Does the new LinkedIn look get the thumbs up?

Following Microsoft’s completion of the LinkedIn acquisition, dramatic changes began to roll out at the end of last week. Primarily, for its 450m users, it is a desktop revamp that leads the charge. Whilst not available yet in every country, we took a look at initial feedback and reviews of the new look LinkedIn.

Ironically (because we can’t see LinkedIn data) it was Twitter that lit up on the 19th January. Most of the chatter was sharing of the news of the redesign – and therefore neutral. Only 3% was very negative and roughly 8% of conversations are positive.

So what has changed?

Let’s face it LinkedIn had to change something didn’t. After all, only around 25% of its membership use the platform regularly. It was always the rather ‘awkward’ one in the squad, all gangly and uncoordinated. The modern looks sits well now suggesting the ugly swan of social networking has transformed.

If you haven’t got the new look just yet, this is what you can expect…

The design has more than a hint of Facebook. Its less cluttered, more intuitive and includes features to help you connect and engage more. Not everyone is delighted though…

But it is not just a pretty new facelift. This is a ground-up redesign. Algorithms have improved. A new stack will allow for code to be updated up to three times a day. Updates can be pushed out faster. So expect more changes and for those changes to be deployed quickly.

The redesign is also in keeping with the current mobile app. Given that 60% of LinkedIn’s traffic is from mobile and the rest from desktop, it was about time the platform brought the two into line. However, not everyone agrees

And having faced frustrations on the mobile app myself, I do wish the focus had been there first – after all we are all mobile first these days.

Amongst all the changes, the most significant is an improvement in messaging. It is not just an improved way to talk to connections. LinkedIn have added suggested ‘conversations starters’. In other words, reasons to break the ice when connecting. If it works well, it could provide the insight that helps you discover opportunities. And if they get people talking, they will return more often – increasing usage. Something LinkedIn needs very much if it is to sustain its commercial focus.

It was about time for a redesign. Let’s face it Linked in looked old fashioned, it was clunky and hard to navigate. Will this new look increase usage though? I hope so. It would be good to see LinkedIn stand up and be counted with the other big networks.

What is clear that under the Microsoft banner, LinkedIn is flexing it’s revenue making muscles. This is the first step, but there are more. Whilst there are no Microsoft integrations announced, last week LinkedIn also quietly publicised its partnership with DataSift. The partnership sees access to the data behind all the user profiles (anonymised of course). Giving us LinkedIn ads insights and new ways to segment audiences by engagement and content. This is a substantial change for advertisers. It’s a chance to get to the juicy data and reach the right audiences, at the right time, with the right content.

Without a doubt, this is a positive step forward. And if Twitter comments are indicative, then it is going to be well received too

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