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.