LinkedIn Creator Mode - What, Why, and How much?
Updated: Apr 27
LinkedIn recently launched (over two months by the time this article was published) a Creator Mode which modifies the look and feel of your profile to other members. What is it? Does it matter? How would one measure success for such a launch? Let’s look at it from a Product Management lens where we start with the user needs then go to the solution, mockups, and metrics of success.
What is the user need?
I prefer to anchor such discussions to customer or user needs, so let’s look at that first. I am inferring the user needs based on the information on LinkedIn’s website and my experiences of publishing on LinkedIn. It seems LinkedIn members who create and share content (“Creator”) on LinkedIn face a few issues:
Members who want to keep up to date with a creator send add request to the creator, which either clutters the creator’s network or the member’s invitation is not accepted, leading to a feeling of rejection.
Creators want their activity feeds to highlight their creations, not smaller actions like comments they’ve written on posts.
Creators want to highlight the strength of their audience instead of the number of first-degree connections.
Creators want to highlight their content on their profiles.
Converting these to JTBD
We can note these needs down as user stories or jobs-to-be-done.
Image credits to Product Frameworks.
Any member on LinkedIn, including creators, want to accomplish these jobs:
When I see content I like, I want to subscribe/follow to content from the creator, so that I can ensure I can find more content of my preference.
When I request a member to connect on LinkedIn, I want to increase the likelihood that the member would accept my request and interact with me, So that I have genuine relationships with my social network connections on LinkedIn.
When I see content I like, I want to find recent or most popular content from the same creator, So that I can view potentially interesting content right away and decide whether I want to follow the creator.
When I view the profile or profile summary of a content creator on activity feeds, I want to see the content topics they are likely to post about, So that I can quickly decide whether I want to subscribe to future updates from the creator.
Creators on LinkedIn want to accomplish these jobs:
When a member views my profile, I want to highlight my recent creations, So that I can drive more interactions towards my recent content creations.
When a member views my profile, I want to highlight my select creations for example my most popular creations, So that I can drive more interactions with my creations and me.
When a member views my profile, I want to highlight stats about my audience rather than my professional connections, So that I can influence viewers to connect with me as an audience rather than attempt connecting as a professional connection.
When a member views my profile or activity, I want to prioritize showing my creations over engagement with my audience or with other members, So that members see content more relevant for them as well-made content is higher-value than ad-hoc responses.
You would have noticed I used generic terms where possible instead of specific terms such as like, follow, comment, subscribe, notify, since I want to talk about it from a platform-agnostic point of view to ensure we are focusing on the user needs and not anchoring our discussion to the existing product. Now that we have written high-level jobs to be done, let’s jump to the solution implemented next.
Solution Explained with a Before-after
The solution is described in LinkedIn’s support article I shared above. I could not find any “before-after” for LinkedIn Creator Mode, so I created that below. I have stitched together screenshots from my profile and some from random profiles.
There are four sets of differences:
The headline of the profile is accompanied by a “Talks about “ blurb.
The number of followers is highlighted before showing the number of connections.
The order of sections is different - Featured, Activity feed, and then About - instead of About, Featured, and then Activity feed.
The cards shown in the Activity feed are different - only content shared is shown, other lower-value activities such as comments and likes are not shown.
I tried to gather user feedback on the benefits users see out of the Creator Mode, but it seemed the rollout has been rather gradual or selective (which is not a bad thing in itself). Since I got 2375 views but not a single user commented or voted on the benefit, it could mean there was not a lot of adoption, or creators did not see any benefit, or my post did not reach the right audience, or my post was not persuasive enough to vote, etc. - a lot of hypotheses which can each be tested with further research - not the most important thing to spend time on right now.
How would LinkedIn Product Managers measure the success of their feature launch? Alternatively, how would they know something is not working as expected and needs a course correction?
There are different ways to group the metrics. Some examples are
Another higher-level grouping is metrics vs counter-metrics.
AIDA model of metrics for the funnel optimization.
Let’s pick some of these and discuss. Although I kept the user needs agnostic of LinkedIn terminology, I’ll use specific terminology in the metrics section, since we measure how the website is being used at present.
Acquisition or Awareness metrics:
How many days went by between when creator mode was offered to a user and they viewed it?
How many logins or sessions went by between when creator mode was offered to a user and the number of logins before they viewed it?
Often, “how many days” or “how many users” can mean average, median, mode, etc. I suggest starting with “what is the distribution like”? Based on that, you would know what is a meaningful statistical metric to use.
How many days between users viewing creator mode and them enabling it?
Out of the users offered creator mode, how many users turned it on?
An example of “what is the distribution like” here would be us checking how many users take how many days to turn it on after being offered the creator mode.
How many of the users who turned on creator mode switched it off after a few days or weeks?
Now that we are making it clearer to creators that LinkedIn can be a partner platform for their content and audience creation (See challenges I faced in Content and Audience Creation here), we want to review the advertising budget spent by creators on LinkedIn.
The total revenue created for LinkedIn ads.
The change in the revenue created by users who are now tagged as Creators.
The number of creators who signed up for an advertising account.
Impact or Engagement metrics:
This would reduce the number of Adds. How to measure whether that is good or bad? Review the average number of Add Requests per week for creators.
The percentage of accepted Add Requests by creators out of the total Add Requests a creator gets.
The percentage of accepted Add Requests that results in a 1-1 conversation within N days for a creator.
Number of comments by creators or posts - including posts by other members and posts by the same creator.
The change in the number of posts per Creator per week. But we want to counter-balance the quantity by quality. The number of engagements per post per creator per week. The number of engagements across all posts per creator per week.
What are some counter-metrics?
If we are making it easy for members to follow a Creator, could it result in over-following and then a resultant unfollow? At the same time, the design attempts to make members more aware of what they are signing up for by showing more information about the creator. Review the number of unfollows since it is more likely that members are aware of what they are signing up for. Number of unfollows of a creator within N days of a member following the creator.
What if members who should have requests to connect with the Creator are instead just following the Creator? Change in the number of Add Requests to the creator from their past or present colleagues.
Change in the number of Add Requests to the creator from second degree connections. This need not be a unilateral indicator e.g. less is better or more is better? But if it swings towards zero, that might be a bad indicator.
I spent a few minutes coming up with these potential metrics. There is a lot that can be expanded here, which I’ll keep for a future article. Since I did not spend more time on the metrics here, I would like to point you to my related articles on metrics - Tidying-up Metrics, Applying KPIs to diet, and Metrics and Tools section in FAQs on becoming a Product Manager - if you would like to discuss metrics further.
Originally published at https://harshalpatil.substack.com on Jun 12, 2021