If you’ve noticed a dip in your LinkedIn follower count this week, this would be why:
As per this alert, shared by user Sachin Shah, LinkedIn is no longer counting ‘hibernated or restricted accounts’ in your follower or connection numbers, which could see the removal of a lot of profiles from your LinkedIn stats.
As explained by LinkedIn:
“In order to better support LinkedIn members and contributors with more reliable engagement and reach insights, restricted and hibernated accounts will no longer be included in the total number of followers and connections listed on a member’s profile. Going forward, we’ll regularly update all members' connection and follower counts to remove restricted and hibernated accounts. This is part of our efforts to build a safe, authentic, and transparent experience, helping reflect a more accurate view of your audience.”
Hibernated accounts, for clarity, are LinkedIn profiles that members have deactivated for a period of time, instead of shutting them down completely.
The update makes sense, and really, it probably should have been measured this way all along. But then again, Twitter and Facebook include restricted profiles in their stats, so it’s no different to how other apps count this element.
“If restricted or hibernated accounts become active, they will be re-included in the follower and connection counts they were previously a part of. For members that reach the 30,000 connection limit, if accounts become unrestricted they will not be re-added to their audience lists unless they remove current connections.”
It’s a logical update from LinkedIn, which comes at an opportune time, as the platform also says goodbye to its 59 million Chinese users as it shuts down operations in the region.
Given that its total member count is already set to decline by millions, I guess now is the right time to also update all of the ways in which it measures its audience – though it’s not clear whether LinkedIn will also stop counting hibernated or restricted accounts in its overall member stats.
The overall member stats are already somewhat misleading - right now, LinkedIn has over 930 million members. That is impressive, but it’s important to note that ‘members’ and ‘active users’, the more common social platform usage metric, are not the same thing.
So when matched up against Instagram, for example, which has over a billion active users, LinkedIn’s 930 million members, on the surface, seems close, but actually, LinkedIn’s active user count is considered to be around 474 million, which is a lot less than the communicated figure.
And if inactive accounts are included in this stat, that muddies the waters even more – so hopefully, this is the beginning of a new move towards more transparency from the app on this front.
But probably not. It would be handy to know exactly how many real, active users LinkedIn has, but it doesn’t seem that it would be in the platform’s interest to share this now, and risk negative comparison to other social apps that it competes with for ad spend.
But your own follower and connection count will now be more accurate, which is something, I guess.
UPDATE: LinkedIn has clarified that it is not shutting down its operations in China entirely, as it will maintain elements of its business for Chinese customers, but there will be no local LinkedIn app (LinkedIn or InCareer).