Statistics For LinkedIn Articles And Posts Are Back! (Sort of…)

Last week I noticed that some of the statistics for published articles and post on LinkedIn had come back.

In addition to the total views, likes and comments, you can now see the top nine each of:

  • Which companies your viewers are from
  • The titles for viewers
  • The geographic areas your visitors are from
  • And how they found your article or post

But there are a couple of asterisks.

I am skeptical about some of the statistics. If one person comes back multiple times to comment, reply to comments, or re-read the comments thread, they appear to be counted as a “view” each time they return. I have had this happen recently on multiple articles: LinkedIn tells me that people from “XYZ company” viewed my article 17 times. It turns out XYZ company is a consultancy with one consultant.

And although this hasn’t happened to me, numerous people have reported view counts that go down instead of up. 400 views of an article as of yesterday, but only registering 380 this morning, that type of thing.

Another example can be seen in the screen cap I used for this post. The article was a general interest personal development one I shared, written by one of my connections. It had over 1600 views at that point. Now what are the odds that four of the top five companies for a general interest article would be pharma companies? Or that “Laboratory Scientist” would be the title of more viewers – by a mile – than any other?

Another oddity is in the “biggest audience” metric in the column at top right. More views from Boston than anywhere else. But how many more? I don’t know as there is no number. But LinkedIn will show me how many came from the second through ninth geographic areas. I wonder if LinkedIn was in a hurry when they decided to reinstate these stats?

And there are still no statistics on who shared your post – oddly the number of times your post or article was shared shows on the post itself, but is omitted from the statistics.

Question: If sharing isn’t that important, why does LinkedIn make a big deal of it in their social selling index? Then again, this wouldn’t be the first time LinkedIn has sent mixed signals.

So…good to see statistics back, but like many aspects of the new User Interface, still a few bugs to be ironed out, and a bit of work required on that whole sharing thing.

What Does It Mean When Someone “Views” Your Post On LinkedIn?

Fifteen months ago 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 article I have written and still receives over one thousand views a week. And while many of the points I raised in that post still appear valid, there have been a lot of changes with LinkedIn, so this is an update to that original post.  

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 to be 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 you write from scratch, you are allowed limited verbiage, and the post gets dumped into our homepage feeds. These stay associated with your profile in the “Your activity” page under “posts”.  

How are views different for posts and articles?

I wrote an article a few weeks ago. A couple of friends shared it (note that under the new 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 and the other had gotten 2,000. 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 is this happening and what does it mean?

 So what is an article view?

I think LinkedIn counts article views by recognizing the URL for your article is open on a reader’s device.

You need to click on and open the article to have it counted as a view. 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.

Over the past couple of weeks LinkedIn has started using the word “clicks” in some places instead of “views” for articles. For my post last week in my “Bruce’s Activity” page, I see “1,095 clicks of your article” instead of 1,095 views. But on my homepage it still says “1,095 views of your article”, and on my profile page it still says “1,095 views of your post in the feed.”  I assume the homepage and profile page will be updated and that clicks will be the new and more accurate terminology.  

And what is a post view?

On January 31, 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.

This also would imply that if you open your homepage and page a 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, so there must be other factors at play – most likely with a heaping helping of LinkedIn algorithms.

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

An article view seems to suggest intent (to read my article), while a post view seems to suggest opportunity (someone could have seen my post).

Note that the counting mechanism for views and clicks may not necessarily be solid yet

Over the past couple of months under the new desktop User Interface, some LinkedIn writers have seen view counts go backwards in their articles, such as seeing 400 hundred views as of last night, but only 380 this morning. I can only assume this is a bug. You can withdraw a like or a delete a comment, but how would one go about “un-viewing” a post?

And in a different vein, a recent article of mine got it’s highest number of views – nine – from a company which was a one person consultancy.  

So what do views really mean?

Lots of views are an ego boost. But note that with the new User Interface LinkedIn has 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 end to itself.

Let’s say you publish one article or post and it gets 500 views and thirty comments. Then you publish a second one and it gets 1000 views and five comments. Which was the more successful post? The first one. More people found that one compelling enough to comment on.

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.   

 

Why Share And Pray Is Not An Optimal LinkedIn Strategy

…and an alternative.

We are told that sharing posts is important on LinkedIn. It’s even part of the (vaunted by social sellers, questioned by me) Social Selling Index. This results in whole clumps of people out there that “share” as a strategy.

But for the most part, they share badly.

How? They just share the post with everyone. Sometimes they add a comment as an introduction to the shared post, but often they don’t. And what does this sharing accomplish? A little increased visibility for the post author and a little increased visibility for the person who shared the post. Possibly someone interesting will comment on the share. Well “a little” and “possibly” don’t strike me as results to hang your hat on. 

We do these things because sharing is easy. Liking is easier. And it is easy to convince ourselves that because we have shared a bunch of posts that we have made good use of our time. And while sharing is easy, actually getting somewhere as a result of sharing is much harder.

So (as usual), please allow me to make a suggestion. By all means share with everyone if you want to, but also share that post with someone where you really know it could benefit them.  Add a message with what you think is in it for them.  

When you share discriminately, three people benefit:

  • The author of the post, whose work gets disseminated to a person who will really value it.
  • The recipient who you shared it with, who receives content that may help him or her.
  • And you. In the end, even if it isn’t a perfect fit, or even if they have already read it, the person you shared it with is going to be impressed that you specifically singled them out for this content. I would take that one little bit of credibility established with that one person over visibility with lots of people any day.  

When you share on LinkedIn, don’t just spray and pray, share with intent. Share discriminately.