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 the 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 was the 21st biggest website in the world, and 10th in the US in late 2018. In late 2019, it had fallen to 57th in terms of global engagement, where it remained as of November 2020. It had been as high as 35 in August 2019. SimilarWeb ranked LinkedIn 24th in terms of global traffic, and 22nd in the US.
Table of Contents
|Parent company||Microsoft (Since December 2016)|
|Key people||Reid Hoffman (founder, chair of the board), Jeff Weiner (executive chair), Ryan Roslansky (CEO)|
|Company type||Public (NASDAQ:MSFT, previously NYSE:LNKD)|
|IPO date||13 March 1986 (Microsoft), 11 May 2011 (LinkedIn)|
Key LinkedIn User Statistics
|LinkedIn members, millions|
*normal quarters used in this table, not Microsoft FY (see note below)
|LinkedIn members by region|
|Members, millions||Percentage of global total|
|Middle East & Africa||63||9%|
|LinkedIn members by country, Q3 2020, millions|
|Percentage of LinkedIn traffic from top countries|
*SimilarWeb stats desktop only
|LinkedIn audience demographics|
Source: Hootsuite/We Are Social
|Percentage of US adults using LinkedIn|
Source: Pew Research Center
|LinkedIn US demographics|
|Demographic||Percentage of LinkedIn users/demographic|
|Household income: <$30,000||10|
|Household income: $50,000-$74,999||26|
|Household income: > $75,000||49|
|Educated to: High school or less||9|
|Educated to: Some college||26|
|Educated to: College+||51|
Source: Pew Research Center
Key LinkedIn Usage Statistics
|LinkedIn sessions – year-on-year increases by quarter|
*Microsoft financial years run from previous July (so FY 2017 runs from Q3 2016 to Q2 2017).
|LinkedIn traffic by month, millions|
|LinkedIn average daily usage/visits*, minutes|
*SimilarWeb stats refer to visits, Alexa to daily usage.
|LinkedIn traffic sources*|
|2020 hiring on LinkedIn by month vs equivalent month in 2019, percentage change|
|Job vacancy call back levels by detail of LinkedIn profile|
|No profile||Bare bones profile||Detailed profile|
Key LinkedIn Revenue Statistics
|LinkedIn quarterly revenue/year-on-year increase|
|Q4 2017||$1.1 billion|
|Q1 2018||$1.1 billion|
|Q2 2018||$1.3 billion|
*as of Q3 2018, LinkedIn quarterly revenue reported as year-on-year increase
|LinkedIn annual revenue, USD billions|
* 2019 and 2020 figures based on reported increases in revenue
|Microsoft Productivity and Business Processes revenue and operating income, USD billions|
|Microsoft annual revenue, USD billions|
|Microsoft annual net revenue, USD billions|
|LinkedIn pre- acquisition share price, USD|
|May 11 (IPO)||45|
|May 11 (first day)||83|
|Microsoft share price, USD|
|LinkedIn pre-acquisition valuation/market cap, USD billions|
|May-11 (first day)||8.79|
|Jun-16 (Microsoft acquisition)||26.2|
|Microsoft market cap, USD billions|
|LinkedIn funding rounds|
|Series A||November 2003||$4.7 million||Sequoia|
|Series B||October 2004||$10 million||Greylock|
|Series C||January 2007||$12.8 million||GFC, Bessemer|
|Series D||June 2008||$53 million||Bain|
|Series D||October 2008||$22.7 million||Sapphire, SAP, S&P, Goldman Sachs|
|Secondary market||December 2009||$51.6 million||Tiger|
Other Key LinkedIn Statistics
- LinkedIn available in 200 countries (LinkedIn)
- LinkedIn ranked 24 globally for traffic, and 22 in the US in September 2020 (SimilarWeb)
- LinkedIn ranked 57 globally for engagement August-October; 29 in the US, 26 in India, 35 in Canada (Alexa)
- Over 50 million companies have profiles on LinkedIn (LinkedIn)
- 40 million people search for jobs on LinkedIn weekly (LinkedIn)
- In 2019, 90 million LinkedIn users were senior-level influencers, and 63 million were in decision-making positions (LinkedIn)
- 46 million student and 87 million Millennial LinkedIn users (11 million of whom are decision makers) in 2016 (LinkedIn)
- Median number of connections between 500 and 999 (Statista)
- 14 million jobs listed on LinkedIn, as of October 2020 (LinkedIn)
- 3 million US jobs posted on LinkedIn every month (LinkedIn)
- 50,000 US remote jobs listed on LinkedIn in (LinkedIn)
- 100 million job applications made on LinkedIn each month (LinkedIn)
- 3 people hired per minute on LinkedIn (LinkedIn)
- As of 2017, 122 million users were invited to an interview through LinkedIn, with 35.5 million getting a job through someone with whom they are connected (MediaKix)
- 57% of LinkedIn traffic comes from mobile devices, as of 2016 (VentureBeat)
- 9 billion content impressions took place on LinkedIn weekly in 2017 (LinkedIn)
- 280 billion feed updates viewed annually (LinkedIn)
- 437% year-on-year increase in LinkedIn Live streams views reported in October 2020 (LinkedIn)
- 1 million hours of LinkedIn Learning content watched per week (LinkedIn)
- Only 1% of users post content weekly as of 2017, though 91% of marketing executives use LinkedIn as a content source (LinkedIn)
- 130,000 articles are published on LinkedIn weekly (LinkedIn via Search Engine Journal)
- 80% of B2B leads come through LinkedIn (LinkedIn)
- LinkedIn purchased by Microsoft in 2016, deal finalised in December 2016 for $26.2 billion (Microsoft)
- 51% of Microsoft Productivity and Business Processes revenue was generated in the US in Q1 2021 (Microsoft)
- LinkedIn revenue for Q1 2021 came to $1.86 billion (Microsoft)
LinkedIn User Statistics
LinkedIn reports over 772 million users spread over 200 countries, Q1 2021 (by Microsoft FY numbering, Q3 2020 to the rest of us). They are joined by 50 million companies.
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. Using SimilarWeb data, We Are Social and Hootsuite in October 2019 estimate LinkedIn MAUs at 310 million (47% of members). This is relatively consistent with Boston-based Apptopia’s 2017 estimate of an active LinkedIn user base of around 250 million in 2017, representing 50% of its 500 million members at the time.
This is actually relatively generous – other estimates are as low as only 25% of the total LinkedIn membership (2018). If we take the 310 million figure as our benchmark, LinkedIn is the 15th biggest social network in the world in terms of MAU.
Other sources claim that 40% of LinkedIn users use the site daily – though we were unable to find the initial source of this stat.
The chart below maps LinkedIn user growth from 2009 to 2019.
We can see that over this 10 year period growth in the LinkedIn membership base has been nothing less than consistent, with quarterly increases tending to remain in the 15-20 million zone pretty much every time. No falling in or out of fashion here – most likely just new cohorts of would-be employees signing up every year.
Data in the year or so after the Microsoft acquisition of 2016 is a bit patchy, but we can see the growth has been along a relatively smooth line, with no great blips or jumps of any note.
LinkedIn user growth, 2009 – 2020, millions
We Are Social and Hootsuite estimate that 12% adults can be reached using LinkedIn advertising.
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, 90 million LinkedIn users are senior-level influencers with four out of five decision makers of all stripes on the platform (these figures should be read against the total of 630 million LinkedIn members reported in April 2019). A further 63 million are in decision-making positions. We also see 17 million opinion leaders, and 10 million c-level executives, among others (these stats are from the first half of 2019, so these figures have most likely risen).
We might note those 40 million ‘mass affluent’ users also (that’s the higher end of the mass market). LinkedIn notes that it users have double the buying power of the average web audience.
LinkedIn members in senior positions
All levels of professional are included, however: there were 46 million students and recent graduates among the LinkedIn user base, as of September 2018.
Going back a few years, LinkedIn reported 87 million Millennials on LinkedIn, 11 million of whom were in decision-making positions. No doubt both have increased since these figures were published in 2016. Indeed, LinkedIn’s official addressable advertising audience stats (see age/gender stats below) show that 25-34 year old are by far the biggest demographic by this measure.
An undated stat from LinkedIn claims 12 million contractors use the platform.
If you’re interested in learning a little about certain demographics, LinkedIn Marketing Solutions minisite features stats on certain demographics (though they seem little outdated, listing 5 million c-level execs, against the 10 million listed above). Here you can find out tidbits such as: Mashable is the second-most followed company by those in the c-suite, or the top influencer for IT decision maker is Michael Dell, or that the top skill possessed by small business owners is business strategy.
174 million LinkedIn users are based in the US. With 71 million LinkedIn users, India is the second-biggest market, followed by China at 52 million.
The UK is the biggest market in Europe, with 29 million users, while Brazil’s 46 million LinkedIn users puts it comfortable in the lead in Latin America. South Africa is the most sizeable LinkedIn market in Africa, with 8 million. Australia logs 10 million LinkedIn users.
LinkedIn users by country
Breaking it down by region, the Asia Pacific region accounts for the highest proportion of LinkedIn users, with 27% (196 million in total). This puts it a whisker behind the US & Canada, with 191 million users making up 26% of the total, and Europe with 163 million or 23%.
The remaining 24% is split between Latin America’s 107 million LinkedIn Users, and the Middle East & Africa’s 63 million.
LinkedIn users by region
Data source: LinkedIn
According to Alexa, 38.5% of LinkedIn traffic comes in from the US (August-October 2020). India is second, providing 18.1%.
Looking at desktop usage only, SimilarWeb LinkedIn stats show 32.16% of traffic came from the US in September 2020. The UK was in second with 7.44%, followed by India with 4.86%.
Google Trends shows that global search interest in LinkedIn has been steadily declining since its October 2015 peak after nearly 10 years of strong increases. October 2020 levels are at around three quarters of this peak level.
The highest levels of search interest can be found in small nations with big economies, where, no doubt, connections count: fossil fuel-driven UAE, finance-centre Singapore, and tech-hub Ireland.
The UK comes in fourth and the Netherlands is some way behind in fifth. You’ll note that this list has a lot in common with the most-connected stats below, in the LinkedIn connections section.
As of October 2020 the LinkedIn user base skewed slightly male, with men accounting for 57.5% of the users.
Looking at the advertising audience profile (based on official LinkedIn figures pertaining to ‘addressable audience’), we see that 25-34 year olds are far and away the predominant demographic, accounting for 59.9%. 18-24 year olds follow, on 20.3%, with 35-54 year olds accounting for a relatively small 16.0%.
Addressable audience measures, of course, don’t give us the whole story. This does, however, give us a clue into who can be reached through the platform, which indicates who exactly is using it.
Which seems to be young professionals looking to make connections and draw attention to themselves.
Female users are a minority in each age grouping.
LinkedIn users by age and gender, October 2020
Data source: Hootsuite/We Are Social
US LinkedIn demographics and market penetration
It’s no Facebook, but with 27% of US adults signed up to it in 2019, LinkedIn outstrips Snapchat (24%), Twitter (22%) and WhatsApp (20%) in terms of market penetration – as is not far off Pinterest (28%). This figure represents a slight increase on the 25% reported in 2018, and a more significant one over the 16% reported in 2012.
Percentage of US adults using LinkedIn, 2012 – 2019
Data source: Pew Research Center
As we might expect, the preponderance of LinkedIn usage increases with level of education and with income. Only Facebook (74%) and YouTube (80%) can claim greater penetration with those with a college degree – over half of whom are on LinkedIn. We see the same pattern in the $75,000+ earnings bracket, 49% of whom are LinkedIn users.
29% of men use LinkedIn, compared with 24% of women – more or less in line with global trends.
LinkedIn reports one of the lowest levels of urban usage (only Reddit registers a lower percentage, though it is level with WhatsApp) – perhaps unsurprisingly, given most rural professional networking yet to really move online.
In terms of age groups, the 30-49 bracket are the biggest users of LinkedIn, with 37% signed up during this pivotal time in their careers. We might note, however, breaking down the 18-29 bracket reveals that 44% of 25-29 year old Americans can be found on LinkedIn – more in line with global trends.
Finally we might note that LinkedIn usage is more prevalent among white and black users than it is with Hispanic. As ever, this is the only racial/ethnic data available – no other groupings are included.
Percentage of US adults who use LinkedIn, by demographic
Data source: Pew Research Center
In the US, the financial and knowledge economies of the northeast are where you’ll find the greatest Google search interest in LinkedIn. Massachusetts is the US state which searches LinkedIn the most, followed by New York and the District of Columbia.
LinkedIn Usage Statistics
LinkedIn sessions reportedly increased 31% year-on-year in Q1 2021, according to parent company Microsoft (Microsoft fiscal quarters run a half year ahead, in real terms this is Q3 2020).
This is a relatively high figure compared to previous quarters. Indeed, the events of 2020 seem to have accelerated LinkedIn usage after a relative slump in 2019.
The largest increase in LinkedIn sessions was logged in Q4 2018 (Q2 2018 in real terms), when we saw a huge 41% year-on-year increase in LinkedIn sessions.
Engagement, Microsoft adds, is at record levels, without getting any more specific. This same factoid has been reported in every quarterly report for at least two years.
Increases in LinkedIn sessions, year-on-year, Q4 2017 – Q1 2021
Data source: Microsoft
In September 2020, SimilarWeb reported LinkedIn traffic of 1,117 million. This marked five months of consistent traffic growth since April. This makes LinkedIn the 24th most visited site globally (22nd in the US).
April’s figure of 967 million is a little under the figure of 975 million reported in October 2019. This latter figure marked a six month high.
These figures are desktop and mobile.
LinkedIn traffic, April – September 2020
Data source: SimilarWeb
According to Alexa, LinkedIn users spend an average of 08:52 minutes on the site each day, looking at an average of 10.5 pages (August-October 2020). Alexa gives LinkedIn a rank of 57th globally for engagement. In the US (29th), India (26th), and Canada (36th) it ranks higher.
SimilarWeb give us an average session length of 7:29 minutes, during which 6.7 pages are visited (September 2020).
Various sources report average monthly LinkedIn usage of 17 minutes. This stat, however, does not have a source or a date, so we present it as is.
As we mention above, Alexa reports 38.5% of LinkedIn traffic as coming from the US, compared to 32.16% reported by SimilarWeb.
The latter is desktop only, which may explain the relatively low 5.57% of LinkedIn traffic reported from India. This compares to the 18.1% reported by Alexa. We are also given a figure of 3.7% for Canada.
SimilarWeb’s desktop stats give us a five (it’s unclear whether it is a top-five per se) completed by the UK (7.4%), France (4.9%), and Canada again (4.4%).
The vast majority of LinkedIn traffic (71.6%) is direct – people specifically deciding to log into LinkedIn to see what might be going on (and if there might be a better job out there for them…).
Search, at a little under a quarter (22.5%), also accounts for a good chunk of LinkedIn traffic. Presumably this is most driven by searches related to specific individuals or for specific skill sets. LinkedIn, after all, is arguably the greatest-ever repository of CVs/resumes in history.
99.65% of LinkedIn search traffic comes from organic search.
These stats refer to desktop usage only.
LinkedIn traffic sources, percentage of total
Data source: SimilarWeb
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. This figure remains published on LinkedIn’s marketing solution page.
According to Sprout Social, the best time to post to get engagement is Wednesday morning, between 9-11 CST (Sprout Social is based in Chicago). So that would be late morning in New York, over breakfast in California, early to mid afternoon in Western Europe, late evening in India, and past bedtime in Japan.
Bearing in mind all the various time zones in play, we see another spike Monday early afternoon, and Friday at 8am. Unsurprisingly, few people want to use LinkedIn on the weekend – particularly on Sunday…
LinkedIn engagement by day/time
In April 2017, it was suggested on the official LinkedIn blog that the each new connection could introduce you to 400 new people. Whether this counts as the average number of LinkedIn connections or takes into account second-degree connections etc. into account is not clear. It is commonly cited as the average figure, however.
Statista report that the median number of LinkedIn connections per user was somewhere in the 500-999 bracket in Q1 2016. Over a quarter of users had 300 connections or fewer at this point, 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
Various sources report that the average CEO has 930 connections on average (as early as 2015), though it’s one of those stats for taken as gospel by virtue of repetition, while the original source has faded somewhat into the mists of time…
When LinkedIn reached 500 million followers, it released a small set of stats looking at the most-connected countries, cities, industries, and job functions – using average connections per member in each category as its measure.
The UAE – the country with the highest search interest in LinkedIn – tops the country list, with an average of 211 connections per person. The Netherlands, Singapore, and the UK also all feature in the top-five countries by average number of connections as well being among the countries with the highest level of LinkedIn search interest. Denmark rounds out the list, confirming it is those small, economically-advanced countries where people are really keen to forge those connections.
Most-connected LinkedIn countries
The most connected city in the world is London, with 307 connections on average (we might even assume it is London that puts the UK in the top-five countries, so we might even think of that as a small country). London, of course, is a global business hub, and certainly a place in which networking forms a key part of business life. Amsterdam is in second – reflecting the Netherlands’ keen usage of the app. The tech-orientated San Francisco Bay Area comes in third in terms of average LinkedIn connections.
Most-connected LinkedIn cities
In terms of industries, it would perhaps be something of a letdown if those working in staffing & recruitment were not top of the list in terms of average LinkedIn connections. They lead with a whopping average of 702 LinkedIn connections.
Their in-house counterparts in human resources come in third place, with an average of 380 connections, with venture capital & equity (another demographic for which connections are key) sandwiched in-between with 423 LinkedIn connections on average.
Most-connected LinkedIn industries
The industry list is echoed in that of the most connected job roles on LinkedIn, with those working human resources topping the list, with 415 average connections. Those working in product management come in second (324), with business development coming in third (283).
Most-connected LinkedIn job roles
LinkedIn and jobseekers
LinkedIn’s raison d’être is to connect employers with talent.
LinkedIn reports that 40 million users search for jobs on the platform each week (we found this figure in October 2020, it may be older). They are active too. 100 million job applications are reportedly submitted through LinkedIn every month, as of February 2019. And many are successful: 3 people are hired per minute on the platform (October 2020 again).
Back Microsoft’s Q1 2020 (actually Q3 2019) earnings statement, it is reported that LinkedIn job postings were at ‘record levels’. The official figure reported in LinkedIn’s ‘about us’ (hence updated sporadically) stood at 20 million in 2019. In late 2017, LinkedIn reported the total global figure stood at 11 million. The compromised year that is 2020 saw this figure reduced to 14 million. We might note a sign of the times in the reported 50,000 remote jobs listed in the US.
A 2017 study found 122 million LinkedIn users had 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. As of late 2019, those invited to interview can also call on special LinkedIn tools designed to help them prepare for typical questions.
Some of the roles on offer are prestigious, with LinkedIn reporting that in 2018, 95% of Fortune 500 companies used LinkedIn Talent Solutions.
In the US, LinkedIn report 3 million jobs are posted every month, with 20,000 companies using the site to post listings. According to Jobvite’s 2018 Recruiter Nation, 77% of recruiters in the US use the platform. We might note, however, that this represents a decrease on 2017’s figure of 92%.
LinkedIn measures US hiring rates by measuring the proportion of members who add a new employer, divided by the total membership base. Figures are indexed to an average month in 2016/17 (=1).
Naturally, we can see a considerable trough in hiring during the months of the lockdown. The biggest year-on-year decrease was logged in June, with hiring levels 40% lower than June 2019. Compared to the index line, this gave us a hiring rate of around 0.6.
Things began to pick up after this point, with October’s -5.8% defying LinkedIn’s previous analysis of a COVID ceiling to the recovery seen between July and September. Hiring in October 2020 very nearly matches the index month.
These results are adjusted for seasonality, to account for a peak in hiring in May-September, and a smaller peak in January.
LinkedIn hiring rates, November 2019 – October 2020 versus previous year
Just for reference, below we include data from the ‘normal’ year of 2019.
Here, we can see that both 2018 and 2019 saw slightly more hiring action than we did in benchmark 2015/16, though both roughly adhere to the average pattern. September 2019 is perhaps the most exciting here, with hiring levels of 13% over the average rate.
LinkedIn US hiring rates, November 2018 – Oct 2019
Hiring companies stand to benefit from the wealth of talent on LinkedIn. In 2017, LinkedIn reported that 90% of users were open to new opportunities. Accordingly, 20 million job views take place every week. It’s not just the most well-known names either; 87% of LinkedIn users would be open to joining a small company.
Finding likely candidates is made easier by the list of 35,000 or 50,000, depending on where you look, different skills which prospective employees can select and be endorsed for (you only need five to stand out, earning 17 times more views). Those looking for graduates will be able to find those trained at 90,000 global universities.
A study by Grammarly found that LinkedIn profile completion levels vary between those at different employment levels. Directors being the most likely to fill out their profile summaries, while managers are the most likely to fill out their work experience (using an average of 198 words for each position).
We might assume that management is the level at which LinkedIn users might want to highlight their experience and successes, while directors would be most keen to summarise their overarching vision. Interestingly, directors made more spelling errors than entry-level workers in their summaries, by a ratio of 6:2 – something which Grammarly says is a mystery, though perhaps some of us might have our theories. The average length of summaries was 70-100 words – climbing up as we go through levels.
LinkedIn report that profiles with complete information get 30% more views.
Profile completion by job level
The four most commonly occurring profile words were: ‘leader’, ‘strategic’, ‘solution’, and ‘innovative’. Unsurprisingly, usage of these words increases as we climb through job levels.
Certain other words occurred at specific levels: ‘proactive’ at entry level, ‘dynamic’ for managers, and ‘ROI’ for directors.
Profile words by job level
Entry-level workers are the least likely to have given or have been given recommendations on LinkedIn. We might assume that, looking at this pattern, that this may simply correlate with the length of one’s career and one’s commitment to using tools like LinkedIn (with the latter increasing as a consequence of the former).
Recommendations given and received by job level
A study by ResumeGo using fabricated profiles and CVs (based on real people) found that job seekers were more likely to get a call back if they had a detailed LinkedIn profile. Interestingly, however, a bare bones profile seems to have a slightly negative effect compared to no profile at all, particularly for mid-level jobs. The lesson is clear – create a detailed profile or don’t bother.
This effect is most pronounced among entry-level workers, who were twice as likely to get a call back if their job application contained a link to a detailed LinkedIn profile. Even managerial job applications benefit, however, with a 45% improvement in call back levels (58% versus a bare bones profile).
Job vacancy call back level by level of LinkedIn profile completion and seniority
Data source: ResumeGo
Android Police note that the LinkedIn app has been downloaded 100 million times from the Google Play store, as of April 2018. The piece also notes that the app comes pre-installed on certain Android phones, making gleaning any deeper insights a little challenging.
In 2016, LinkedIn reported that 57% of its traffic came from mobile devices. No more recent figures have been made available. This figure is some way beneath the average levels of mobile usage. Perhaps it will have crept upwards, although we might anticipate that desktop usage for a site like LinkedIn might be a little higher than the average, given the nature of the site.
LinkedIn reports that 280 billion feed updates are viewed annually the platform. And don’t forget those 9 billion weekly content impressions. There is a rich market for LinkedIn content, therefore.
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 weekly in all. The total number of posts, articles, and articles taken together comes to 2 million per day.
Not publishing could well be a missed opportunity: 55% of decision makers use thought leadership content to vet with which organisations they work. What is published seems to be taken very seriously – with 20% of investors saying that LinkedIn is the best place to learn more about something.
Video is the most shared type of content on LinkedIn, over 20 times more than other forms of content.
Pandemic conditions may have contributed to an increase of the use of LinkedIn as a audio-visual platform. In October 2020, LinkedIn reported a 437% year-on-year increase in livestreams. 1 million hours of LinkedIn Learning are also reportedly watched per week – a reflection Microsoft’s leveraging of LinkedIn in its efforts to get in on the re/upskilling revolution prompted by coronavirus.
LinkedIn owns slideshow platform Slideshare (acquired in 2012), which is used by 80 million people per month, and hosts 18 million pieces of content (as of 2015 – more recent data is in short supply).
Slideshare itself is one the world’s top-200 websites, ranked 176 in terms of engagement. In India, it makes the top 100, at 64. India is leading source of Slideshare traffic, at 16.2%, with the US in second at 8.2%, and – interestingly – Mexico in third at 7.1%.
In December 2019, Canadian PM Justin Trudeau topped LinkedIn’s annual list of top influencers (despite being involved in a blackface scandal a few months prior), followed by ECB president Christine Lagarde, and the ever present Richard Branson.
Jacinda Arden and Emmanuel Macron also feature in a top-10 that only includes four traditional business heads.
On diversity: half of top 10 are women, though only two of the featured names are not white.
As well as top influencers on the platform, LinkedIn publishes lists of top voices in data science & analytics, economy & finance, education, healthcare, management & workplace, marketing & social media, philanthropy & global development, retail, sales, startups & entrepreneurship, and technology – as well as a series of country and region-specific lists.
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 one of the most popular social media channels with Fortune 500 companies. According to research from UMass Dartmouth, however, it was no longer the most-popular channel in this demographic over 2018 (for the first time since 2010). Indeed, it suffered a considerable drop off in reported usage among Fortune 500 companies standing at 78%, compared to 92% a year earlier.
Facebook has now overtaken it, though its lead is slender. We might note that all four social networks analysed here suffered a drop off in Fortune 500 usage in 2018. ROI (48%) was the leading concern of these companies relating to social media.
Social media usage by Fortune 500 companies
Source: UMass Dartmouth
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 52% of B2B buyers use the social network to share content.
Reportedly, 80% of B2B leads come through LinkedIn, with 95% of North American B2B marketers using LinkedIn as a organic channel through which they can distribute content, and 76% as a paid channel. In both measures, it is the number one choice, ahead of Twitter (86%) in the former, and Facebook in the latter (66%).
eMarketer reported in early 2019 that LinkedIn accounted for roughly a fifth of US B2B marketing spend, predicting that total B2B LinkedIn spend for the year would come to $1.25 billion. This compares to total B2B market value of $6.1 billion. Mobile and desktop account for equal shares of the total.
A November 2018 survey by Digiday found that 42% of media buyers were expecting to increase LinkedIn spend over the course of 2019, with a further 47% keeping levels steady.
Media buyers’ LinkedIn spending intentions, 2019
LinkedIn B2B advertisers can measure the performance of their ads simply, using Google Campaign Manager.
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. In short: 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
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
Issue 6 of Sophisticated Marketer includes some data on how marketers can achieve better results using video marketing on LinkedIn.
When it comes to driving brand awareness, brand stories are the most effective LinkedIn video format, accounting for 37% of top performing videos. When it comes to engagement and conversions, however, product descriptions are more effective (43% of the most-engaging videos and 36% of the top videos by CTR). Thought leadership is the second-best performer in each category.
In terms of length, a little longer is better. Top LinkedIn videos for VTR are 30 seconds and up; and top videos for LinkedIn engagement are even longer: 50 seconds and up. In terms of CTR, videos of over a minute perform well – though videos of under 10 seconds are equally effective. Naturally, the length depends on format. LinkedIn case studies perform well at 30 seconds, whereas though leadership works better at 80 seconds.
While only 12% or fewer top performing videos in each category are animated, 33% of top-performing videos in terms of VTR feature some form of motion graphic. Mixing together graphics and camera footage can be generally be effective, but standard branded intros compromise effectiveness.
Natural backdrops and animals, unsurprisingly feature in few LinkedIn videos, but when they do they tend perform well. Generally, a strong sense of location can give a video a boost. Close-ups of recognisable characters in a story are prevalent in 42% of top-performing videos for awareness, 34% of top videos for engagement, and 25% for CTR.
How do B2B buyers use the platform
Aside from the video stats listed above, Sophisticated Marketer reports a raft of statistics related to how those using LinkedIn as a B2B buying platform utilise the platform.
How do B2B buyers use LinkedIn?
Data source: LinkedIn
LinkedIn influencers in India
If we were to say ‘influencer’ to you, you’d probably think of heavily stylised pictures of beautiful people in exotic locations. 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
LinkedIn Microsoft Office integration
Microsoft is gradually taking steps towards integrating Word with its ubiquitous Office suite of programs, as first announced in 2018.
Thus far, we have seen LinkedIn profiles synced up with Outlook address books, allowing users of the latter to quickly gain access to information from the former. Outlook users will also be able to send emails and share documents to their LinkedIn contacts.
In July 2019, it was announced that LinkedIn would be moving to Microsoft’s Azure public cloud, three years after the Microsoft acquisition. It is thought the delay in moving to Azure was due to questions around its reliability. Up until this point LinkedIn maintained its own servers.
LinkedIn was purchased by Microsoft in December 2016 for $26.2 billion (the total is listed as $27 billion today by Microsoft).
It seems to have been a good purchase for them, with LinkedIn revenue consistently cited as an engine room of Microsoft revenue growth.
LinkedIn revenue is consolidated with Microsoft’s overall revenue. Microsoft do not always release full stats for LinkedIn revenue in its quarterly reports. Instead, we tend to get year-on-year increases.
In Microsoft’s Q1 2021 (aka Q3 2020), Microsoft reported 16% growth in LinkedIn revenue – also giving us a figure of $297 million. From this, we can calculate LinkedIn revenue of $1.86 billion for this quarter.
The 16% figure represents a significant improvement on a presumably pandemic-influenced drop to 10% in Q4 2020 (Q2 2020). In truth, however, this recovery masks and returns us to a trend of steadily slowing growth since the highs seen in 2018.
The last hard LinkedIn quarterly revenue figure we were given was back in Q2 2018 (Q4 2017), in which a figure of $1.8 billion was reported.
LinkedIn revenue by quarter, year-on-year increases, Q3 2018 – Q1 2021
LinkedIn annual revenue is a little easier to calculate, using previously reported figures and reported increase levels. This gives us a 2020 figure of $8.1 billion (a 20% increase), and a 2019 figure of $6.8 billion (28%) for LinkedIn revenue.
In the 2018 fiscal year, we were given a hard LinkedIn revenue figure of $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 their fiscal year). The revenue is chiefly driven by Talent Solutions – the tool to help employers find talent.
A full-year on full-year leap from $5.3 billion to $6.8 billion, took place between 2018 and 2019 (based on the 28% increase reported by Microsoft in its 2019 statement).
LinkedIn annual revenue 2017 – 2020, USD billions
LinkedIn is included in Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes section, along with Office Commercial and Consumer.
In Q1 2021, this section generated $12.32 billion in revenue, with operating income of $5.71 billion. this represents a return to growth in both metrics following a slowdown and decline during the coronavirus coloured Q3 and Q4 2020 (Q1 and Q2 2020 to you and me).
51% of this revenue was generated in the US.
Microsoft Productivity and Business Processes revenue and operating income by quarter, Q1 2017 – Q1 2021. USD billions
Microsoft credit LinkedIn as being one of the key drivers of the 14%, or $15.5 billion, increase in revenue reported between 2018 and 2019. Total 2019 Microsoft revenue came to a total of $126 billion.
One year on, total Microsoft revenue stood at $143 billion – a 13% or $17 billion increase. LinkedIn was again cited as a driver of growth in the annual report.
Microsoft annual revenue
From this revenue, Microsoft generated $44 billion in net revenue. This represents solid growth rather than the spectacular 100%+ figure logged in 2019.
Nonetheless, Microsoft’s market cap stood at nearly $1.6 trillion in October 2020 based on a share price of $206 – double the levels seen in 2018. If this were GDP, Microsoft would be among the 10 richest countries in the world, according to IMF figures.
Microsoft annual net revenue
In terms of costs related to LinkedIn, Microsoft reported a 14% increase in R&D expenses in 2020 (equal to $2.4 billion) partially driven by investments in LinkedIn. This compares to a 15% ($2.2 billion) increase reported a year prior.
Investment in LinkedIn was also linked to a $1.4 billion (8%) increase in sales & marketing expenses. The 2019 figure was 4% or $744
In 2018, LinkedIn’s operating loss increased to $987 million, $63 million up on 2017. This was largely the result of amortisation of intangible assets – to the tune of $1.5 billion. We can perhaps assume that these assets will be drivers of longer-term profitability.
Cost of LinkedIn revenue increased the same year, by $818 million to a total of $1.7 million, due to $888 million of amortisation on acquired intangible assets. LinkedIn operating expenses increased from $2.2 billion to $4.5 billion, with amortisation accounting for $617 million. The same figure is cited in reference to an increase in LinkedIn expenses, from $1.2 billion to $2.5 billion.
We don’t get any more recent specific LinkedIn figures beyond that, but we do know that amortisation expense for the company as a whole came to $1.6 billion in FY 2020. This compares to $2.2 billion in 2018 and $1.9 billion in 2019..
At least one commentator previously speculated that this amortisation would spell the end for LinkedIn. On the other hand, others note that Microsoft’s goliath status mean that it does not have to sweat the details too much.
Indeed, as we see above, revenue from other elements of Microsoft’s Productivity and Business Processes section offsets any operating losses incurred by 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 reached a valuation of $1 billion in June 2008, and of $2 billion two years later. According to Crunchbase, LinkedIn raised $155 million in funding before going public.
LinkedIn’s IPO took place in May 2011, with shares priced at $45, rising to $83 after the first day of trading, on the New York Stock Exchange, giving a market cap of $8.8 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
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.
The challenge, however, will come in reaching profitability. While LinkedIn brings in revenue, it also haemorrhages money. Of course, Microsoft have been around long enough, experiencing highs and lows. While acknowledging it is not infallible, we might also give Satya Nadella and his company at least some benefit of the doubt.
Indeed, Microsoft joined Amazon and Apple in the $1 trillion club in 2019. It has weathered the difficulties of 2020 remarkably well, with its tools well suited to new cloud-based working practices.
With hiring slowing, LinkedIn has not weathered the storm as well – cutting 1,000 jobs in July 2020. As we recover from the pandemic and jobs begin to recover, however, we might expect the world’s leading employment platform to regain its foothold sooner rather than later.