21 March 2017

LinkedIn New Desktop UI Impact Performance on Social Media


 

The leading B2B social media site, LinkedIn, has continued to receive lots of knocks and thumbs down after the announcement of the launch of its new Desktop User Interface (UI) in a news release January 19, 2017. Reactions by users complaining about the new desktop are agog in the social media. The company has taken out certain key features from the old User Interface which many of its users claim were the main attractions of the previous desktop.
The new UI is a leaner version, and it has shed quite a number features, such as Profile, Analytics, had their sizes reduced. This change gave the site a completely different look, and according to Wired, “LinkedIn just gave its desktop UI the full Beverly Hills makeover, that wasn’t a nip-and-tuck or a light rhinoplasty, but was a shave-some-bone-and-redistribute-some-toochis-fat overhaul, to make the professional social network look like its frenemy, Facebook.”

The New Navigation Bar


LinkedIn announced seven core areas on the navigation bar that was affected by this change and they include — Home, Messaging, Jobs, Notifications, Me, My Network, and Search. Other noticeable features that were removed are the   label feature at the initial but later reintroduced.
According to an independent LinkedIn Specialist, Careers Adviser and Trainer, Sue Ellson,I must admit, as an independent LinkedIn Specialist and one of the first 80,000 members on LinkedIn, I panicked when I saw the latest September 2016 (and launching over time during 2017) LinkedIn Design Layout for Desktops and Laptops when it changed overnight recently…” These changes may not have been unconnected with the acquisition of LinkedIn by Microsoft in June 2016.
The former LinkedIn Chairman, Reid Hoffman, while announcing on his LinkedIn page on Tuesday, 14 March 2017, his joining the Microsoft board, said that, following the combination with Microsoft, LinkedIn now has new resources and technology assets to deploy, sighting how Cortana-liked Intelligent assistant can help users determine which third-degree connection make the most sense to pursue; or LinkedIn learning courseware that incorporates Microsoft HoloLens mixed reality technology for more incursive learning experience. The company’s financial positions showed strong growth across its platform in the third quarter of 2016, and that is expecting to continue through the remaining part of the year and into the first quarter of 2017.
LinkedIn 3Q 2016 Financial Position
Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, the world's largest professional network on the Internet, said the company reported continued product investments across its platform, showed strong engagement and financial performance, in the third quarter 2016 results. During the quarter, total revenue increased 23% to $960 million and marketing solutions revenue increased 26% to $175 million. Sponsored Content remained the primary driver of growth and is now approaching two-thirds of total Marketing Solutions revenue. Premium Subscriptions revenue increased 17% to $162 million. Cumulative members grew 18% to 467 million, and unique visiting members grew 6% to an average of 106 million members a month. Member page views grew 27% in the quarter, yielding 20% growth in page views per unique visiting member. Mobile continues to grow at more than double the rate of overall member activity, surpassing 60% of all traffic to LinkedIn.
Negative Reaction Trails the New UI
The negative reception and reactions from LinkedIn premium users, content creator, and marketers that have trailed the new Desktop User Interface is most likely to affect the company’s financial performance and social media rating in the first quarter of 2017. Apparently, the company has not managed its customer engagement effectively, particularly concerning the new UI, despite the uproar and expression of disappointment by millions of users condemning not only the dramatic change, but also the suddenness of its implementation.
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Les Gay, ZTE Sales Manager – Wireless Sales, is one of LinkedIn Premium users who commented in Reid’s post. “It’s absolutely terrible! Losing key features when it was implemented is totally unacceptable and to retrieve some of this feature, LinkedIn wants to charge extra fees. And LinkedIn doesn't seem to be interested in 'customer satisfaction'. Not a single response or any kind of communication regarding the changes. You could take a key lesson from other on-line sites (i.e., Amazon) that jump on the chance to resolve issues within a 24 hour period. Very disappointed ... especially as a Premium user, he said.”
2017 Poor First Quarter Rating
The 2017 first quarter Social Media ratings are already showing slight reduction in the company’s rating as against previous gains in the last quarter of 2016. The first quarter rating for 2017 shows Facebook is leading with 1 billion estimated Unique Monthly Visitors, followed by YouTube in second place with 1 billion; Twitter is third with 310 million and LinkedIn trailing at fourth place with 255 million. These rankings were reported by eBizMBA covering up to March 1, 2017. The Statista Global Social Media Ranking by number of active users shows an even more gloomy LinkedIn, lost in the crowed at 18 position with a paltry 106 million active users. Facebook continue to lead the market at first position with 1.871 billion active users.

© Statista: Number of active users in millions
The reason why LinkedIn is plummeting in social media ranking is not far-fetched. According to Jonathan Gilbert, Managing Director at Jaguar Energy Ltd., and LinkedIn Premium user with over 30 million connections to 3rd level, in his comment on Reid’s post, said “as a long time user of LinkedIn and top 1% most viewed profile winner etc. I can honestly say recently it has changed so much and I have to say not in a positive way. It is no longer intuitive to use. It is so hard to work out how to do simple tasks like to say you have now left a company or to take down comments no longer relevant etc. Why change a great piece of software.”  
Activities on the platform have slowed down dramatically. Even posts by premium subscribers in the platform which used to attract thousands of views, comments and shares, now barely receive just a couple views and engagements. This is hurting content creators and content owners using the platform to promote their brand. Since it has become evident that Microsoft merger with LinkedIn is impacting negatively on the platform's performance, the question Jeff Weiner, CEO of LinkedIn, must provide an answer to, is ‘will LinkedIn fare better merging with Microsoft?’

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