Here’s Why You Don’t Like The New LinkedIn User Interface

It wasn’t built for you, that’s why.

Virtually everyone who has been complaining about the new LinkedIn User Interface is missing the point. The new interface is not for me, it’s not for you, and for that matter, it’s not for anyone who will read this article.

The new User Interface is there for the occasional user. And when I say “occasional,” I mean the person who checks their Linkedin account every few months, or even less often than that.

LinkedIn wants more engagement, more people to show up. A nice clean interface, easy to use, without too many confusing bells and whistles, where a user can go “Ooo, now this looks easier to use.”

We interrupt this article to include some arcane math that illustrates the LinkedIn dilemma:

When LinkedIn reported their results for the quarter ending Sept 30, 2016, they reported 467M users, of whom 106M logged in at least once a month.  That translates to 77.3% of all LinkedIn users logging in less than once a month.

That number is “officially” out of date as LinkedIn no longer reports results, so I use 75% and still feel it is valid for the simple reason that if the number of users logging in more often than once a month was improving, I don’t think LinkedIn would keep it a secret.

So we have the occasional users, less than once a month, and the regular users, once a month or more often.  Now let me introduce LinkedIn power users.

I have read in numerous places that 40 million LinkedIn users use it every day. I have searched all over but can find no provenance for this statistic. That being said, this number “feels” right. I did some work eight or nine months ago to come up with a guesstimate of daily users and based on comparisons of Facebook and Twitter’s monthly user to daily user ratios, I came up with a figure for LinkedIn of “somewhere south of 50M”, so I am comfortable with the 40M figure. Note that the 40M number represents around 8% of LinkedIn users. One in twelve.

Finally, let’s talk Premium Subscriptions. In the last quarter of reported results LinkedIn reported $162M in paid subscriptions. This number would be based on Business Plus and Sales Navigator (Recruiter and Lynda are both part of the Talent Solutions Group and their sales are not included in the $162M number). Let’s be charitable and say that a subscription to one of Business Premium or Sales navigator subs costs, oh, $162 a quarter. Therefore, around one million LinkedIn users have premium subs.

All this math comes down to this fundamental statement: LinkedIn sees upside in getting the 360M occasional users to show up more often, and LinkedIn thinks that upside will be much greater than any possible downside in pissing off the 1M who have premium subscriptions and the 39M “free LinkedIn” power users.

In the end, many LinkedIn power users don’t like the new interface, but the new interface wasn’t designed with power users in mind. It was designed for people who may not even, at this point, know there is a new interface, but will find out in a few months when they next check in.

So here’s my question for you today: Does LinkedIn risk losing the faithful? While many people are to – put it mildly – unhappy, how many will follow through on their threat to leave? If you are in sales, recruiting, consulting or a similar profession, who else has the huge searchable database you absolutely have to have?