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LinkedIn Expands Engagement Signals to Better Personalize User Feeds

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LinkedIn Expands Engagement Signals to Better Personalize User Feeds

Have you noticed a change in your LinkedIn engagement of late? Maybe you’re seeing more posts from the same people repeatedly, or you’re getting fewer notifications?

There’s a reason for that. As outlined by LinkedIn expert Richard van der Blom, LinkedIn’s been tweaking its algorithm and notifications of late, which has significantly altered some aspects of how it distributes posts, and shows people what they’re more likely to engage with.

According to van der Blom’s most recent analysis:

  • LinkedIn is showing you more content from the people and Pages you engage with most
  • LinkedIn is putting more focus on hashtag engagement to highlight relevant topics to users
  • LinkedIn’s reduced notifications for certain actions
  • Posts are now seeing more reach over time, as opposed to gaining the most traction on the first day (van der Blom says that posts are now getting far more traction on the second and third day after posting)

So why is this happening?

According to a new overview from LinkedIn, it’s recently updated its algorithm to factor in more engagement signals, including how users interact with hashtags, who they engage with in the app, and even what they interact with, in terms of individual posts.

As explained by LinkedIn:

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Our Homepage Feed produces billion-record datasets over millions of sparse IDs on a daily basis. To improve the performance and personalization of the feed, we have added the representation of sparse IDs as features to the recommendation algorithms which power these products.”

Which is a technical way of saying that it’s added more signals into the mix, with “sparse IDs” in this context referring to hashtags, users, and posts, among other interactions including Likes and shares. Indeed, LinkedIn says that it’s increased the parameters for its feed recommendation architecture by 500x.

“Our focus is on transforming large corpus sparse ID features into embedding space, using embedding lookup tables with hundreds of millions of parameters trained on multi-billions of records. Embeddings represent high-dimensional categorical data in a lower-dimensional continuous space, capturing essential relationships and patterns within the data while reducing computational complexity. For example, members who share preferences or often interact with the same type of content or a similar group of other members tend to have similar embeddings, resulting in a smaller distance in the embedding space. This capability enables the system to identify and recommend content that is contextually relevant or aligns with member preferences.

That’s a lot of words, yes, and technical papers are not ideal for trying to get to the bottom of what they practically mean for you and I. But essentially, you’re likely seeing posts from smaller groups of people, and on more focused topics, because that’s what you’re likely to engage with most, and LinkedIn’s algorithm now has more measures to factor in, in order to predict likely engagement.

Which should mean that your LinkedIn feed is more interesting, and more aligned to your actual interests. Which may or may not be ideal for discovery, because a lot of people engage with their colleagues, former and current, as opposed to their current areas of interest, but the weighting of hashtag engagement, for example, will be critical in this respect, ideally presenting a balance of people you know directly and the topics of most relevance to you right now.

But yes, you may see more of the same people than you used to in your feed as a result.

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The solution? Engage with more hashtags, add your comments to relevant discussions, and take part in the app. The more you interact, the more signals you send to the algorithm about your interests, and it’s now more attuned than ever to your specific focus subjects.

And it’s clearly doing something right. Sharing of original content on LinkedIn increased by 41% year-over-year in 2022, while the platform continues to report “record levels” of engagement within parent company Microsoft’s quarterly performance updates.  

As more people look for an alternative to Twitter, and the changes being implemented by Elon Musk, it seems that LinkedIn has been a key beneficiary, while its continued algorithm updates are also driving more engagement, and bringing users back more often.

As such, focusing on key topics of interest could be the key to optimizing your LinkedIn experience, while from a posting perspective, it’s also worth underlining the value of community engagement, and building on this where you can, by replying to comments, using relevant hashtags, sharing topical updates, etc.

There’s no secret code, as such, to cracking the algorithm, but LinkedIn now knows more about who’s interested in your content, and it’s increasingly likely to show it to them in-stream.

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

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Snapchat Explores New Messaging Retention Feature: A Game-Changer or Risky Move?

In a recent announcement, Snapchat revealed a groundbreaking update that challenges its traditional design ethos. The platform is experimenting with an option that allows users to defy the 24-hour auto-delete rule, a feature synonymous with Snapchat’s ephemeral messaging model.

The proposed change aims to introduce a “Never delete” option in messaging retention settings, aligning Snapchat more closely with conventional messaging apps. While this move may blur Snapchat’s distinctive selling point, Snap appears convinced of its necessity.

According to Snap, the decision stems from user feedback and a commitment to innovation based on user needs. The company aims to provide greater flexibility and control over conversations, catering to the preferences of its community.

Currently undergoing trials in select markets, the new feature empowers users to adjust retention settings on a conversation-by-conversation basis. Flexibility remains paramount, with participants able to modify settings within chats and receive in-chat notifications to ensure transparency.

Snapchat underscores that the default auto-delete feature will persist, reinforcing its design philosophy centered on ephemerality. However, with the app gaining traction as a primary messaging platform, the option offers users a means to preserve longer chat histories.

The update marks a pivotal moment for Snapchat, renowned for its disappearing message premise, especially popular among younger demographics. Retaining this focus has been pivotal to Snapchat’s identity, but the shift suggests a broader strategy aimed at diversifying its user base.

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This strategy may appeal particularly to older demographics, potentially extending Snapchat’s relevance as users age. By emulating features of conventional messaging platforms, Snapchat seeks to enhance its appeal and broaden its reach.

Yet, the introduction of message retention poses questions about Snapchat’s uniqueness. While addressing user demands, the risk of diluting Snapchat’s distinctiveness looms large.

As Snapchat ventures into uncharted territory, the outcome of this experiment remains uncertain. Will message retention propel Snapchat to new heights, or will it compromise the platform’s uniqueness?

Only time will tell.

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

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Catering to specific audience boosts your business, says accountant turned coach

While it is tempting to try to appeal to a broad audience, the founder of alcohol-free coaching service Just the Tonic, Sandra Parker, believes the best thing you can do for your business is focus on your niche. Here’s how she did just that.

When running a business, reaching out to as many clients as possible can be tempting. But it also risks making your marketing “too generic,” warns Sandra Parker, the founder of Just The Tonic Coaching.

“From the very start of my business, I knew exactly who I could help and who I couldn’t,” Parker told My Biggest Lessons.

Parker struggled with alcohol dependence as a young professional. Today, her business targets high-achieving individuals who face challenges similar to those she had early in her career.

“I understand their frustrations, I understand their fears, and I understand their coping mechanisms and the stories they’re telling themselves,” Parker said. “Because of that, I’m able to market very effectively, to speak in a language that they understand, and am able to reach them.” 

“I believe that it’s really important that you know exactly who your customer or your client is, and you target them, and you resist the temptation to make your marketing too generic to try and reach everyone,” she explained.

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“If you speak specifically to your target clients, you will reach them, and I believe that’s the way that you’re going to be more successful.

Watch the video for more of Sandra Parker’s biggest lessons.

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

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Instagram Tests Live-Stream Games to Enhance Engagement

Instagram’s testing out some new options to help spice up your live-streams in the app, with some live broadcasters now able to select a game that they can play with viewers in-stream.

As you can see in these example screens, posted by Ahmed Ghanem, some creators now have the option to play either “This or That”, a question and answer prompt that you can share with your viewers, or “Trivia”, to generate more engagement within your IG live-streams.

That could be a simple way to spark more conversation and interaction, which could then lead into further engagement opportunities from your live audience.

Meta’s been exploring more ways to make live-streaming a bigger consideration for IG creators, with a view to live-streams potentially catching on with more users.

That includes the gradual expansion of its “Stars” live-stream donation program, giving more creators in more regions a means to accept donations from live-stream viewers, while back in December, Instagram also added some new options to make it easier to go live using third-party tools via desktop PCs.

Live streaming has been a major shift in China, where shopping live-streams, in particular, have led to massive opportunities for streaming platforms. They haven’t caught on in the same way in Western regions, but as TikTok and YouTube look to push live-stream adoption, there is still a chance that they will become a much bigger element in future.

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Which is why IG is also trying to stay in touch, and add more ways for its creators to engage via streams. Live-stream games is another element within this, which could make this a better community-building, and potentially sales-driving option.

We’ve asked Instagram for more information on this test, and we’ll update this post if/when we hear back.

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