Who Shows Up In Your LinkedIn Homepage Feed?

A lot of people complain because they don’t see their Connections’ activity on LinkedIn. What they don’t realize is that there is no way they could realisitically see it all even if LinkedIn did present it to them…and LinkedIn may actually be doing so.

Allow me a small diversion in order to illustrate this.

I have just over 5,000 connections. In the past thirty days over 2,000 of them posted on LinkedIn (I have a Sales Navigator account where I can run a specific search and find this number), an average of sixty every day. So in order to see all my connections activity there are sixty posts a day from those people that LinkedIn needs to somehow stuff into my feed so that I have the chance to see them.

  • That’s if those posts are spread out evenly over the 30 days in a month so there are only sixty or so a day,
  • and that’s if I log into LinkedIn every day and posts aren’t piling up while I am gone resulting in a backlog of posts LinkedIn needs to show me from the days I was off LinkedIn,
  • and those 2,000 people only posted once each.

And even if all of those unlikely conditions can be met, those sixty posts have to be shoehorned in and around all the other stuff in my feed – group posts, paid ads, new comments on posts I commented on, the always bizarre “maybe Bruce didn’t see this post the first time so let’s keep showing it at the top of his feed till he does something with it” posts and so on.

Now it is completely possible that in fact LinkedIn is placing those sixty or more posts in my feed every day. After all, LinkedIn does say that when you post that it is put in your connections’ feeds (I looked it up in the LinkedIn Help section, that statement is there). But with those sixty posts interleaved with all that other content I mentioned above, I am going to have to do a lot of scrolling to see them. Or let me put it another way: when you logged in to LinkedIn today, how far down did you scroll in your Homepage feed?

So LinkedIn is left with a conundrum: if we can’t show Bruce everything, how do we figure which of it is the most relevant stuff to show him?

Enter the Connection Strength Score. Another of LinkedIn’s many algorithms, this one tries to figure out whose content would be most relevant to you by calculating which of your connections you are closest to. It does this by looking at which of your LinkedIn connections you have interacted with lately, and how often you have done so. We don’t know if it weighs different types of interactions in different ways, but that seems likely. So if you have a connection you have not interacted with in months, and another you have been trading comments with on a post over the past few days, and both of those connections publish a post this afternoon, which one do you think LinkedIn will favor to put prominenly in your feed? Correct, the recent publisher, the person who currently has a higher connection strength score.

And “currently” is the operative word there, as one thing I have figured out is that the CSS is transient. If you and I interact a lot over a three month period and then we each take two weeks off LinkedIn, our CSS seems to reset back to zero. There appears to be a heavy reliance on recency in the CSS. And that’s smart, because who is more likely to read, comment, share or otherwise engage with your next post, someone you have been trading comments with in the past few days, or someone you haven’t engaged with in months?

This explains why when you comment on my post and we trade messages back and forth on LinkedIn, all of a sudden my posts are all over your feed.

This brings me to Following on LinkedIn. If I follow someone, the reason I usually do so is in order to see more of their content. But how does LinkedIn put that content in front of me given the absolute packed feed I already have from my connections, promoted posts and other sources? This may indirectly explain why Following doesn’t seem to “work” that well on LinkedIn. And it may explain the role of LinkedIn Newsletters. As Newsletters are nominally “guaranteed” to be delivered via notifications to subscribers, this may be the feature that LinkedIn is ultimately counting on to solve the Homepage Feed issue.

And one final note: if you do want to follow specific people – and companies for that matter – you can do so if you have Sales Navigator by designating them as “leads”. Your Sales Navigator feed consists only of the people and companies you want there in that feed.

What are your thoughts on this? Is LinkedIn getting it right? Getting better or worse?

The obligatory disclaimer: I do not work for or have any association with LinkedIn, other than being a user who pays them for his Sales Navigator subscription every month. LinkedIn gave me early access to this Newsletter feature. I have no idea why, but thanks for reading.

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