State of Social Media Q4 2015: Less than 25% Active LinkedIn Members

LinkedIn, the former dark horse of social media, has not only grown past Twitter, but is a serious publishing platform in its own right. Let’s see what LinkedIn reported for its Q3 earnings.

Growth

LinkedIn’s membership continues to grow, passing 400 million registered users:

Above, we see sustained 4% quarter over quarter growth, indicating a still-healthy social network. Where we see potential trouble is in this chart:

Above, the blue line is registered members. The green line is quarterly active users. The pink bars represent the percentage of quarterly active users versus total members; less than 25% of registered users log in quarterly.

Mobile user growth also stumbled in Q4:

Our last growth statistic: the total number of LinkedIn corporate customers continues to grow.

This is good news if you’re a job seeker; the more corporate customers use LinkedIn’s talent management software, the more valuable your profile.

Revenue

LinkedIn’s financial performance, despite its active member challenges, crossed the $2 revenue per user mark last quarter:

Even Marketing Solutions, after a lackluster third quarter, picked up the pace and posted a record revenue number:

CEO Jeff Weiner cited Sponsored Updates as the primary driver of Marketing Solutions revenue, attributing over 50% of the Marketing Solutions revenue.

Looking Ahead: What It Means for Marketers and PR Pros

With its mobile app relaunch in Q4, LinkedIn sought to repair its lackluster mobile presence. Whether that translates into increased mobile usage among its members or brings dormant members back remains to be seen.

Mr. Weiner indicated in his remarks that LinkedIn will increase its focus on Sponsored Updates. In his prepared remarks, he said the company will be introducing conversion tracking and enhanced targeting to Sponsored Updates. Standard display advertising continues to take a backseat priority at LinkedIn.

Another note in the prepared remarks of interest to marketers: Mr. Weiner suggested that the company continues to make significant changes and upgrades to LinkedIn’s newsfeed algorithm:

We are also seeing members significantly increase the amount of content they interact with in the Feed, thanks to improved algorithms and easier tools to follow publishers. The year over year growth rate for members sharing content has nearly doubled since launching the new Flagship app, accelerating to nearly 40% year-over-year.

What should marketers and communicators do now?

Publish and sponsor your updates.

Syndicate career and productivity blog posts to LinkedIn’s platform (as well as Medium and Facebook Notes) to determine whether your audience is more interested in reading your content there.

Use employee advocacy software such as Dynamic Signal to activate your employees on LinkedIn and encourage them to share.

Despite its membership issues, LinkedIn remains a strong social network for professionals. If working professionals are your audience, whether for talent or marketing, leverage the power of the network to your advantage.

Christopher S. Penn
Vice President, Marketing Technology

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Posted on February 5, 2016 in LinkedIn, Marketing, Metrics, Social Media, Strategy

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About the Author

Christopher S. Penn is an authority on digital marketing and marketing technology. A recognized thought leader, author, and speaker, he has shaped three key fields in the marketing industry: Google Analytics adoption, data-driven marketing and PR, and email marketing. Known for his high-octane, here’s how to get it done approach, his expertise benefits companies such as Citrix Systems, McDonald’s, GoDaddy, McKesson, and many others. His latest work, Leading Innovation, teaches organizations how to implement and scale innovative practices to direct change.

Christopher is a highly-sought keynote speaker thanks to his energetic, informative talks. In 2015, he delivered insightful, innovative talks on all aspects of marketing and analytics at over 30 events to critical acclaim.

He is a founding member of IBM’s Watson Analytics Predictioneers, co-founder of the groundbreaking PodCamp Conference, and co-host of the Marketing Over Coffee marketing podcast.

Christopher is a Google Analytics Certified Professional and a Google AdWords Certified Professional. He is the author of over two dozen marketing books including bestsellers such as Marketing White Belt: Basics for the Digital Marketer, Marketing Red Belt: Connecting With Your Creative Mind, and Marketing Blue Belt: From Data Zero to Marketing Hero.

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