LinkedIn 200 Million Users Email Blast – The Misleading Campaign

Allaedin Ezzedin Top 5 Percent LinkedInOkay.  I have to say if I were wearing my ego (bragging) hat, and if no one in our office had a higher number of LinkedIn profile views than mine (ahem… Feras Alhlou), I might be more excited about the latest brilliant LinkedIn marketing email blast. Recently, they sent a blast about their 200 million members milestone.

While I appreciate the fact that my LinkedIn friends made the effort to update me about the state of their network in 2012, the message I got today about my profile, Allaedin Ezzedin, being “one of the top 5% most viewed LinkedIn profiles for 2012” is more misleading than informing.

Here’s why.

As an analyst…

As an analyst scrutinizing the data, the first question that came to my mind was, “I wonder how many of these profile viewers were…

  • …random profile stalkers?”
  • …job recruiters?”
  • …peers from the Analytics community (that is you if you are reading my post now)?”
  • …prospects who are considering hiring my firm; E-Nor?”
  • …existing clients?”
  • …blog readers?”
  • …Jasmines searching for Aladdin?” :)

target audience is worth more than profile viewers

The number LinkedIn provided doesn’t explain any of this!  In the analytics world, we call this metric “page views”, which we give an extremely low value in understanding user behavior and engagement. It doesn’t tell you “who” is viewing your page or “why” they are viewing it, which is the real actionable insight you need.

Segmentation is always essential. Each one of us has different social networking goals, objectives, and interests. Someone using social media for branding has a different target audience than someone who is searching for a job or someone who is using social media to advocate their ideologies or methodologies.

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As a marketer…

Now, as a marketer, my first reaction to the email campaign was, “Wow, no one is viewing profiles on LinkedIn!” If my profile, which is getting an average of X views per month, made it to the top 5%, then how many views are the bottom 95% profiles getting? Also, if most LinkedIn users are not socially active, then what is real value of LinkedIn as a marketing tool? What does 200 Million users mean to me? How will the new numbers impact my social marketing strategy? Shall I continue to invest on my paid campaigns in LinkedIn? Are my potential prospects on LinkedIn? Are they active? How can I increase engagement with my personal or corporate profiles? What metrics should I track in LinkedIn?

If there is one thing we learn from the latest LinkedIn email campaign is not to run after bold numbers and to have a clear objective for every marketing channel we invest in. Don’t be fooled by the marketing numbers because most of the time they are tweaked/formatted to serve marketing interests, not yours.

Conclusion

1) Disclaimer: I love LinkedIn, as it is by far my number one social network of choice when it comes to connecting to my professional circles (ex-classmates, ex-workers, the analytics community, volunteering community, partners, clients, vendors, etc.).  My critique here is solely limited to their latest marketing email blast.

2) For my friends who didn’t make it to the top 1%, 5%, or 10% profiles, I would say don’t sweat it. Your profile’s success is about how far you are from reaching 100% of your target audiences, not just any audience! :)

3) Let’s all hope that next year, the annual update from LinkedIn looks something like this…

linkedin 2013 suggested email campaign

16 thoughts on “LinkedIn 200 Million Users Email Blast – The Misleading Campaign”

  1. I also got the same and was left a bit puzzled – my brain kicked in “analysis” mode trying to understand how the heck I could be in the top 1%. Then it shifted toward “oh! clever trick!”

    But wait a minute… if everyone got a 1% or 5% congratulations, then it means… oh well! :)

  2. ” It doesn’t tell you “who” is viewing your page or “why” they are viewing it, which is the real actionable insight you need.”
    That sums it up for me. Thank you.

  3. Wow, I feel so special and excited to be in the 1% club with you too. Woohoo!

    All my social media e-mail notifications go into a separate folder that I purge about once a month. So I hadn’t looked at it. How excited I am to know that I’m in the top 1%.

    Um, yah, so now what? Can I stick it the wall? Does anyone care?

    You’re right – it doesn’t mean diddly, just like page views.

    Thanks for the great post. :)
    Tom

  4. This was a brilliant marketing campaign by Linkedin to get more Linkedin exposure. I received the top 1% and so did my partner. With that 1% stat my very infrequent sharing or wall posts, I came to the conclusion that a very small number of Linkedin members actually use the site on a weekly basis. It actually made me think that Linkedin was pulling out a desperation card. It wasn’t authentic at all.

    I wanted to explore my curiosity with the ‘share’ button to see how Linkedin was going to use this to their advantage. What happened was that my name written on the letter was removed and a generic ‘member’ was the post. Wow, the thanks only could go so far in the data transfer I guess. I did not share this post. It was brilliant for Linkedin to find a way to get themselves promoted on their own wall. they have some crafty marketers on staff!

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