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In an effort to enhance the LinkedIn user experience, the social network announced that it will be launching its most dramatic design overhaul since its inception.  The enhancements, scheduled to start rolling out in early February, affect the desktop design of the site and include:

  • Simplified navigation focusing on seven core areas: Home (news feed), My Network, Jobs, Messaging, Notifications, Me, and Search
  • Real-time messaging interface
  • A richer news feed connecting users to content that is more relevant to their interests
  • A universal search function with filter options and more intuitive results

The new layout has been compared to Facebook and is meant to make it easier for users to find and access content and conversations that are important to them. In a Wired article, LinkedIn’s senior director of experience design Amy Parnell, said that with the previous design, “It was hard for people to understand what to do.”  She continued, “The goal with this design was to simplify and create focus.”

LinkedIn’s makeover aligns its desktop features and functionality with the LinkedIn mobile app to facilitate a seamless cross-platform experience. Chris Pruett, senior director of engineering at LinkedIn told Mashable that the new site should also be faster since it is “designed more like an application.”

The Impact On Results

So how might LinkedIn’s redesign affect your ad performance?  Before speculating on the future, let’s take a look at the past. Here are some changes recently implemented by LinkedIn:

  • LinkedIn added conversion tracking for Sponsored Content in fall 2016
  • LinkedIn ended 2016 with new mobile app updates focused on increased news feed engagement
  • LinkedIn added follow button option for Sponsored Content – allowing advertisers to include a follow button on their posts which is also CPC based

With those changes, LinkedIn added value to its advertising partners, as well as its users. I believe the social network’s latest updates demonstrate continued commitment to keeping the advertiser’s best interests in mind and that the redesign will have a positive impact on results.

The news feed enhancement, which includes an algorithm update and expanded oversight by human editors, will produce a more customized feed centered on topics of interest to the user. This should lead to more precise audience targeting opportunities, especially for Sponsored Content.  Since the news feed is where most users spend the majority of their time when on LinkedIn, this could ultimately drive ad engagement and conversions.

While there are many variables that influence ad performance, I am optimistic that these changes to LinkedIn will prove to be favorable to marketers.

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