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Why Your LinkedIn “Who’s Viewed My Updates” is Missing

Lost from LinkedIn

Do you ever feel like you've been left out, or not appreciated? That's how I feel with LinkedIn at the moment.

Rolling out certain features to a limited set of random users with lack of communication seems to be a worrying trend amongst social networks and other technology companies...

UPDATE (November 1, 2013): Shortly after my paid subscription to LinkedIn expired I realised that I suddenly had "Who's Viewed My Updates"! I wonder whether I've suddenly become part of the testing group. Absolute madness that I get this useful feature after downgrading. 


200 Million LinkedIn UsersDo you use LinkedIn? There is no doubt that it is a powerful network. There has been a huge growth in its user base over the past few years- with over 225 million users as of June 2013. I've been a member since 2004, although if truth be told, I've only been using it actively for the past 3 years, and seeing its power and usefulness.

Over the past year or so, LinkedIn have made some great improvements to the user experience with a revamp of user profiles. It's now possible to build up a portfolio of recent work including presentations, documents, videos and other media files.

One powerful feature of LinkedIn, particularly for premium users, is the ability of seeing who has viewed your profile. If this was a feature on Facebook, you'd be forgiven for thinking this was a truly dreadful idea and an invasion of privacy worthy of the NSA. However, this is LinkedIn, and LinkedIn is a business social networking platform for professionals. It's a place to list professional information about yourself- not a place to post holiday snaps and other personal information! Finding out who is viewing your profile is a useful way to connect with people, generate leads and find out ways to optimise your LinkedIn profile and its reach. Free users can view limited information on this and I think this probably fine for new users to LinkedIn or if you haven't had the time to invest into using LinkedIn to its full power.


A More Personalized LinkedIn Homepage?

Who's Viewed Your ProfileLinkedIn added two new feature backs on June 26, 2013 and made the announcement in their blog, entitled "A More Personalized LinkedIn Homepage". The new features were "Who’s Viewed Your Updates" and "You Recently Visited".

The "Who's Viewed Your Updates" was of particular interest to me. It is a new box that appears on your LinkedIn homepage (on the right hand side) that shows you how many people have viewed your updates, how many likes and how many comments.

I post updates on LinkedIn to share my interest and knowledge in digital marketing, social media, web development and technology. I regularly share articles I find interesting and share my thoughts on them. It's a way to connect with other people, discuss topics with like minded people and try to highlight my expertise. The problem is, it is very difficult to actually measure the success of these LinkedIn updates. You can view how many comments or likes on each update, but that isn't very effective. This new feature from LinkedIn promised to change this and I have to say I was very excited about it. LinkedIn also said that they were not going to charge for this service. A little odd, because many people find very few reasons to having a paid account as it is!


How Slow Can you Roll?

Swiss RollIn the original announcement they said "Today we are introducing two new features..." with nothing about this being a test feature or something being slowly rolled out to their 225 million users. But that is exactly what it is- it has only been rolled out to a selected number of people (apparently random). As you can guess, I am not one of the lucky people!

It's common to push out changes in batches across your user base (kind of like A/B split testing). It helps with usability, bug fixes and working out how it can be improved.

The problem in this case is that LinkedIn haven't communicated their intentions very well. That can breed bad feelings. That's not good- all businesses need their customers on their side because they are the best people placed to do their marketing for them- to communicate how good their experiences have been.

Here are my issues with that LinkedIn have done:

  • They made a big announcement of a "cool new feature" but forgot to mention that it was only available to a subset of users.
  • No communication as to when this would be available to all users
  • Lack of value for premium LinkedIn users. It doesn't matter if you are a free or paid user. If you're not in the testing group you are out of luck.
  • It has been 4 months since the announcement. That is a long time. How much testing do they need to do? How long do we have to wait?

Chatting with LinkedIn

It was drawn to my attention when I was chatting with a lovely lady called Lisa Chilvers from Athena Business Solutions a few weeks back. She was telling me about the power of the "Who's Viewed Your Updates" feature in showing you your reach and effectiveness in delivering a message. I nodded enthusiastically, but it slowly dawned on me that I was missing the feature! I did a bit of searching, at it seemed I wasn't the only person.

So, I decided to contact LinkedIn and make my complaint. I was, after all, a Premium LinkedIn user. That means I am an important person to LinkedIn surely? And... what on earth was I paying them for?! So, armed with the trusted (and fabulous) article by Kristi Hines entitled "How to Contact Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Other Social Networks", I found the contact page and crafted my response. (UPDATE November 1, 2013 - as I mentioned above I now have access to the "Who's Viewed Your Updates" feature- shortly after I downgraded my account to the free version. How strange!)

Here is what I wrote...

After reading a few discussions online it seems that despite your announcement of the "Who's viewed my updates" feature back in June that has only been rolled out to some users as part of internal testing.

This is very frustrating. Not only am I a premium user and a loyal LinkedIn user since 2004 it seems very strange to announce the feature without any reference to restrictions or limited roll out.

Since I am working in the digital marketing and social marketing industry I really want to be able to have this feature.

I understand that giving some more people access to this will skew your internal statistics, but you must understand my feelings on this. Can you give me an idea when this is going to be rolled out to all users and when I can expect to have access? I am already in the position of re-thinking the advantages of being a premium user and this is just one more reason to downgrade to being a free user. I hope you understand where I am coming from here.

Best wishes,

Ian

I was trying to get that sweet spot between understanding and complaining. Hope you're impressed!

However, I was less than impressed with the reply that LinkedIn gave (although to give them credit, they replied fairly quickly)....

Thanks for your enthusiasm and interest in LinkedIn's feature developments. We understand that some people might prefer to opt in or out of these feature tests. But since it could distort the results and would require a lot of extra tracking, the ability to opt in or out of this feature is not available.

We're continually developing product features to enhance your LinkedIn experience. Periodically, enhancements are tested on a limited scale before doing a full scale release to the entire membership. To get the best results and control distortion of the results, our test participants are systematically chosen from a cross section of members. Because of this, you may become part of a test program before a full roll out to our mass membership occurs.

As with any feature, we encourage you to provide your feedback on the feature test through one of the "Feedback" links available throughout the site or by clicking on the "Send Feedback" link found at the bottom of your homepage. This information will not receive a Customer Service response. Instead, your comments are directly routed to the Product Team. Because they are so busy testing the enhancement they will review your comments but they usually won't respond to your comments.

Feedback from members like you is extremely helpful in shaping how new features are finally released. Thanks again for sharing your opinions!
Regards,

****
Customer Experience Advocate

Typical. They hadn't actually bothered to read my original message. They had copied and pasted their standard "Thanks for your enthusiasm and interest in LinkedIn's feature developments" response which you will see posted on other forums across the web. They didn't give me any idea of when the feature I was enquiring about would be rolled out to all users and no reason was given why premium members weren't included.

So, I responded...

Hi ****,

I understand to save time and to be efficient you use the standard response beginning "thanks for your enthusiasm..." etc. - I tried to make it clear I understood why you were adopting the limited roll out in my initial comment. I was just trying to say that as a premium member I am getting frustrated that I don't have access to this. I am not sure I am getting a huge advantage from the premium features.

Would you be able to answer my question "Can you give me an idea when this is going to be rolled out to all users and when I can expect to have access?" as well as if there is a beta testers group I can join?

Thanks.

Again, I am being pretty understanding don't you think?! Unfortunately, despite saying they understand, I got a fairly bland reply...

...we do not have a date right now of when the feature will be rolled out to all of our members. We do send out updates to the new features on our blog, http://blog.linkedin.com, including release dates. I will send your request to our Products team so they know you are interested in the new feature in case they are looking to take on new accounts for the new feature.

I am sorry for any inconvenience this may cause and please let me know if you have further questions.

****

Maybe I give up too easily, but I left it there. At the end of the day, LinkedIn can do what they want whether I pay them or not. Despite that, I think this is an example of bad practice and communication. I have also cancelled my premium membership. I may upgrade again in the future, so I suppose this is like a mini protest vote!


Conclusion

So, what do you think? Have you got this feature? Do you even care? Have you ever contacted a social network? What has your experience been like?

Thanks for listening!

39 Comments
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Sara

Your conversation with customer services is just so typical of customer services from so many organizations all over the world. I have had similar experiences. Why organizations choose an approach that not just wastes their own time and resources but also makes them look foolish for not being able to read a simple message is something I cannot understand. Is it part of some grand strategy or scheme or something mentioned in management books?? It’s amazing just how commonplace such experiences are.

Kresten

Well – it’s not back yet. Certainly not on free accounts.

Really crappy as they have the number published in the top section of your profile screen.

Really hopes this will change as it was a valuable piece of information on how your updates was doing. Now you are left with a view number on a random update you shared.

Not good!

Desiree De Cecchis

Good news! It’s coming back!

I have managed to get trough to someone, here is the pasted conversation:

My question to them:
What happened to: who’s viewed your updates? Will it come back? I did find it to be the most useful tool!

The reply:

Hi Desiree,
Thanks for reaching out about this issue.

We recently removed the WVYU feature from the Homepage due to some issues we were experiencing. Our engineers are working to fix those issues and re-implement the feature within the next few weeks.
I do apologize for the inconvenience this has caused. Thanks for reaching out and for your patience as we work to get this feature back up and running.

If you have any additional questions, please feel free to let me know.

Have a great weekend!

Stephanie

Senior Customer Experience Advocate

Zorka Kovacevich

Wow!! What wonderful news and how terrific that you actually got a real response, on topic, and not a form letter! I’m thrilled and thank you very much for sharing this info and kudos to Ian because without this forum where would we be?

Desiree De Cecchis

Agree, thanks Ian!

Desiree De Cecchis

Just shared, let’s start the revolution!

Desiree De Cecchis

Hi, I used to have this very useful feature, however, about 3 weeks ago, without any changes to my account, it has gone. I am really frustrated, as it was probably the more valuable feature….

Zorka Kovacevich

Hi Desiree, That’s exactly what happened to me, too! It’s really too bad because it made sharing content on Linkedin a lot more fun. Chances are that someone at Linkedin decided it is not aligned to their current plan which is very much focused on getting members to publish blogs and articles.

Desiree De Cecchis

To be honest I may have some time to share an update, but definitely not to write a blog or articles, shame, I may just stop with the Premium charge, as it isn’t really giving me any added value any more!

Desiree De Cecchis

How do you think we may be able to push the issue with them?, maybe we could organize some kind of petition?

Desiree De Cecchis

What contact detail have you found for them? I am pretty sure that they aren’t reachable on the phone, unfortunately with mails you always end up with the same standard replies!

Zorka Kovacevich

I know what you mean about the Premium Plans, but it doesn’t mean they’re not valuable to certain users. I’ve paid for Premium on and off, but only at those times when I needed it. Free Linkedin has a lot to offer and is mostly uncharted by the average user as a relationship and business development tool. In the end, whatever we chose to use, free or paid depends on having a strategy to fulfill.

Zorka Kovacevich

That’s true, Ian because it takes a bit of time to sort out what’s available and the value you’ll receive for your money and how to use the tools we pay for once we have them.

Desiree De Cecchis

Hi Zorka; of course, don’t get me wrong, LinkedIn is a great tool, only the premium rate is not really justifiable!, I , like Ian, do not use in mail and recommendation.

ellepixal

My employer pays for premium and this “Who viewed my updates” feature is missing. I don’t have premium and I don’t have that feature either. I do recall seeing it on one of our accounts.
Back to the paid Premium. I agree, what are people paying for as there is next to nothing in the right hand column of his premium home page.
Isn’t this a publicly traded company? Doesn’t anyone at Linkedin care about the user experience?

Chloe Soroquere

Hi Ian, I used to have the feature which I thought was great. But it as disapeared recently wen they moved the Updates under the profile section and I am a premium member.
I have always been frustrated by the either non-existent custoner service or canned/generic answers provided by all the “Social Networks”. Linked In is still the best of the worst as they do answer while google and facebook are seriously deficient. Twitter is metzo metzo. However it amazes me how most users don’t know or don’t care. As long as customers take this lack of responsiveness as OK, the networks will never change.

Zorka Kovacevich

I recently lost this feature. It was nice to have while it lasted. Wonder where it went? As for the customer communications: I expect to see even more canned responses especially from well established companies like Linkedin. They’re just not hungry enough to care anymore.

Zorka Kovacevich

Maybe they will change, Ian, but I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting. Personalized service costs money, lots of it and there’s no practical impetus for any large social platform to spend it on customer service since they already have us hooked as a dependent, captive audience. Looking at it from their end, it makes business sense since individuals on their own are not critical to the bottom-line and only massive groups of users, as a whole are meaningful.

Zorka Kovacevich

Not necessarily a reason for them to give you more especially if they want to hold all the cards and define the customer relationship based on highly rigid set of rules. Once those are in place, costs are contained as no man-power is required. So what if they lose a few customers here and there… I’m certain that it’s far less trouble compared to training personnel.

raymondb441

Hi Ian, I hunted hi and lo on the web to find an answer and your posting was the closest I came to answering my question. So, I have the “who’s viewed your updates” feature, but it doesn’t look like the picture in your posting. Mine has the innermost circle (representing 1st connections i presume) completely filled in and says 27 Views. This only tells me the number of views my update had, specifically saying “27 of your connections saw your update” when I hover. What I really want to know is who are the 27 people who viewed the update. Your posting and others seem to imply that the feature should provide this information. Do I have some earlier version? I am not seeing any dots sprinkled in the various circles showing me like or comments either. Did I get the beta version and LinkedIn forgot to upgrade? So very frustrating, like seeing presents under the tree on Xmas eve and having to wait until morning to open them…only I don’t know when morning is coming. HELP!

Maureen Ryan

This is exactly what I see…I can see how many views but not who. With the premium account I can get general stats (industry, titles, geographic area, level of position) of viewers, but not exact names/profiles for follow up, connectionot, and shared learning unless they happen to “like” or post a comment. I’m also interested within my own org who’s interested and paying attention…could either be early adopters (more likely) or laggers. But always a great reason to build follow up for building internal understanding, learning, and listening.

Jenn Herman

Hi Ian! Great post and I honestly didn’t know it wasn’t rolled out to everyone. Though when it comes to LinkedIn features it seems no two users ever have the same features. I don’t know how they can possibly track and test these features when there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how they distribute all their new features. That being said, yes I do have the “who’s viewed your updates” feature and it’s pretty darn cool. It’s really nice to see which posts get shared beyond your 1st level connections and at what frequency. It’s definitely helped me to determine what readers on LinkedIn are looking for. And, no, I am not a premium user. It seems a lot like when Facebook introduces new features as well. I almost always opt-in or sign up for early access to a new feature and yet I am often one of the last to get the feature. And people who had no interest in the new feature, or who didn’t even know about, and who certainly didn’t opt-in for it, always get it before me. I can’t understand how these companies decide who does and who doesn’t get access. It… Read more »

Ryan Biddulph

Hi Ian,

I do not have this feature.

Def fail in sharing the buzz and new develop without following up across the board; ie- rolling it out for almost everybody within a period of weeks.

Thanks for the share!

Katherine Kotaw

A social media site that can’t manage to be sociable in response to a customer query needs to rethink its mission statement.

Ashley Faulkes

Hey Ian, some tough love there from LinkedIn. Seems a bit sub-optimal from my perspective, especially for a company dealing with…….social media! Ironic huh. It is not entirely surprising that they are too big to know what is going on (actually how big are they?) and do not entirely care – actually somehow it is a little surprising (I am correcting myself now) afterall they had an IPO and are in the big league now, but still not Google size.
Anyway, pity you got left out. Nice effort for trying and throwing their auto-mail back in their face. It seems to have bounced though :>

have a great day
ashley