business developer, or marketer who is looking for a way into the German market. Therefore, it's likely that you did not hear about Xing before. If you have, you probably wonder what Xing can do for you.


In short, mostly the same way as LinkedIn. If LinkedIn is an electric car, then Xing is a car powered by gasoline. Meaning that a lot of rules, on how to be successful on those platforms, are the same. But some settings deviate a bit while a few are completely different.


The basics are the same: posting regularly intriguing content, interacting with the community, overall being something interesting to follow. These are is the most important success factors for both platforms to use organically. As you are probably aware of social media and maybe you are even reading a lot of tips and tricks about how to use social media, we won't bother you with more about social media here. Instead let us highlight some of the key features when using Xing as a marketing tool.



Types of paid XING ads:


  • XING ads & Xing video ads

Xing ads and Xing video ads are standard ads. The ads will show up on the main site of the users. You can advertise your website/shop, Job application, XING Group, or Event.

  • XING content ads

Xing content ads will include your professional content into the XING branch-newsletter. The minimum price for placement in Xing’s branch newsletter is 6,000€.

  • XING mailings

Xing mailings will send your marketing message directly to the inbox of potential customers. The minimum price is 30,000€.


  • XING audience network

Xing audience network will target the users outside of the XING platform.

The costs of XING ads


Some of the options to advertise on Xing have great potential but come with a bit bigger price tag. Before investing 30,000€ into a mailing campaign, it is advisable to first test the waters. XING ads are a good place to start. The cost per click (CPC) is usually around 3 – 5 €, which is comparable to LinkedIn. Of course, the price is a bit higher than ads on Meta or Google, but you can directly target the relevant B2B target group.


Targeting options on XING


The option for targeting the audience is very robust on Xing. You can set the country (Germany, Austria, Switzerland), region, or just place a circle of 10 – 150 km around a location. Filtering for age and gender is of course also possible. Additionally, you can decide which career level, branch, or employer you want to target. Also targeting the industires (e.g. tourism, marketing) is possible. Furthermore, lookalike audiences can be targeted, similar to Meta ads.


Extract of the Xing targeting options



XING groups – the place to be


Xing has a feature that is often overlooked by foreign companies – the Xing groups. Xing groups are a place where a considerable part of interaction among users is taking place. Many advertisers – esp. from foreign businesses - do an unnecessary mistakes. Those marketers just advertise in the same way on XING as they are used to on LinkedIn. But while groups are not that important on LinkedIn, on Xing they are. Yes, I know there is probably some 1:30 hour video out there that says that LinkedIn groups are the best marketing tool since the invention of photos – but that’s not quite true. Groups on Xing offer potential for many businesses. Being active in those groups or even creating one, can boost your image immensely and will help you generating leads.



One major weakness of XING


One of the biggest drawbacks is that Xing can still not be measured with a tracking pixel, like the LinkedIn insight tag. Of course, Google Analytics can be used to look into who came from Xing (using URL–parameters) and there is an option to see metrics like the number of lead contact forms in the Xing Ad Manager. But still, advertising without detailed analytics is a major downside of Xing. Additionally, Xing cannot be integrated into most social media managing tools, like Hootsuite or SocialPilot.




Conclusion


If you want to generate B2B leads in the Germany and your target group are managers then Xing is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.

Xing is not the marketing tool for every business and every B2B online marketing strategy. It is a more specialized marketing tool, in comparison with Facebook or even LinkedIn. Using Xing is not as often necessary or the right way to go, but if it fits your company's profile, it can be a powerful tool. If you are looking for B2B leads in the German-speaking world and your target group are managers which are middle-aged to a bit older and are working with a focus on the German market then Xing is a powerful weapon in your arsenal.