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LinkedIn tests New ‘Discover’ Feed, New Groups Elements in Order to Enhance Engagement

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LinkedIn tests New ‘Discover’ Feed, New Groups Elements in Order to Enhance Engagement

LinkedIn has announced some new updates to help facilitate more discovery and engagement in the app, including a new ‘Discover’ feed, more contextual info on job listings and updates for groups.

Each of these updates has some level of functional value, and it’ll be interesting to see how LinkedIn members take to the options, or not, over the coming months.

First off, LinkedIn’s currently testing a new ‘Discover’ feed, which, as is the trend of the moment in social media, aims to highlight algorithmically recommended content that you may be interested in, based on your in-app activity.

As you can see in these example screens, LinkedIn’s Discover feed will highlight newsletters, videos, events and more, matched to you, based on your interests. So it’s kind of like TikTok’s ‘For You’ feed, but for professional updates on LinkedIn.

Sounds weird? Yeah, it kind of seems it.

I mean, it could be good, but whether people really want to see an expanded set of updates from people and businesses that they don’t already follow, and aren’t already connected to, seems questionable, given established behaviors in the app.

Still, it’s worth an experiment, and it’ll be interesting to see whether it helps the platform build on its current ‘record levels’ of engagement. It could also provide more capacity for discovery among LinkedIn users that are interested in your sector – which could be another reason to keep your LinkedIn content flowing.

LinkedIn’s been testing the new feed over the past month, with some users now seeing the new Discover tab in the app.

Here’s a video of how it works in practice:

On another front, LinkedIn’s also adding a new ‘Meet the team’ section on the details page in job listings, in order to help applicants get a better feel for who the team is, what they’re working towards, as well as links to their LinkedIn profiles, so candidates can get a better understanding of what they’re interested in, and passionate about.

LinkedIn Meet the Hiring team

As you can see in this example, the new display will feature both the job poster as well as members of the hiring team that shared the job.

“In addition, it will show the mutual connections (including 2nd-degree connections) between the applicant and the hiring team, to help facilitate a productive conversation.”

LinkedIn’s also testing a new ‘Celebrations’ display in your ‘Notifications’ stream, in order to better enable members to keep up with the latest job milestones, changes, work anniversaries, etc.

LinkedIn Celebrations

As you can see here, the new prompts will give you more ways to stay in touch with your connections, based on key changes and events. It could be a good way to stay front of mind with important connections – though it could also lead to more spam (like templated birthday messages from people who never engage with you otherwise).

Finally, LinkedIn’s also adding some new elements for LinkedIn Groups, the once thriving engagement element that, for a long time now, has been largely ignored, and has become so filled with spam in many groups that it’s just not worth joining.

Still, LinkedIn says that many people get significant value from Groups:

We often hear from members how much they cherish their LinkedIn Groups experience. For millions of professionals around the world, groups are the go-to for advice, support, and industry tips on LinkedIn.”

‘Cherish’ seems like an exuberant descriptor here, but nonetheless, LinkedIn’s looking to foster more group engagement, with new features like additional acceptance criteria for joining a group, and personalized welcome notes for new members.

LinkedIn groups updates

Not sure they add much to the overall groups experience, but they do provide more ways for group admins to manage their communities, which could ensure more people do indeed ‘cherish’ their time in groups.

These new options don’t offer a heap of functional value, but they are enhancements to the current LinkedIn experience, which could have value in varying use cases and contexts.

The options also move LinkedIn more into line with other social apps, with algorithmic recommendations, improved group tools and more.

Which makes a lot of sense, and at the least, it’s worth LinkedIn trying these things out, in order to see what types of response it can get.



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Cheeky branding wins (and missteps)

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Cheeky branding wins (and missteps)

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Branding and rebranding is getting more fun, here we look at some of cheekiest brands that have caught our eye – for the right and wrong reasons.



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Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

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Google Outlines Ongoing Efforts to Combat China-Based Influence Operations Targeting Social Apps

Over the past year, Google has repeatedly noted that a China-based group has been looking to use YouTube, in particular, to influence western audiences, by building various channels in the app, then seeding them with pro-China content.

There’s limited info available on the full origins or intentions of the group, but today, Google has published a new overview of its ongoing efforts to combat the initiative, called DRAGONBRIDGE.

As explained by Google:

In 2022, Google disrupted over 50,000 instances of DRAGONBRIDGE activity across YouTube, Blogger, and AdSense, reflecting our continued focus on this actor and success in scaling our detection efforts across Google products. We have terminated over 100,000 DRAGONBRIDGE accounts in the IO network’s lifetime.

As you can see in this chart, DRAGONBRIDGE is by far the most prolific source of coordinated information operations that Google has detected over the past year, while Google also notes that it’s been able to disrupt most of the project’s attempted influence, by snuffing out its content before it gets seen.

Dragonbridge

Worth noting the scale too – as Google notes, DRAGONBRIDGE has created more than 100,000 accounts, which includes tens of thousands of YouTube channels. Not individual videos, entire channels in the app, which is a huge amount of work, and content, that this group is producing.

That can’t be cheap, or easy to keep running. So they must be doing it for a reason.

The broader implication, which has been noted by various other publications and analysts, is that DRAGONBRIDGE is potentially being supported by the Chinese Government, as part of a broader effort to influence foreign policy approaches via social media apps. 

Which, at this kind of scale, is a concern, while DRAGONBRIDGE has also targeted Facebook och Twitter as well, at different times, and it could be that their efforts on those platforms are also reaching similar activity levels, and may not have been detected as yet.

Which then also relates to TikTok, a Chinese-owned app that now has massive influence over younger audiences in western nations. If programs like this are already in effect, it stands to reason that TikTok is also likely a key candidate for boosting the same, which remains a key concern among regulators and officials in many nations.

The US Government is reportedly weighing a full TikTok ban, and if that happens, you can bet that many other nations will follow suit. Many government organizations are also banning TikTok on official devices, based on advice from security experts, and with programs like DRAGONBRIDGE also running, it does seem like Chinese-based groups are actively operating influence and manipulation programs in foreign nations.

Which seems like a significant issue, and while Google is seemingly catching most of these channels before they have an impact, it also seems likely that this is only one element of a larger push.

Hopefully, through collective action, the impact of such can be limited – but for TikTok, which still reports to Chinese ownership, it’s another element that could raise further questions and scrutiny.

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The Drum | Trump’s Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

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The Drum | Trump's Instagram & Facebook Reinstatement Won’t Cause Marketers To Riot Yet, Experts Say

While the reinstatement of Donald Trump’s Twitter account in November had some advertisers packing up in protest, many will strike a different tune with Meta-owned Facebook and Instagram, experts predict.

Meta Wednesday announced that it’s lifting the ban on a handful of Facebook and Instagram accounts, including that of former US president Donald Trump – who was suspended nearly two years ago following the January 6, 2021 riots at the Capitol.

In a blog post yesterday, Nick Clegg, Meta’s president of global affairs, explained the reasons for the company’s decision, saying that it “evaluated the current environment” as it pertains to the socio-political landscape and security concerns and determined that “risk has sufficiently receded.” As a result, the company will welcome Trump back onto Facebook and Instagram.

The former president will be expected to comply with Meta’s user policies, but, considering his past violations, will face “heightened penalties for repeat offenses,” Clegg explained.

While it’s unclear whether Trump will become an active user on either platform following the decision, media and marketing experts are already sounding alarm bells at his potential return.

In particular, experts are cautious considering recent developments at Twitter. Elon Musk’s turbulent takeover – which has included mass layoffs, dramatic platform changes and the decision to reinstate the accounts of controversial figures like Trump and Kanye West (whose account has since been re-suspended) – has led to an exodus of advertisers. Could Meta’s decision to reintroduce Trump invite a similar fate?

‘Fear, frustration and protest’ could catalyze drawback

Concerns regarding brand safety and suitability on Facebook and Instagram are piquing among marketers. Trump’s presence on social media has long proven to exacerbate the spread of misinformation online. The risks of a potential recession, paired with new political tensions spurred by the 2022 midterms and the anticipation of the 2024 presidential election, may only up the ante.

“Misinformation on Meta’s platforms was an issue prior to Trump’s ban, during the ban and will likely continue to be an issue, even with the new [policies that] Meta has put in place,” says Laura Ries, group director of media and connections at IPG-owned ad agency R/GA. In light of this fact, Ries says, “Advertisers will need to continue to consider the type of content they’ll show up next to when evaluating whether or not to advertise on the platforms, especially as we march toward the 2024 election.”

She predicts that Meta may see some advertisers leave Facebook and Instagram “out of fear, frustration or protest.”

Others agree. “I suspect advertisers will not be pleased with this move and might make reductions in spend as they have done with Twitter,” says Tim Lim, a political strategist, PR consultant and partner at creative agency The Hooligans.

Although some advertisers are sure to pull back or cut their investments, the number will likely be low – largely because the scale and reach promised by both Facebook and Instagram will make it hard for most advertisers to quit. Smaller brands and startups in particular often rely heavily on Meta’s advertising business to spur growth, says Ries.

A ripple, not a wave

Most industry leaders believe Trump’s reinstatement won’t cause anything more than a ripple in the advertising industry. “Marketers who advertise on Facebook and Instagram care about their own problems, which generally [entail] selling more products and services,” says Joe Pulizzi, an entrepreneur, podcaster and author of various marketing books. “If Meta helps them do that, they don’t care one bit about brand safety – unless this blows up into a big political issue again. It might not, so marketers won’t do a thing.”

The sentiment is underscored by Dr Karen Freberg, a professor of strategic communications at University of Louisville, who says: “Facebook and Instagram are key fundamental platforms for advertisers. Marketers may … be aware of the news, but I am not sure if it will make a drastic change for the industry.” She points out that Twitter’s decision to lift the ban on Trump’s account in November caused such a big stir among marketers advertisers that Meta’s decision to do the same may come as less of a shock.

Trump’s return may even benefit Meta’s ads business by giving the company new opportunities to serve ads to Trump devotees, says Pulizzi. Ultimately, he says, Meta “needs personalities like Trump,” who, whether through love or hate, inspire higher engagement. “With Facebook plateauing and Instagram now chasing – and copying – TikTok at every turn, Trump’s follower base is important to Meta, which is hard to believe, but I think it’s true.”

But while some users may be energized by the former president’s return to Meta platforms, others may be outraged – even to the point of quitting Facebook and Instagram, points out Ries. In this case, she says, “advertisers will need to follow them to TikTok, Snap or other platforms where they’re spending their newfound time.”

R/GA, for its part, which services major brands including Google, Samsung, Verizon and Slack, will work on “a client by client basis” to address concerns about Facebook, Instagram or any other platform, says Ries. “R/GA recommended pausing activity on Facebook and Instagram after the insurrection and won’t hesitate to do so again if another incident occurs.”

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