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LinkedIn Provides New Insight into How it’s Improving the Quality of its Search Results



LinkedIn Provides New Insight into How it’s Improving the Quality of its Search Results

Looking to get a better handle on LinkedIn, and how its algorithms surface certain content in different forms?

Today, LinkedIn has shared a new overview of how it’s refining its search and discovery elements, with its search algorithm now putting less focus on alignment to your noted interests over time, and more on maximizing broader discovery, while also incorporating diversity considerations into the mix.

As explained by LinkedIn:

Post search saw strong organic growth in 2020, with a 35% year-over-year increase in user engagement. As we watched content continue to grow and diversify on the platform, the Flagship Search team saw an opportunity to improve the Post search tech stack’s agility, with a strategic priority to enable members to create, find, share, and have productive conversations around high-quality content on LinkedIn.

As engagement levels have continued to rise in the app, it’s been working to surface more relevant, engaging content, to keep people commenting and interacting, which has led to a re-thinking of how its search tools highlight matches, in order to improve those stats.

As a result, LinkedIn says that it has now re-imagined its search architecture, and removed certain elements that restricted the results you’d see:

“The first phase removed feed-mixer from the call stack and moved fanout and blending into the search federator. The second phase removed interest-discovery. This enabled us to get rid of all the cruft built up over the years and simplified the stack by removing additional layers of data manipulation.

Okay, these more technical explanations can get painful (trust me, I know), but basically, what’s happened is that LinkedIn has eliminated some of the elements that narrowed your search results based on your noted interests, which LinkedIn’s system had established over time, based on your engagement patterns.

Up till now, you’d have been more likely to see content posted by people working in certain sectors or on specific topics. But now, the system will take a broader view of content from across the app to show you a wider scope of possible matches, which will also help LinkedIn highlight more engaging content from all users.

Which is similar to the approach that TikTok takes, in highlighting engaging content from across the app in its ‘For You’ feed, as opposed to restricting what it can display based on who you’ve chosen to follow. This expanded approach facilitates even more engagement and interaction, because the system has more scope to show you the best content from anyone, as opposed to filtering things down based on your more personally refined scope.

Which could also make the results less relevant – though LinkedIn says that it’s also accounted for this:

LinkedIn search infrastructure

As you can see in this new and improved search algorithm matrix, member context remains a key consideration, but it also incorporates more elements to improve the quality of its expanded search results.

LinkedIn has also built in a new diversity element to ensure more exposure to a wider breadth of creators.

The Diversity re-ranker forms our last layer and helps us inject diverse content in the top positions. This includes increasing discovery of potentially viral content for trending queries, reducing duplication of similar content, etc.

The end result is that users are being shown a wider breadth of content relevant to their query, while LinkedIn is also helping to amplify members from more diverse background within its display.

Which has led to significant engagement improvements.

Pertinent results, which are highly relevant to the user’s search query, have led to an aggregate click-through rate improvement of over 10%. Increased distribution of posts from within the searcher’s social network, their geographic location, and in their preferred language have led to a 20% increase in messaging within the searcher’s network.

So more members are getting more direct messages as a result of these changes, along with the noted engagement improvements.

But LinkedIn’s not done refining its search results yet.

The platform’s also working on highlighting more topical results within search results, in order to help users tap into related, trending topics, while it’s also testing ways to better highlight content from prominent LinkedIn creators.

Results are ranked today mainly by using viewer-side utility functions such as likelihood of a click, user action originating from search, etc. To support our creators, we will evolve this ranking, along with our experimentation and testing stack, to also optimize for creator-side utilities, such as content creation or distribution for emerging creators.”

Promoting creators has become a key focus for all social networks, including LinkedIn, which has been working on new tools and elements to help creators build their audience in the app, including improved profile video tools, new analytics insights, newsletters, live videos, and more.

Eventually, according to these notes, that will also see these creators get a search boost as well, which could be another way to incentivize more dedicated LinkedIn community building.

It’s interesting to note how LinkedIn is looking to reform its Search tools, and to consider what that means for discovery in the app. For the most part, it should be beneficial, with the expanded Search breadth helping more users connect with posts and people beyond their immediate network, though it may also lead to some changes in your discovery stats, because of that shift.

Either way, it’s worth noting in your LinkedIn creation process. And with the platform continuing to see ‘record levels’ of engagement, it may well be worth paying more attention to your LinkedIn engagement, and considering how these search updates may influence your performance.

You can read LinkedIn’s full ‘Improving Post Search’ overview here.

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Confidence, perseverance, courage: Jackie Leigh’s voyage through adversity



Jackie Leigh

Photo courtesy Jackie Leigh

Opinions expressed by Digital Journal contributors are their own.

When Jackie Leigh first decided to start posting content online, her life was anything but business as usual. The world was in the middle of a pandemic. She spent most of her time at home, just like anyone else. The school was out.

Still, none of that prepared her for the effects her burgeoning online presence would have on her life when things started going back to normal, and school resumed. Knowing that she worked better in a less structured environment, she attended online school.

“It’s gratifying to do what I do, but life has some tough moments, and you have to do what works best for you,” Jackie Leigh explains. “And the trick is to enjoy the good and deal with the bad, like with anything else in life.”

When it comes to enjoying the good and having an influencer career that’s reaping the rewards, her confidence was the one personality trait she found to be the most important. “I am shy and quiet, but I’m confident about myself,” she explains. “I say what I want, try to do what I want, and I don’t need to meld in a group to be safe. I’d rather be interesting and risqué than safe.”

Her confidence has also protected her from some of the more sinister aspects of having a career that involves taking pictures and posting them online. Body image issues are prominent among models and creators who cannot help but compare themselves with the impossible standards presented in photoshopped images.

Her weight isn’t something she obsesses over. It’s normal for her weight to fluctuate, and there are better things to obsess over when one is in the content creation business. Things like making sure to post the exact right picture from the dozens, and sometimes even hundreds, of photos she takes for every social media post.

While confidence helped her deal with the challenging bullying situation, her courage enabled her to persevere and continue building her online career. All of it happened at a time when her life was a bigger mess than the ordinary teenager’s life– her mom was undergoing an operation to treat her cancer at that time. Yet, she never flinched, never veered.

“I’ve never had too many friends. I’m a shy and quiet person,” she explains. “But I’m not afraid to say or do the things that others are too afraid to, and I’m not afraid of possible consequences. I don’t want to spend time at a place where I might be jumped. But having that happened to me, I learned it only gave me more power to be even more invested in what I do.”

Setbacks and all, Jackie Leigh, made her choices, and she’s firmly decided to live by them. With her career kicking off even more, this year and her expansion to other platforms, she’s hopeful she won’t need to reach for all those traits that helped her through the tumultuous first years of her online career. “It’s good to know those personality traits are there,” she adds.

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Twitter Launches Test of Ad Targeting Based Specifically on Search Queries in the App



Twitter Launches Test of Ad Targeting Based Specifically on Search Queries in the App

Twitter has launched a new ad option that will enable advertisers to place Promoted Tweets within specific search results, enabling more specific targeting based on user intent.

As noted by Twitter, ‘Search Keyword Ads’ will enable marketers to hone in on specific keyword searches. So if a user in a certain region searches for ‘pizza’, for example, you’d be able to get ads for your restaurant within that search result listing, helping to connect with people based on what they’re seeking.

Which is pretty much the same as Twitter’s existing Keyword Targeting option, though Keyword Targeting can’t be focused on Search results in isolation.

As per Twitter:

Search Keywords Ads differ from other Twitter Keywords campaigns in that they only reach people who are searching for targeted terms when they are searching, offering a stronger signal of intent.”

Keyword Targeting enables you to reach Twitter users based on the keywords that they enter into search queries, but also, what they mention in their tweets, as well as the words included in the tweets that they engage with in the app. Which is a good proxy for broader intent – and Twitter also provides Broad Match targeting to capture variations of your selected terms. But targeting search terms specifically could be a better way to get your promotions in front of people who are focused on that specific topic based on their direct actions taken in the app.

In terms of display, with Keyword Targeting, you can also show your ads in Search results, but placement in Home timelines is also required. So again, it’s the same, just a little more specific.

(Worth noting, too, that you were once able to target search results specifically with Keyword Targeting, but Twitter removed that option. Maybe that relates to reduced performance, but it’s not clear.)

Will the capacity to get more specific be a valuable option?

Maybe. I mean, having the capacity to better focus your targeting is always better, and the fact that you can hone in on the words used in search queries makes a lot of sense, and should be of value. But Twitter’s current Keyword Targeting isn’t always a highly responsive ad option, to the point that Twitter recommends entering at least 25-50 keywords into each campaign, and targeting both broad and specific terms in order to maximize audience reach.

Because too much targeting will limit your results – and it is interesting that as other platforms are going more broad with their targeting, and leaning into automation, Twitter’s getting more specific.

Maybe that works, and for some local businesses, I suspect it might. But it could also be too restrictive, depending on how you use it.

But again, having the option is good, and you can test for yourself, with Twitter’s beta test being rolled out to all advertisers in the app.

Which, I don’t think is how beta tests generally work, but it’s ‘Twitter 2.0’, the normal rules don’t apply here.

“Search Keywords Ads are a new Conversion ‘campaign objective’ in the Twitter Ads interface. For now, these campaigns will optimize only for conversions to advertiser websites, and they require the integration of the Twitter Pixel or Conversion API (CAPI) to maximize relevance.

So Twitter will be looking to track direct performance based on website clicks, in order to measure whether that’s the best approach moving forward.

It could be worth experimenting with, and seeing what results you get – and you can always A/B test with full Keyword Targeting to compare, and see whether expanding that focus drives better results.

Twitter says that Search Keyword Ads will be expanded to more campaign objectives soon.

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Valentino and Dior bet on K-pop amid China tensions. Will it pay off?



Valentino and Dior bet on K-pop amid China tensions. Will it pay off?

Since January, Suga has been part of Valentino’s ambassadors called Di.Vas, short for Different Values, and will appear in a campaign in collaboration with GQ across print, online and social media. “He has the capacity to express all the values of the brand and of a generation he speaks for in his spontaneous and contemporary way. Each Valentino Di.Vas plays a key role in sustaining the new vision of the company,” according to Valentino.

In China, it’s a different story. When South Korea deployed a US Terminal High-Altitude Area Defense (Thaad) anti-missile system in August 2016, Beijing’s policymakers were angered. Chinese officials viewed the Thaad deployment as another American effort to contain China, while South Korea argued that the shield was for protection against North Korea’s nuclear threat. In retaliation, China took aim at South Korea by banning its prized cultural exports, such as TV shows and music. 

Throughout 2021, the Chinese government strengthened regulation of the entertainment industry to “reduce frenzied idol worshipping” of celebrities. In September that year, 22 fan accounts, including those of BTS, were suspended by Chinese social media network Weibo for what it called “irrational star-chasing behaviour”. China’s National Radio and Television Administration (NRTA) also instructed broadcasters to ban television appearances of 娘泡 (niang pao) — a derogatory term for androgynous or effeminate men. The move was widely viewed as a measure to antagonise K-pop, since Korean male stars are often known for their pretty looks. 

In November 2022, Chinese tech giant Tencent unexpectedly resumed the online streaming of South Korean movie Hotel by the River, prompting speculation around whether China may lift its ban on Korean entertainment. Today, there isn’t a flat ban on hallyu — or the Korean wave, used in relation to Korean culture — in China, but local media may omit K-pop activities out of respect for their country, says Elisa Harca, co-founder and Asia CEO of Red Ant Asia, a marketing agency that works with global brands including Balmain and Byredo to navigate China. 

Luxury may be turning to Korean stars as “an act of risk control”, says Jasmine Zhu, managing partner of Epico Partners, a Hong Kong-based growth consultancy. Korean nationals are now the world’s biggest spenders per capita on personal luxury goods, with an average spend per year of $325, according to a report published by Morgan Stanley this month. It’s far more than the $55 and $280 per capita currently spent by Chinese and American nationals, according to the investment firm’s estimates. “[Brands are] deprioritising China as a result of the country’s Covid policies, lockdowns and economical instabilities in recent years,” says Zhu.

Korea’s enduring appeal

Enhypen generated $7.2 million in earned media value (EMV) — nearly a quarter of Prada’s overall EMV of $31.6 million, making them “the most impactful influencers” at Milan men’s fashion week, according to Hugo Ramos, brand analyst at influencer and analytics firm Lefty. The outsized attention that Enhypen has been able to bring is indicative of why luxury brands are partnering with Korean talent. K-pop stars have broad appeal outside of their home country; and as a relatively new genre, they also appeal to a very young audience — an increasingly important demographic for luxury brands. 

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