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?

Dear LinkedIn: Please Let Me Send Someone Who Viewed My Profile A Message

volume(yet) another suggestion for LinkedIn.

I find it interesting that a lot of the LinkedIn teacher types talk about how wonderful Who Viewed Your Profile is because these are people that have shown an interest in you etc. etc. So you should contact them.

My question is: How?

Well, if you are already connected, you can.

But if you are not, LinkedIn allows you to do is to send a request to connect to the other person. But  LinkedIn doesn’t want you connecting with people you don’t know well, and by definition, someone whose existence you are solely aware of    because they just looked at your profile doesn’t exactly qualify them as someone you know well.


If you have a premium subscription, you can send an InMail. So contacting the person who viewed your profile is wonderful advice only if you have a premium subscription. But even then there’s something odd about it costing you ten dollars (or whatever an InMail costs these days) to contact someone who looked at your profile.

So why doesn’t LinkedIn let you send a message, one time, to those people who have viewed your profile?

It could be set up like an invite to connect with the ability to customize it. This would be a great way to encourage conversations, encourage more profile views, more interactions, more opportunities to make new connections, and more time spent on LinkedIn.  

And no, I don’t think this would inhibit profile views as you can always ignore anyone sending you a message (though that would be kind of rude), or you can just make yourself anonymous.

More opportunities for interaction. What’s not to like?


Who Viewed Your Profile And The Riddle Of The Anonymous Viewer


and solving the problem of anonymous profile viewers

LinkedIn users love “Who Viewed Your Profile”. They love it enough that LinkedIn lists the expanded Who Viewed Your Profile first in the list of features for the premium business subscriptions.  

But while Who Viewed Your Profile may be the most loved feature on LinkedIn, Anonymous profile views appearing on WVYP may be the most hated. Everyone hates that bland gray head and shoulder shape showing up. “You can see and read all about me, but I can’t see you.” If you ask people what they think of Anonymous profile viewers, words like “creepy”, “lurker”, and “stalking” come up.

As much as everyone hates anonymous profile views though, they are not going away. Recruiters make use of this feature and it appeals to them. LinkedIn makes almost two thirds of their revenue from recruiters. I don’t care how much you or I hate it, money talks. And besides, you agreed to it in the User Agreement. End of story.

And while I may not like anonymous profile viewers, I accept that it’s the way things are on LinkedIn, but I have one question:

Why does LinkedIn show us anonymous profile views at all?

In thinking about this I came up with the following facts:

  • I can’t connect with an anonymous profile viewer
  • I can’t contact an anonymous profile viewer
  • I can’t find out who an anonymous profile viewer is

What is the point of giving us information that we cannot use? LinkedIn might as well just show me the current weather in Yokohama, Japan. Can’t do anything with that either, but at least I won’t get pissed off about it.

So here’s my solution: Just stop showing anonymous profile viewers.

Aside from having no practical value, the fact remains that LinkedIn doesn’t have to show you that someone viewed your profile, and to my knowledge this isn’t an issue on other social networks. For example, I haven’t seen a huge demand for a list of the people that look at someone’s Facebook page or Twitter profile. It seems this is only on LinkedIn, and only because LinkedIn notifies people that it is happening.

In any other company if someone on the product management team went, “we have an idea for a feature. It will pop up from time to time in front of our users, have no practical value and it will absolutely infuriate them. What do you think?”  I think that feature would not get implemented. Somehow on LinkedIn it was.