LinkedIn: The “Other” Social Network Makes its Move

linkedinWe may be reading quite a few news reports these days about Facebook and Twitter facing a plateau in usage … but LinkedIn’s fortunes continue to be on the upswing (financial losses notwithstanding).

In late April, the social network reported that it now has more than 300 million active members throughout the world, which is up more than 35% since the beginning of the year.

Too, the gender gap in membership is narrowing, albeit more slowly:  Today, ~44% of LinkedIn members are women, up from ~39% in 2009.

Even more impressive for a network that has the lofty goal of “creating economic opportunity for every one of the 3.3 billion people in the global workforce,” is the fact that two-thirds of LinkedIn’s active members are located outside the United States.

This is underscored by the top three countries represented  in LinkedIn’s membership, which are the U.S. (#1), India (#2) and Brazil (#3).

worldwide membersLinkedIn’s latest international push is into China, where it seeks to add more than 140 million Chinese professionals to its membership rolls.

Mobile Movement

The increased use of “smart” mobile units has affected the ways users interact with LinkedIn as well; mobile traffic is expected to overtake desktop access later this year.

[In fact, that’s already happened in markets like the United Kingdom, Singapore and Sweden.]

Here are a few “factoids” that illustrate how significant mobile has become for LinkedIn operating as the world’s mobile employment bazaar:

  • Average number of LinkedIn profiles viewed daily via mobile devices:  ~15 million
  • Average number of job position openings viewed daily via mobile:  ~1.5 million
  • Average number of job applications submitted daily via mobile:  ~44,000

Despite these healthy usage figures, a continuing challenge for LinkedIn is the degree to which it has been able to “monetize” its membership.  Among U.S. members, the average revenue-per-user is hovering around $11.30.

That’s much better than the ~$3.75 average revenue-per-user amount for members overseas.  But it’s still well below the revenue-per-member figures being charted by Facebook, which helps explain LinkedIn’s continuing revenue and profit challenges.

Still, when you consider that LinkedIn is becoming the de facto “Help Wanted” public square for the professional world, it’s hard to criticize its business model as the “go-to resource” for human resources professionals involved in personnel recruitment.

And now that the platform has a an active membership north of 300 million people, it’s hard seeing how that dynamic is going to change going forward; LinkedIn really is in the catbird seat when it comes to recruitment.

Speaking personally, I’m glad LinkedIn is resisting going the route of Facebook and Twitter in their evolving “all advertising, all the time” revenue models.  If LinkedIn can continue to derive a large chunk of its revenue stream from recruitment solutions instead of relying on display advertising or sponsored posts that are too often distracting or irritating, so much the better for us.

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