After launching their re-vamped mobile app in December last year, LinkedIn has seen a major uptick in usage and adoption of the tool - in fact the majority of LinkedIn's overall traffic now comes via mobile device. Among the key stats relating to mobile use, specifically, LinkedIn has reported:
- A 30% lift in daily active users via mobile
- A 40% lift in engaged feed sessions
- A massive 240% growth in messages sent on the platform overall
Given this, it makes sense to see LinkedIn putting more emphasis on mobile with their latest tools and features. They recently unveiled their improved search functionality - including hashtags - via the app (coming to desktop soon) and announced the pending implementation of their "@inbot" automated scheduling system, which will enable users to quickly and easily manage their calendar on the go.
And today, LinkedIn has announced another new set of features for the mobile app, including a new option to help refine and personalize your LinkedIn feed.
Here's what they've announced.
1. "Control what you see in your feed"
While both Instagram and Twitter saw a huge amount of kickback against their respective shifts towards algorithm-defined feeds, LinkedIn's implementation and improvement of their feed algorithm has largely gone unnoticed.
I mean, there are definitely users who've taken issue with it - some LinkedIn Publisher users, for example, have been particularly incensed by the gradual reduction in reach of their posts over time - but overall, LinkedIn's algorithm changes have largely gone without mention, which could be seen as a sign that, by and large, they're getting it right.
But to clarify - LinkedIn does utilize an algorithm which dictates what content you see in your feed. And the same as those other systems, LinkedIn uses engagement signals as indicators of what you want to see more or less of.
And they're constantly working to improve that relevance - as noted by LinkedIn:
"Over the last several months, we've revamped the feed so that, over time, it will become a customized stream of news and fresh perspectives tailored to your specific interests."
To help with this, LinkedIn have now added in a new option which enables users to provide more direct feedback about what they do and don't want to see.
Now, when scrolling through your LinkedIn feed in the mobile app, you can tap on the three dots in the top right of any update. When you do, you'll see the usual options - "Hide this update", "Unfollow this user" - but you'll also be able to access a new tool called "Improve my feed".
As shown in the image sequence above, when selected, LinkedIn will provide you with options on the topics likely to be of most interest to you, based on your activity. You can then select new sources to follow or unfollow those you're currently seeing. LinkedIn will then use these signals as indicators to refine your experience, helping to make your feed more relevant to you.
Personalization is the next evolution of social, and while some still balk at Facebook's hyper-refined News Feed, the fact of the matter is that algorithms work. As noted by Simon Kemp in his most recent presentation on the future of social, "algorithms add tangible value to our everyday lives". The more attuned to our personal preferences and behaviors those systems are, the higher that value is - and as such, it's no surprise to see LinkedIn putting increased emphasis on personalization in this respect.
Expect to see more data utilization and refinement from the platform in future.
2. Save for later
LinkedIn has also added in a "Save for Later" option, enabling users to bookmark links that they want to check out but don't have time to at that second.
As per LinkedIn:
"With this highly-requested feature, you'll never miss content that matters because you forget to revisit it later. Everything you want to read will be neatly stored away, under the "Me" tab, with a single tap under saved articles for viewing when you actually have the time to read."
And while it's theoretically easy to do, I found the system to be somewhat glitchy - the save icon (as you can see in the above image) is within the same field as the link, so you can easily click on the link itself instead, while items I'd saved also weren't showing up consistently - though I suspect these are just early teething problems.
And while it may seem like a minor addition, the ability to save links is actually more popular than you'd think - earlier this year, Facebook reported that their "Save" option is used by more than 250 million people every month.
A small, but potentially important addition.
3. Improved Search
And LinkedIn also took the opportunity in today's release to again highlight how good their new in-app search functionality now is.
"It's now easier than ever to explore content relevant to your interests by using the search box. You can look for articles on topics you care about-from management tips to the latest news on artificial intelligence. You can also discover more on timely topics by using hashtags. For example, type Finance and see the latest articles and news being discussed."
As noted, LinkedIn have been working to improve their search systems, so it's worth checking out how their new in-app search works - and they'll soon look to implement their improved push notifications and contextual search tools, enabling users to get more context and information from LinkedIn's expanding content resources.
While the additions are relatively small, they each play their own important role in the ongoing evolution of LinkedIn's app. And given the increased reliance on the app, as opposed to the desktop version, if you want to get the most out of LinkedIn, you really need to be logging on via your mobile device.
The new features are being rolled out to all users from today.