LinkedIn Engagement on the Rise and How You Can Benefit
When LinkedIn was taken over by Microsoft in 2016, the regular performance reports issued by LinkedIn were of course discontinued, and that means a number of key metrics could no longer be consulted. Those metrics which dealt primarily with membership growth and a number of related areas, are now no longer available, and have been replaced by a more general report issued by Microsoft itself. The Microsoft report has nowhere near the same level of detail, so is difficult to draw any major insights from the report, or to perform any serious analysis, but there is still enough detail to figure out what’s happening on LinkedIn.
As part of its report on the first quarter of this year, Microsoft states that LinkedIn revenues increased by 25%, and that it showed continued strength in virtually all areas of growth. The report also declared that the number of LinkedIn sessions increased by 22%, with record levels of job postings and of engagement between users. At the beginning of 2018, LinkedIn could boast of 575 million active users every month, and that number has now risen to 645 million members, which is of course a very significant increase.
This is probably very gratifying to LinkedIn officials, as well as to Microsoft executives, since the platform has made a concerted effort over the past several years to increase its active membership, as well as to elevate its level of engagement. Steps that the company has taken to increase engagement include improving the algorithm use for news feeds, which have been modified to include a great many more user updates.
How LinkedIn changed its feed distribution algorithm
LinkedIn has made a number of changes to its feed distribution algorithm, so as to increase the level of responses from members, as well as to boost engagement among all those online participants. One of the big reasons that LinkedIn decided to update its feed algorithm was that it analyzed metrics on engagement, and found that these numbers were not beneficial toward universal participation.
The numbers showed that the top users on the LinkedIn platform were the ones who contributed the most, and therefore provided postings which received the most widespread distribution in feeds. Correspondingly, those users with far fewer followers were practically ignored in the feed distribution algorithm, and their posts were largely left behind. By increasing the number of user contributions into feeds, it has developed just the way LinkedIn had hoped, and has provided much greater interest in those feeds.
The platform also made a big effort to include news stories which have greater relevance to its active membership, as well as those which are much more engaging for its audience. LinkedIn currently has a team of 65 journalists and counting, who all work to promote greater user activity and involvement with the news stories presented in its feeds.
To increase the number of professional conversations in the LinkedIn feed, the platform began to include ‘contribution’ as a major goal of its candidate selection model. The likelihood of contribution included any member’s intent to comment, share, or have some kind of reaction to any specific news feed. This model also included recognition of timely feedback for the creators of specific content, because that makes for a clear signal in cultivating and keeping the best builders of audiences on the platform.
Put another way, LinkedIn has introduced a component which favors the creators of content, whom it terms ‘audience builders’, rather than simply showing users content which it considers to be highly engaging, in order to encourage responses. The whole intent of this is to promote greater activity across the board, and to make LinkedIn the one place to be for business users to become engaged and to involve themselves in discussion.
This is the factor that it hopes will encourage members to return more often, since a greater number of users would receive more responses, and that would presumably draw them back to the platform. The net effect of all this is that it would re-distribute all the top-level content which was previously enjoyed by only the most prolific power users, and spread it out much more evenly, so that more people would participate.
According to the statistics provided by Microsoft over the past two or three quarters, it would seem that the strategy has taken hold and is becoming very effective. According to LinkedIn, the platform has completely rebuilt its machine learning model which is responsible for candidate selection, and has included all new algorithms and objectives.
One big part of this is that they have introduced the capability of predicting professional conversation likelihood into their model, so as to increase the community-building component of every feed update issued by the platform. In short, LinkedIn is looking to amplify all those posts which are most engaging, and it’s also seeking to increase participation from all groups and sub-communities.
Impact on LinkedIn platform
The bottom line of all this effort on the part of LinkedIn is that the platform has experienced significant growth in a very short period of time, as well as a whole slew of new opportunities for increased engagement. For business users, this could be important news, because if you haven’t paid much attention to LinkedIn up till now, it might very well be worth your while to do so.
There are a great many ongoing conversations associated with specific business niches, and many of these could be of interest to business marketing. It seems safe to say that with the growth of the platform in general, and the increased opportunities for engagement, all these are developments which could be extremely advantageous to business users.
Every business in America is probably seeking to ramp up its engagement level with customers, so as to foster greater brand recognition and increased loyalty. That’s exactly what is becoming more possible through all the efforts LinkedIn has made in the last couple years to foster greater levels of engagement.
LinkedIn has obviously paid close attention to the wants and needs of its user community, and has been working diligently to become the most prominent centralized location for professional communication. This of course, can have a direct link to marketing opportunities for businesses, and it’s something that is well worth checking out, if you haven’t already done so.