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.

Are More People Viewing LinkedIn Profiles Anonymously?

a profile viewThere are an awful lot more of these people than I thought. Is this a trend?

People viewing your profile in “private” mode (the nicer name that replaced the old “anonymous” mode) are a fact of life on LinkedIn. Designed for recruiters and Human Resources people – the ones that fund LinkedIn – private mode allows them to do their jobs more efficiently. And I can see that – an HR person may scroll through a couple hundred LinkedIn profiles, quickly rejecting most of them. The last thing he or she needs is forty of those people bugging him about why he looked at their profile.

Last week I had a look at my own Who Viewed Your Profile statistics. I have a premium subscription so I can see who viewed my profile going back ninety days. Linkedin now seems to clump your private mode viewers into one weekly number (like my screen capture above). This made it easy (albeit with a lot of scrolling) to add up my private viewers for each of the last 13 weeks and see what percentage of my profile visitors do so in private mode.  

The answer was 43%.

Now, I am a pretty active LinkedIn user, so I get a lot of profile views. But this amounted to around 800 private profile views in three months. 800! Almost ten people every day.

As a self employed consultant, I am pretty sure I was not checked out by 800 recruiters this past quarter (actually, I can tell the number of recruiters who viewed my profile in private mode had to be less than 135 over that time period. The math is a little arcane so I have left it out. Anyone who is that nerdy can contact me and I will explain it).

Then around the same time I was making this discovery , I came across this post  by Allen Quinn, “5 Reasons Millennials Aren’t Using LinkedIn”  In his post, Allen maintains that millennials don’t like the idea that people can tell when a millennial has viewed their profile. After trading messages Allen freely admits his evidence is anecdotal, but it is an interesting idea, and does seem plausible. After all, the millennial crowd is used to the anonymity of Facebook and Twitter where no one knows you visited their profile.

So that leaves the question: Is this a trend on LinkedIn? More and more people viewing profiles anonymously? If so, is it a good one, being like other social networks, or a bad one, where we can’t see who has viewed our profiles?

 

7 Things I Learned From Who Viewed Your Profile

Streets of LyonI researched the “source” feature on WVYP. And what I found surprised me

When you look at the “Who Viewed Your Profile” page, you see each viewer’s photo, their name, degree of connection with you, headline, how long ago it was they viewed your profile, and once a couple of days have gone by, where they came from on LinkedIn to get to your profile.

Like a lot of LinkedIn users I had been aware of this “source” feature on Who Viewed Your Profile for a while now. And like a lot of users I didn’t pay that much attention to it. Then I posted to LinkedIn twice in one week and I received a spike in Profile Views. Scrolling through the pages of people (I have a premium account so it shows everybody for the past ninety days), I started picking up on all these different sources. So that got me thinking…what can these sources tell me?

So I went back through my last several hundred profile viewers (thank you everyone, by they way. You view my profile, and in turn you become part of my research), compiled all the sources and here’s what I found.

  1. The LinkedIn Home Page: One Update Stream To Rule Them All

I found a dozen different sources for profile viewers, but one stands way above all the others: the homepage. Over fifty percent of my profile views come from my viewer’s homepages, meaning they clicked on my name in the status update stream. They either saw I had posted, someone else shared or commented on my post, or I commented or someone else’s post, but the bottom line is my name appeared as a clickable blue link, and they clicked on it, taking them to my profile. The surprise here is how many people do see your name in their status update stream and click on it.

  1. That Profile Update Notification Thing Actually Works

When you are making changes to your LinkedIn profile and are in “Edit Profile” mode, there is a little toggle switch asking of you would like to notify your network that you have made changes. I leave mine on “yes”. And it resulted in   people who looked at my profile, obviously curious to what I had changed.

  1. I was flabbergasted to see profile views based on Endorsements

Someone clicked on my tiny thumbnail photo after I had endorsed someone. A bunch of people did this. As a matter of fact as many people came to me from Endorsements as came to me via Search. Wow.

  1. And yes there were reciprocal Who Viewed Your Profile View profile views

Anyone who has used one of those silly browser extensions for viewing profiles will tell you that sometimes when you view someone’s profile, they will come back and view yours. It’s a small percentage (more on bots in a minute).

  1. I was surprised at how few came from my posts

Then again, many of the people who read my posts are already connections or followers, so they don’t need to check me out to see who I am.

  1. The LinkedIn Mobile App is a big disappointment

Mobile App viewers are not broken down any further. So while the Mobile App was my second largest source of viewers after the homepage, the sources within the Mobile App were not identified.

  1. Not as many people come to me via Search as I would have thought.

Search pales beside the home page. No comparison. Part of this obviously has to do with the fact that as someone who writes on LinkedIn and is generally very active on LinkedIn, there will be a lot of opportunities for me to show up on people’s status update feeds, but to have the home page be ten times more powerful than search in generating profile views really surprised me. On the other hand, this may point more to the idea that most LinkedIn users don’t really use LinkedIn that much, and get what LinkedIn interaction they do have through their homepages.

Lastly, one more pleasant surprise: I need to give credit to the oft maligned LinkedIn help desk. I had a lot of questions with respect to this topic and the Help Desk was patient with them all, and with additional requests for definitions and distinctions. And they answered every question I had within ninety minutes.

I am still investigating, compiling sources as my profile views come in, but my research has definitely given me a few ideas to try out that may make me more effective at using LinkedIn. In the meantime, have a look at your own profile viewers. What do the sources tell you?