LinkedIn Usage and Revenue Statistics (2018)

Mansoor Iqbal

Updated: November 12, 2018

LinkedIn is the world’s preeminent social network for professionals. Members create online résumés, listing their current and previous job roles, their skills, and their education. They can network with other LinkedIn members, who are searchable by the above criteria and more. LinkedIn users can be endorsed by other users, for individual skills or through a more general written reference. Members can join professional groups relevant to their interests.

As well as individual professionals, LinkedIn allows businesses to create profiles, and list current vacancies. Members can apply for these positions directly through LinkedIn’s interface. LinkedIn also provides a publishing platform, designed to facilitate thought leadership in the business world.

LinkedIn was initially conceived in cofounder Reid Hoffman’s living room in 2002. Hoffman had previously worked for Apple, creating eWorld – an early attempt at a social network, later snapped up by AOL. He would have another go at establishing a social network in 1997, with SocialNet.com – which aimed to connect people with similar interests (sound familiar?).

Peter Thiel later reflected that SocialNet’s failure was down to its being “years ahead of its time”. Thiel had been a Stanford classmate of Hoffman’s: later, he would be a colleague, with the two serving together on the board of then nascent PayPal (alongside a certain Elon Musk).

Hoffman’s next attempt at creating a social network, alongside colleagues from SocialNet.com and PayPal would be far more successful. LinkedIn officially launched on May 5th 2003. Take up was slow, with daily sign ups as low as 20 people for a period. Sequoia Capital, however, saw enough potential in the idea to invest $4.7 million in the young company. You can read our compilation of LinkedIn stats and facts over its history from these humble beginnings up to the present day below – looking at how many people use the site, who they are, and what they’re worth in terms of revenue.

Of course, LinkedIn wasn’t humble for long. Sequoia Capital has something of a magic touch when it comes to investing in young businesses. At last count, it has 17 ‘unicorns’ on its books, including AirBnB and Square (a company which Hoffman has expressed regret for not investing in). Their faith was duly rewarded

In 2005, LinkedIn opened up its first revenue making operations: job listings and subscriptions (known as Premium membership – unlocking additional features). By 2006 it was turning a profit, and by 2011 it became a publicly listed company on the New York Stock Exchange, under current CEO Jeff Weiner.

In June 2016, Microsoft announced it would be buying LinkedIn in an all-cash transaction for $26.2 billion – $196 per share. The purchase was completed in December of the same year, and stands as Microsoft’s biggest acquisition to date.

According to Amazon Alexa, LinkedIn is the 28th biggest website in the world, and 10th in the US.

Table of Contents

Key LinkedIn Statistics

  • 590 million LinkedIn users, spread over 200 countries
  • US is the biggest market (over 154 million users), followed by India (53 million), and China (44 million)
  • Over 30 million companies have profiles on LinkedIn
  • 61 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers, 40 million are in decision-making positions
  • 46 million student and 87 million Millennial LinkedIn users (11 million Millennial decision makers)
  • 43% of LinkedIn traffic from US, 7.4% from India, 4.3% from UK
  • 25% of US adults are signed up to LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn sessions last an average of 6:07 minutes
  • 9 billion content impressions take place on LinkedIn weekly
  • Median number of connections between 500 and 999
  • 122 million users have been invited to an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million getting a job through someone with whom they are connected
  • 11 million jobs listed on LinkedIn, 5 million in the US
  • LinkedIn app downloaded more than 100 million times
  • 57% of traffic comes from mobile devices
  • Only 1% of users post content weekly, though 91% of executive use LinkedIn as a content source
  • 130,000 articles are published on LinkedIn monthly
  • 80% of B2B leads come through LinkedIn
  • LinkedIn purchased by Microsoft in 2016, deal finalised in December 2016 for $26.2 billion
  • In the 2018 fiscal year, LinkedIn brought in $5.3 billion worth of revenue

LinkedIn User Statistics

LinkedIn reports over 590 million users spread over 200 countries.

In October 2018, 154 million LinkedIn users were based in the US. With 53 million LinkedIn users, India is the second-biggest market, followed by China at 44 million.

The UK is the biggest market in Europe, with 25 million users, while Brazil’s 35 million LinkedIn users puts it comfortable in the lead in South America. South Africa is the most sizeable LinkedIn market in Africa, with 6 million.

LinkedIn users around the world

LinkedIn users globally

Source: LinkedIn               

More than two new members join LinkedIn every second. CEO Jeff Weiner has big ambitions for LinkedIn’s reach – stating that his goal was to get 3 billion people to sign up.

LinkedIn, of course, is not just designed for the individual user. Company pages are also a part of the melange: around 30 million of them at last count.

The active user base of LinkedIn is debated. Boston-based Apptopia estimated that the active user base numbered around 250 million, while others estimate it’s only 25% of the total LinkedIn user base.

LinkedIn Demographics

If you’re looking to rub shoulders with the cream of the business world, LinkedIn is the place to do it – online at least. Executives from every Fortune 500 company use the social network, LinkedIn claims. There are even claims that four out of 10 millionaires use LinkedIn.

According to LinkedIn’s B2B blog, 61 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers, and 40 million are in decision-making positions.

All levels of professional are included, however: there are also 46 million students and recent graduates among the LinkedIn user base. Spreading the net a little wider, there are 87 million Millennials on LinkedIn, 11 million of whom are in decision-making positions.

According to Alexa, 43% of LinkedIn’s traffic comes in from the US. India is second, providing 7.4%, while 4.3% comes from the UK. Interestingly, Japan (3.8%) comes in fourth, despite LinkedIn membership in Japan standing at only 2 million.

If we just look at desktop traffic, just over a quarter comes from the US, way ahead of second-place India on about 7%.

Global distribution of desktop traffic to LinkedIn

Global distribution of desktop traffic to LinkedIn

Source: Statista

Google Trends shows that search interest in LinkedIn has more than doubled since December 2010. Interest peaked in August 2015 – since when interest has dropped by about a third. In the US, the financial and knowledge economies of the northeast is where you’ll find the greatest interest in LinkedIn. Massachusetts is the US state which searches LinkedIn the most, followed by New York and New Jersey.

US LinkedIn demographics and market penetration

It’s no Facebook, but with 25% of US adults signed up to it, LinkedIn outstrips both Twitter (24%) and WhatsApp (22%) in terms of market penetration.

As we might expect, the preponderance of LinkedIn usage increases with level of education and with income. ­­­ Only Facebook (77%) and YouTube (85%) can claim greater penetration with those with a college degree. The same goes for the $75,000+ earnings bracket, in which we find the highest concentration of LinkedIn users.

Men and women use LinkedIn equally. In racial terms, it seems that there’s lower uptake among Hispanic Americans that with black or white. Notably a slightly greater proportion of black Americans use LinkedIn than white.

Percentage of US adults who use LinkedIn, by demographic

Percentage of US adults who use LinkedIn, by demographic

Data source: Pew Research Center

Overall, LinkedIn users globally skew slightly male, though there’s not a huge amount in it.

Global LinkedIn users by gender

Global LinkedIn users by gender

Source: Statista

LinkedIn Usage Statistics

According to Alexa, LinkedIn users spend an average of 6:07 minutes on the site, looking at an average of 4.57 pages. Sessions reportedly increased by around a third in Q1 2019, according to parent company Microsoft (Microsoft fiscal quarters run a half year ahead, in real terms this is Q3 2018),

And in 2017, LinkedIn reported 9 billion content impressions in its feeds per week. The LinkedIn user base has grown since then, so this figure is likely to be higher today.

The best time to post to get engagement is Wednesday afternoon – perhaps people are less inclined to engage with LinkedIn closer to the weekend.

LinkedIn engagement by day/time

LinkedIn engagement by day/time

Source: Sprout Social

LinkedIn connections

Statista report that the median number of LinkedIn connections per user is somewhere in the 500-999 bracket. Over a quarter of users have 300 connections or fewer, and 43% in all have 499 or fewer. 1% of users have a staggering 10,000 connections or more.

LinkedIn users by number of connections

LinkedIn users by number of connections

Source: Statista

LinkedIn for jobseekers

LinkedIn’s raison d’être is to connect employers with talent.

A study found 122 million LinkedIn users have been invited to an interview through LinkedIn. 35.5 million reported being hired by someone they connected with over LinkedIn. Again, this is a couple of years old now, so the figure is likely to have crept up.

At the time of writing, over 5 million vacancies were active in LinkedIn in the US alone. In late 2017, LinkedIn reported the total global figure stood at 11 million.

There are plenty of opportunities for jobseekers, but hiring companies stand to benefit as well, with 90% of users open to new opportunities

LinkedIn devices

Android Police note that the LinkedIn app has been downloaded 100 million times from the Google Play store. On top of this, we have to add on the total number who have downloaded the app on an Apple device.

In 2016, LinkedIn reported that 57% of its traffic came from mobile devices.

LinkedIn content

Only around 1% of LinkedIn users post content to the site on a weekly basis – though 91% of marketing executives said they used LinkedIn to access quality content. Only 0.2% have used the platform’s publisher function. Around 130,000 articles are published monthly in all.

Video is the most shared type of content on LinkedIn, over 20 times more than other forms of content.

LinkedIn owns slideshow platform Slideshare (acquired in 2012), which is used by 80 million people per month, and hosts 18 million pieces of content. Slideshare itself is one the world’s top-200 websites, ranked 165. In India, it makes the top 100, at 75.

LinkedIn for business

LinkedIn offers a huge suite of business services – ranging from intelligence reports, to online courses, to a hiring platform.

With 30 million businesses running LinkedIn accounts, it’s perhaps unsurprising to see it is the most popular social media channels with Fortune 500 companies.

Social media usage by Fortune 500 companies

Social media usage by Fortune 500 companies

Source: Statista

LinkedIn also offers a range of B2B marketing tools. Indeed, LinkedIn reports that 46% of social media traffic to B2B company sites comes through LinkedIn – unsurprising, given 50% of B2B buyers use the social network.

Reportedly, 80% of B2B leads come through LinkedIn, with 94% of B2B marketers using LinkedIn as a channel through which they can distribute content. LinkedIn B2B advertisers can now measure the performance of their ads simply, using Google Campaign Manager.

Marketing on LinkedIn: statistics

Linkedin b2b stats

Source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn video for as a tool for B2B marketers

LinkedIn release data and advice through their Sophisticated Marketer magazine, advising B2B marketers how to make the most of the platform.

This includes a study of the sort of video content most-likely to be viewed by a business audience, as enumerated in the below infographic. Tip: viewers prefer short videos, that are humorous. If you’re targeting an Asian audience, it might be useful to mention a famous name too…

B2B video viewing statistics

B2B video viewing statistics

Source: LinkedIn

According to eMarketer statistics, LinkedIn is a relatively effective tool for video marketing, with 28% reporting that it was a useful tool, versus 10% who did not believe it was effective (the remainder had not used it). While this puts it some way behind YouTube and Facebook, it’s nearly up there with Instagram, and ahead of Twitter.

Effectiveness of video marketing channels, according to marketers

Effectiveness of video marketing channels, according to marketers

Source: eMarketer

Video aside Sophisticated Marketer reports a raft of statistics relevant to those using LinkedIn as a B2B platform. Here are some of their findings.

B2B marketers that…

B2B content stats LinkedIn

Data source: LinkedIn

LinkedIn influencers in India

If we were to say ‘influencer’ to you, you’d probably think of heavily stylised pictures beautiful people in an exotic location. Well, in India, though Instagram does dominate the influencer market, it’s interesting to note that 22% of influencers also identified LinkedIn as a valuable platform for influencer marketing.

Influencer platforms India

Influencer platforms India

Source: eMarketer

LinkedIn Microsoft Office integration

The Verge reports that Microsoft, owners of LinkedIn, are planning to integrate LinkedIn into its ubiquitous Office suite. LinkedIn users will now be able to see information relating to their contacts when sharing documents or making calendar appointments.

LinkedIn Revenue

LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft in December 2016.

It seems to have been a good purchase for them. LinkedIn revenue increased 33% year-on-year in Q1 2019 (Microsoft’s Q1 2019 is the third quarter of 2018). This followed a strong Q4 2018, in which LinkedIn revenue grew 37% growth year-on-year.

LinkedIn revenue is consolidated with Microsoft’s overall revenue. Microsoft do not always release full stats for LinkedIn revenue in its quarterly reports.

They are more forthcoming when it comes to annual reports, however. In the 2018 fiscal year, LinkedIn revenue stood at $5.3 billion. This compares to $2.3 billion of LinkedIn revenue in 2017 (the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft took place late in the second quarter of the fiscal year). The revenue is chiefly driven by Talent Solutions – the tool to help employers find talent.

LinkedIn operating loss over the 2018 fiscal year stood at $63 million, which includes $1.5 billion of amortisation of intangible assets. Microsoft ascribes increasing overall cost of revenue, R&D, and sales and marketing expenses to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn revenue pre-takeover

Talent Solutions has long been the engine of LinkedIn revenue, while subscriptions to LinkedIn Premium and Marketing Solutions have contributed roughly equal portions. All three segments of the business enjoyed robust growth up until the takeover by Microsoft.

In the quarter following the LinkedIn IPO (Q3 2011), Talent Solutions was worth $71 million, subscriptions brought in $28.4 million, while Marketing Solutions generated $40 million in revenue. In the final quarter before Microsoft officially took the reins, Talent Subscriptions commanded revenue of $622.7 million, while subscriptions and Marketing Solutions brought in $161.6 million and $175.5 million respectively.

LinkedIn revenue Q1 2009-Q3 2016

LinkedIn revenue historical

Source: Statista

LinkedIn valuation

LinkedIn’s IPO took place in May 2011, with shares priced at $83 on the New York Stock Exchange, giving a market cap of $7.8 billion.

Microsoft purchased LinkedIn for $196 a share in June 2016; a total of $26.2 billion, finalising the deal in December of the same year. It was purchased at something of a premium: 50% over the share price at the time. Indeed, stock price had crashed in early 2016, going as low as $101 in February after LinkedIn had posted a weak outlook for the rest of the year and announced the closure of its B2B Lead Accelerator tool. Over $10 billion was wiped off its valuation as a consequence.

It has posted its highest ever stock price a year before, reaching $276.18 per share.

LinkedIn share price history

LinkedIn share price

Source: Statista

Final thoughts

While it can’t claim the raw figures of Facebook, LinkedIn has long represented one of the most dominant names in the social media field. Indeed, in its particular field of operation, it stands almost completely unchallenged. If you’re a professional, then you’re pretty much honour bound to have a LinkedIn profile – whether you want to or not.

For that, it will always stand as a paragon of the virtue of lasering in on a market-based USP and moving first. With user numbers still edging up, the LinkedIn brand seems likely to continue to be dominant in its field.

In a difficult time for many social media enterprises, perhaps the acquisition came at just the right time. LinkedIn’s future is now inextricably tied in with Microsoft, seemingly intended to play a central part in the tech juggernaut’s second coming as a cloud-based enterprise. It’s a formidable pairing, with both brands enjoying de rigueur status in the professional sphere. With cross platform functionality baked into the Office suite and LinkedIn, the two brands look set to build upon each other’s captive audiences.

Commentators are confident that we’ll soon see Microsoft joining Amazon and Apple in the $1 trillion club. Looks like LinkedIn will be coming along for the ride.