What Does It Mean When Someone “Views” Your Article Or Post On LinkedIn? (updated for 2018)

Back in early 2016, I wrote an article trying to define what a “view” actually was on LinkedIn. In a twist of LinkedIn irony, it became the most viewed content I have written and published on LinkedIn, and still receives hundreds of views every week. And while the core of that article remains valid, LinkedIn has made a lot of changes since then, so this is an update to that original article.

So What does it mean when someone “views” your post on LinkedIn?

Well that depends, because a “post” is not simply a post anymore on LinkedIn. LinkedIn has separated published content into “articles” and “posts” and views appear are counted differently for each one.

Article or Post? A critical distinction

From the top of your Homepage, when you click on “Write an article” you are taken to LinkedIn Publisher. This is intended for long form content. These articles stay associated with your profile in “Your activity” page under “Articles”.

But at the top of your Homepage when you “Share an article, photo or update”, you are creating a post. For posts that you write from scratch, you are allowed limited verbiage (1300 characters), and the post gets dumped into our homepage feeds. These stay associated with your profile in the “Your activity” page under “Posts”.

LinkedIn can be inconsistent with the terminology, and it can sometimes be confusing, but if you went into the LinkedIn blog-style Publisher and published something it is an article. Everything else is a post. Shared someone else’s post or article? That becomes your post. Shared a photo? That’s your post. “Shared an update” ? That’s your post too.  

How are views different for Posts and Articles?

I wrote an article a few weeks ago. A couple of friends shared it (note again that under the post/article definitions that at this point my article served as the basis for their posts). One told me he had gotten 400 views on his post (sharing my article) and the other had gotten 2,000 (sharing the same article). Meanwhile, my original article had received 200 views at that point. It was obvious that post and article views were being counted differently. But how was this happening and what does it mean?

So what is an Article view?

You need to click on and open an article to have it counted as a view. I think LinkedIn counts article views by recognizing the URL for your article is open on a reader’s device.

Note that a view is not the same thing as a “read”. Someone could open your article, read the first line and lose interest, or get interrupted at the office, or decide the article wasn’t for them, or stop reading for any number of reasons.

The good news? All your article views are “legitimate.” Someone had to take a specific action to open your article.

And what is a Post view?

On January 31 2017, this explanation appeared in the help section on LinkedIn:

When you share an update, a “view” is counted when the update is loaded on the viewer’s screen. Viewers do not necessarily need to click or read the update to count as a view, but rather have the update loaded on their Homepage.

(Note that this is an instance of LinkedIn referring to a “post” as an “update”.  Arghh.)

This also would imply that if you open your homepage and hit “page down” a few times, you have just “viewed” twenty or thirty posts. This would go a long way to explaining how posts seem to get so many more views than articles.

But…basing post views purely on appearances in the homepage feed would seem to favor people with huge LinkedIn networks. If you have five hundred connections and I have five thousand, and our posts get loaded on our connections screens, my posts are always going to get more “views” than yours. This is clearly not the case, so there must be other factors at play – enter the LinkedIn algorithms. LinkedIn sends your post out to small subgroup of your connections and if the post gets enough love – likes, comments and shares – then LinkedIn will distribute it further.

I think the best way of thinking of article views versus post views is:

An article view seems to suggest intent (the person had to click to read your article), while a post view seems to suggest opportunity (someone could have seen your post).

So what do views really mean?

Lots of views are an ego boost. But note that in 2017 LinkedIn stopped showing us how many views someone else’s post or article has received, so LinkedIn obviously doesn’t want us focusing on views as an end in itself.

Let’s say you publish two articles (or posts):

The first one gets 500 hundred views and 30 comments.

The second one gets 1000 views and 5 comments.

Which was the more successful? I would say the first one. More people found that one compelling enough to comment on.

I think it is instructive that LinkedIn notifies us when people engage with our content. And I can see which individual people liked, commented on and shared my content.

We don’t get notifications saying things like, “Hey, your post got another 85 views”. And being told I got four thousand views when I can’t tell who any of those viewers are doesn’t help me engage with those viewers.

Views are nice, but engagement with your posts or articles can lead to conversations that can lead to connections that can lead to networking and other business opportunities.  

 

A Reminder To See LinkedIn As It Is, Not Like You Wish It Was

Never forget that LinkedIn is first and foremost a database. A database of somewhere around 550 million people.

I call it a database because the majority of LinkedIn users rarely use it. The last public results from LinkedIn said 22% of users logged on at least once a month. That was eighteen months ago, and I have seen nothing in the intervening time that persuades me that that percentage has gotten much bigger.

If the 22% figure still holds, that is around 115 million people accessing LinkedIn at least once a month. How many people are showing up two or more times a week? Half that? 60 million?

I have seen wild claims that there is a much higher active component on LinkedIn, including one claim (in January) that LinkedIn now had 500 million daily users. If “daily user” means “did not close their account today”, then I suppose that’s true, but otherwise, no.

I don’t believe these claims of increased usage for two reasons. The first is, they don’t pass the smell test. In order for me to believe that LinkedIn now has, say, 120 million daily users, the first thing I need to ask myself is, “what has changed in eighteen months that makes LinkedIn at least twice as attractive for users?” Answer: not much. Lots of good incremental feature and usability improvements, but twice as good? No way.

The second reason is if daily use had doubled – or tripled or quadrupled – I really think that LinkedIn and Microsoft would have mentioned it somewhere. Most companies don’t radically improve what is arguably one of the most important metrics they have and keep quiet about it.

The upshot here is that embedded within that big 500+ million person database is a tiny active social network. Well, sixty or so million people isn’t tiny, but compared to Twitter, or Facebook it is.

Where am I going with all this? Simple. LinkedIn is an unmatched resource for searching for people, and it’s an unmatched resource for doing research on companies, the people that work at those companies and their relationships. It is not as good for reaching out and contacting those people you find, because there is a big difference between “member” and “uses LinkedIn a couple of time a week or more.”

See LinkedIn as it is, not like you would like it to be, and you will use LinkedIn more effectively.

Where Your LinkedIn Profile Viewers Come From – You Might Be Surprised

Interesting insights can be found in the oddest places on LinkedIn

Who Viewed Your Profile remains one of the favorite features on LinkedIn. Yet did you ever stop to check out how these people came to view your profile in the first place? I did and was surprised at what I found.

I have a premium LinkedIn account, an old grandfathered (ie: relatively cheap) Sales Navigator subscription. I look at who viewed my profile every day. People who view your profile are potential connections. Potential customers. Potential suppliers. Potential partners. Potential employers. If there is someone interesting in there that I don’t know or haven’t contacted under another pretext, I will do so.

LinkedIn provides some statistics in my Who Viewed Your Profile screen. A slider across the top of the page shows companies that my viewers come from, and the most common titles they have, along with how they found you on LinkedIn.

From day to day these results don’t change much. If I had more viewers from Accenture than anywhere else between Nov 1 and Jan 29, sliding that 90 day window one day to Nov 2 to Jan 30 isn’t going to change that much. But the other day I noticed that that the last entry, the “how they found you” one had changed…and indeed changed almost every day. So I started tracking it to see what it said about people finding me.

LinkedIn says the “how they found me” feature is available on free LinkedIn as well.

Here’s a screen capture:

Over the course of a couple of weeks, a bunch of different ways people had found me showed up. LinkedIn informed me that my profile viewers were finding me via:

Homepage 47% (of all my profile viewers)

Messaging 5%

My network 3%

LinkedIn search 2%

People similar to you 1%

Company pages less than 1%

(These percentages add up to less than 60%, as LinkedIn admits that they can’t figure out where some people are coming from.)

So what do these statistics tell me? Two things.

Appearing in lots of LinkedIn Search Results doesn’t mean very much

In a recent 90 day period, only 16 people who looked at my profile came there via LinkedIn Search. That’s just over one a week.

But in the separate “Search Appearances” feature on my profile, LinkedIn tells me that I am appearing in hundreds of search results every week. Here is what LinkedIn told me for last week.

So I may be in the search results in hundreds of searches every week, but almost none of those searchers are actually coming to look at my profile.

So appearing in search results doesn’t lead to many profile views. What does?

Activity on LinkedIn leads to profile views. Lots of profile views

A lot of people see me on their homepage and then go look at my profile. In the screen cap at the beginning of this article 373 people found me coming from their homepage versus the 16 that found me via search.

My home page drives 23 times more people to my profile than LinkedIn search (47% of all profile views versus…2%).

Publishing, sharing, commenting, liking or getting mentioned results in profile views. Many many more profile views than people finding me via search.

When I looked at those people who had found me through their homepage, I found 70% of them were second and third degree connections. People I don’t know are finding me on LinkedIn because I am active on LinkedIn. They are not finding me through LinkedIn search, they are finding me because of my activity on LinkedIn.

I suggest you go check out your own “People found you via” statistics and see what they say about you.

6 Sales Navigator Features That Aren’t Ready For Prime Time (Yet)

Last week I wrote about the 9 Sales Navigator Features that I like, and that make Sales Navigator a worthy investment for me. This week, the features and quirks that I wish LinkedIn would either optimize or euthanize.

The Social Selling Index

The Social Selling Index measures the amount of different types of activity you engage in on LinkedIn. LinkedIn decides what’s important. My take is that just  because you can do twenty things on LinkedIn doesn’t mean that you should be doing all twenty and weighting them equally.

Saving people as leads

Being able to save people as leads in order to follow their posts and articles is a really good idea. With Sales Navigator you can save hundreds of people and companies as leads. But trying to use Sales Navigator to follow the activity of a large number of people is hopeless. You can only sort your Sales Nav homepage feed like you can on free LinkedIn – by “recent” activity or “most important” activity. Guess who decides what’s important? LinkedIn, not you.

Saving people as leads is a great idea. Call me when LinkedIn figures out the execution.

What gets shown in Search results

This is an odd one and maybe I am splitting hairs here, but when Sales Navigator shows you search results, for each person you see:

Name

Company

Current Position

Years in current position

Location.

Meanwhile, the same person shows up in a free LinkedIn search as:

Name

Company

Current position

Profile headline

Location.

The difference being Sales Navigator shows me how long the person has been in their current position, while free LinkedIn shows me their headline. Personally, I get more info from a headline than from time in current position.

Sales leads suggested for you

In the Sales Navigator account setup, you can specify your preferences for sales leads, that is people in certain industries, locations, company sizes and job functions. Sales Navigator will then “suggest” people as leads that meet these criteria. But I think this is way too broad. To be practical I think it needs keywords too. I have yet to have someone suggested that I would want to follow up with.

Separate message inboxes for Free LinkedIn and Sales Navigator

You have a message inbox in free LinkedIn and a message inbox in Sales Navigator. The integration of the two consists of a little red flag in your free LinkedIn message inbox which (very inconsistently) indicates if you still have messages waiting in Sales Nav. This leaves you with having two different inboxes where you can never remember which one had the conversation in it that you need to refer back to. What would you think if your company gave you two separate email inboxes, each of which would have some of your conversations for each person you traded emails with ?

This…is…infuriating.

Sales Navigator doesn’t show some activity

I have seen many instances where a profile in Sales Navigator will show no activity for someone, yet that same profile in free LinkedIn has posts and comments and likes associated with it. I pay for Sales Navigator, yet the activity information displayed on free LinkedIn is more complete. Why?

So that’s the downside. But I hold faith that LinkedIn will eventually fix those last five features. When Sales Navigator first came out, it looked like LinkedIn just took the human resources product, slapped a new coat of paint on it and called it Sales Navigator. A money grab.  Now my opinion is that while Sales Navigator is missing some opportunities and still doesn’t integrate as well with free LinkedIn as I would like, if you are a sales professional it can definitely pay for itself.

With all that I have said and written in these two articles, I trust I have given some of you considering Sales Navigator some ideas to think about. And for those of you that already use Sales Navigator, something to argue about (I can see the Social Selling Index crowd massing at the gates with torches and pitchforks already).

If you are considering Sales Navigator, just use this litmus test: if you can name the specific Sales Navigator feature or features that you feel will make a difference in your work performance, then giving it a try is worthwhile. Sign up for a month or two and try it. But if you are just kind of vaguely wondering if Sales Navigator would help you, you are not there yet. Save your money.

9 LinkedIn Sales Navigator Features That Provide Value For The Money

With a new year and many people asking about investing in Sales Navigator, I started thinking about how I use it myself. So here are the features that I think make LinkedIn Sales Navigator worth the money…in my case anyway

No Commercial Search Limit

Free LinkedIn users get a limited number of searches and then get shut down from using search for the rest of the month. For users that do a lot of searching and a lot of experimenting with search filters, the absence of a the CSL is a beautiful thing.

Dynamic updating every time you alter a filter in search mode

This is a really useful feature. Note in the search results below, I have over 2200 people in my results.

If I take those search results, I can see how my number of results change by adding more filters or adjusting those I have already. See how adding the Industry filter “Electrical/Electronic Manufacturing” changes my number of results.

Why is this important? Because I want a manageable number of results to work with. In this case, I might keep adding filters till I get down to a workable number of connections to review – at 25 results per page, 739 is too many to review, let alone 2200.

The subtle possibilities in using the Function, Title and Seniority filters together

If I am looking for senior salespeople, I have a lot of options at my disposal by combing the Function, Title and Seniority filters.

I could use Function equals Sales OR Business Development and then decide whether I want to search by seniority level or by specific Sales and Business Development titles.

A geography filter that works

I have always disliked (no, make that despised) the geography filter on free LinkedIn. It was built for recruiters, not sales people. Here’s an example: It made sense for recruiters to be able to search for people in the “Greater New York City” area. As part of Greater New York City, LinkedIn included parts of southern Connecticut, all of Long Island and northern New Jersey. But if you were a sales rep using free LinkedIn and New Jersey was your territory you were out of luck. LinkedIn considered the north half of New Jersey to be part of New York City and south New Jersey was part of Philadelphia. On free LinkedIn, New Jersey did not exist at all. It still doesn’t. Try entering New Jersey as a search location on free LinkedIn and you lose.

On Sales Navigator, the location filter has been fixed, and the locations available now on Sales Navigator are awesome. There is much more granularity – a lot more cities and towns are searchable. For someone who uses search quite a bit, this makes Sales Navigator really valuable.

The “Years In Current Position” and “Years At Current Company” filters

People who are new to their positions or companies may be a little more open to new ideas. These are extremely useful filters.

“Revisionist” filtering

This is in line with the point I made earlier.  If you have a look at your search results and they aren’t quite bang on, all the filters are available on the same page. No need to go back and start again, just add or change the filters you used to get these results. This really helps make tuning search results a breeze.

“Posted on LinkedIn in the past 30 days” filter

If you are going to try and contact someone on LinkedIn, the best place to start is with people who are active on LinkedIn. This filter tells you who among your search results has posted in the past 30 days. In my opinion this is the most misunderstood and underutilized filter on LinkedIn.

Saved searches

More saved searches than free LinkedIn. I get 10 with my old (grandfathered) Sales Navigator account.

InMail

Most people discount InMail because their experiences with InMail – sending or receiving – it have been lousy. Why? Because most people have no clue how to use InMail effectively. InMail works. I send lots of them and I get a super response rate – eight responses on the twelve I have sent so far this month for example.

So that’s what I like about Sales Navigator. These added abilities make Sales Navigator a good investment for me. Are there features and aspects of Sales Navigator that I am less than thrilled with? Oh yeah. I will talk about Sales Nav’s warts in next weeks’ article.

Why I Customize All My LinkedIn Outreach Messages

(photo caption: with this customized wardrobe this young man is ready for anything winter can throw at him)

I hear this so often that I finally had to write about it. I am talking with someone who wants to get more sales leads out of LinkedIn. One of the recommendations that I always make is that any kind of outreach should be customized and personalized to the person that will be receiving the outreach message.

And what do I get? The terrible too’s.

That’s too hard and it will take too long.

What do they want? They want a trick that requires no real work on their behalf. They want to automate with a templated cookie cutter message they can send to everybody, just changing the first name for each person, or the name and title something like that.

What they want is an email blast, only one done on a social network so they can convince themselves that what they are doing is “social selling.”

Here are four reasons why I customize and personalize every message that I send on LinkedIn:

Customizing and personalizing requires me to actually look at a person’s LinkedIn profile to ensure that my message applies to that specific person. It shows that I  have invested time and effort in the other person. I reviewed their profile and their LinkedIn activity. My message ties in with information found in those areas.

Personalizing sets me apart from the masses sending the same junk over and over. My messages are different. There’s a focus on the recipient that that recipient doesn’t see in other messages in their inbox.   

Personalizing shows my respect for the other person. At the end of this message I am going to ask the recipient for something and the respect I have earned can help get me a reply.

And the last reason? It works. In the last six months of 2017 I sent 157 unique outreach messages to people I did not know. I received 91 positive replies. If I had sent a cookie cutter message to those 157 people my responses probably could have been counted on one hand.  

LinkedIn is like a lot of things,what you get out of it is related to what you put into it.   

The Great LinkedIn Follower Riddle

If there is a LinkedIn connection whose posts I no longer wish to see, LinkedIn has me covered. In my Homepage feed, at the top right of any post from one of my connections,  are three dots. Behind those three dots is a menu, with one of the choices being:

“Unfollow <connections name>. Stay connected but stop seeing  <connections name>’s posts.”

So that’s how you unfollow someone. When you unfollow someone you see none of their posts. One would think then, that if you followed someone, you would see all of their posts.

One would think.

Of course, this is not the way it works on LinkedIn. I am imagining this conversation at LinkedIn a couple of years ago….

Product Manager A: “So let’s allow people to follow each other, and see all of each other’s posts.”

Product Manager B: “But when a LinkedIn user says “they want to follow,” do they really want to follow? What if they say they do, but really really deep down, they don’t, but they don’t realize they don’t?”

Product Manager C: “Good point. So how could we allow LinkedIn users to follow other LinkedIn users but only show them some of those posts? Not all the posts they say they want, only the some of the posts that we know they really want.”

(dramatic pause)

All three product managers together: “Algorithm!!”

Now, of course, that may not be the way it actually happened, but I am at a loss to think of a more likely scenario. When you follow someone on LinkedIn, you do so because you want to be notified when they publish an update or an article. You would expect to see all those posts. And you would be wrong. Because LinkedIn uses an algorithm to decide who sees who’s posts. So you may follow me, and I may follow you, but we are not going to see all of each other’s publishing. We may see bits and pieces go by in the homepage feed but that’s hit or miss.

LinkedIn provides us with the means to remove content we don’t want to see. LinkedIn does not provide us with the means to see the content we want to see.

The whole follow but don’t notify thing is like some bizarro world “let’s try and cut down on engagement and the amount of time people are spending here on LinkedIn” experiment.   

Or am I wrong here?

Is There Any Value In “Your Weekly Search Statistics” ?

Had a look at my Weekly Search Statistics for last week. I had appeared in 256 search results for the previous week. Let’s take a deep dive and see what we can learn from what LinkedIn told me about “My searchers.”

Where your searchers work

My searchers for last week work in

  • a travel business and
  • a supply chain company

And that’s it. I appeared in 256 search results last week and apparently all of those searches were performed by these two companies. This immediately makes me question the validity (not to mention the worth) of these statistics.

What they do

The top five business titles were

  • Executive director (that’s flattering I suppose, but exec director of what?)
  • Salesperson (that’s good, salespeople are typical clients of mine)
  • Process specialist (what type?…don’t leave me hanging here…)
  • Business strategy (not sure I have ever met a business strategist)
  • Business owner (okay lots of these are clients)

Okay this is minorly helpful, but some context as to what they were searching for is needed. Luckily I can turn to…

Keywords your searchers used

“WHO”

That’s it. “WHO”, all capitalized. No other search term apparently was used in searches I showed up in. Now, I can draw two possible conclusions here, both of  them a bit disconcerting:

  • Very few people actually search via keywords. They must be all searching by company or geography or title. This is too bad as when used effectively, keywords are the secret to  really narrowing down a search.  
  • Lots of people search via keywords but they have no idea what they are doing.

But the worst part of this whole exercise is the explanation for what these stats represent: “number of times your profile appeared in search results between October 31 – November 7” (I wrote this November 10th).

Note that that the “WHO” search I was in brings up over nine million people in the search results. Hardly an exclusive club. And the key here is the sneaky factor.  People and organizations that talk about the Weekly Search Statistics tool make it sound better than it is: “this new tool shows how you were found.” Sorry, not really. What the person found was a haystack, I’m just a needle somewhere in that haystack.

“Your weekly search statistics” reminds me of the LinkedIn Social Selling Index. Looks interesting on the surface, but when you dig into it a bit, there isn’t much there.

 

How To Rank Higher In LinkedIn Search Results

And the classic miscalculation most LinkedIn users make.

Author’s notes:

I published this post eighteen months ago in May of 2016, but it is a good topic to revisit in light of the conversations going on around whether you should have a large loose LinkedIn network or a smaller tighter one. This article presents one of the arguments for a larger LinkedIn network.

I have made changes and edits to the original article to bring it up to date and reflect changes LinkedIn has made in the last eighteen months.

The most important factor for ranking higher in search results isn’t the quality of your profile or your use of keywords. Those are things will get you included in the search results, but not necessarily a high ranking. This is one of the mistakes many LinkedIn users are making with the introduction of the “Your weekly search appearances” statistics. Many LinkedIn users think this means that the “x” number of search appearances means that their profiles were viewed that number of times. This is incorrect because of one overriding factor.

What is the most important factor for ranking higher in search results? Your relevancy to the searcher. So what does that mean? It means that if two people search LinkedIn using the exact same parameters – keywords, geography etc – you may show up on page one of the search results for one of them and page seven (or seventy-seven) for the other. And no one wants to be on page seven. When was the last time you googled something and closely examined the seventh page?  

Relevancy is a bit of a moving target. LinkedIn interprets relevancy based on an ever evolving algorithm which weighs things like the searcher’s prior activity on LinkedIn, similar searches other people have conducted in the past and the profiles that get selected by the query. Having the right keywords in your profile will get you included in the search results, but they probably won’t help too much, as everyone else who was included in the search results had those keywords too.

And let’s face it, you can’t do anything about a searcher’s prior history, or other similar searches to this one.

The biggest factor for where you appear in search results is your relationship to the searcher. LinkedIn thinks that the closer the relationship, the higher the relevance. So LinkedIn tends to list the search results by connection level – first degree connections first, seconds second , group members third and the third level / the “everyone else” crowd last. And this makes sense. Say you are looking for someone to help with you build a WordPress based blog. You search for WordPress on LinkedIn, maybe adding your location to find someone local. LinkedIn shows that you have three first degree connections that qualify, then forty second degree connections, sixty group members, and two hundred third level / LinkedIn members. Based on what you asked for, doesn’t it make sense that LinkedIn lists the three people you can contact directly – your first level connections – first?

So what does this mean to those who want to appear higher in search results? To appear higher in searches you should develop a big network. No, this doesn’t mean you should indiscriminately connect with anyone on LinkedIn. But you should be connecting with people in, and affiliated with, your target audience – your target audience being the people you would like to be found by, whether that is prospective employers, prospective customers, or industry peers. The more people you are connected with, the more likely you will show up as a “one” or a “two” when they conduct a search that you are found in. If you and I are in the same field, have similar experience and credentials, but you have two thousand LinkedIn connections and I have two hundred, who’s your money on for appearing higher in search results?

LinkedIn even says this (it’s in the LinkedIn help section):

The more connections you have, the more likely you will have a connection to the searcher. Closer connections, such as a 2nd-degree connection compared to a 3rd-degree connection, improve your ranking in searches.

There is a big difference between search engine optimization and LinkedIn search results optimization. To optimize for LinkedIn search results, you need lots of relevant connections.

Should You Be Using LinkedIn Sales Navigator?

If you are doing research – Sales Navigator can really help you

LinkedIn is first and foremost a database. A database that contains information on hundreds of millions of people. Often this data is skinny or thin, but just as often it can tell you things you wouldn’t find elsewhere. In particular I have found that people will often talk a bit too much about their last job – revenue levels that should have stayed private, products worked on that should have stayed secret.

All of these profiles really become available to you when you can use the search tools that LinkedIn Navigator incorporates. In the free version of LinkedIn you have a dozen filters that get shut down once you hit the monthly Commercial Search Limit. Sales Navigator has a couple of dozen filters and the user interface for them has gotten pretty good.

Search Navigator also helps with company research too. Premium LinkedIn accounts get access to headcount growth, and changes to headcount by department, and new hires by month. I use these statistics to paint a picture of a company’s health by using headcount trends as a proxy for revenue trends. Very handy.

If you are in sales – Sales Navigator can maybe help you

(Here’s where I get in trouble again. )

What? Sales Navigator is only a “maybe” for salespeople?

Well, yes. This has to do with the difference between research and sales. For research, you have 500 million LinkedIn profiles to work with. In other words, everyone on LinkedIn. With sales, you realistically only have the tiny social network embedded in LinkedIn to work with. And that’s around one quarter of those 500 million, and realistically less that. A little under one in four LinkedIn users shows up on LinkedIn at least once a month. This is based on LinkedIn’s last released statistics 14 months ago, and that LinkedIn has not said anything since then to contradict the trend that monthly or active users constitute under 25% of overall users. There are companies that claim LinkedIn has really ramped up active users in the past year, but I am skeptical of a supposedly fabulous statistic where I can’t find how it was derived and that LinkedIn has no comment on.

So seventy five percent of LinkedIn users are not around much. Not around to see your LinkedIn ad, not around to see your sponsored updates, not around to see your articles and updates, and certainly not around to see your message.

The decision on using Sales Navigator for sales should be predicated on whether your prospects are active on LinkedIn. If they are not active, the greatest message in the world won’t receive a reply. Some of these active people will be really obvious – if you sell to human resources, sales, marketing or consultants, you win, Sales Navigator will likely work for you. But if you sell to other professions, best to check to make sure a lot of people in those professions are actively using LinkedIn.

Before you sign up for Sales Navigator, have a good idea how you want to use it, and a good idea whether Sales Navigator will actually help you accomplish your goals. It’s the difference between spending money and investing money.