Lessons From LinkedIn’s New Mobile Launch

Charlton-mobile-profile-487x1024For many brands, mobile is all they know. Their stories begin and end in the various app stores. For other brands, mobile is the great unknown. Their stories begin on the desktop and in web browsers.

A great example of the former is LinkedIn, who late last month launched a new mobile platform for iOS and Android users, complete with a brand new client-side user interface, back-end services, and a savvy new “recommendation feature.”

The decision to focus on mobile development rather than desktop was not much of a surprise, considering that 43% of the brand’s web traffic comes from the mobile devices of their 259 million members worldwide.

“It’s actually the first time that we are launching something on phone and tablet simultaneously and on mobile specifically first for our entire company, instead of desktop,” LinkedIn’s senior director of engineering Kiran Prasad said in an interview with VentureBeat.

The intention of this post is not to tell you what’s new with the LinkedIn mobile experience. For that, you should check out this blog post on their website (or mobile website). Instead, it’s to offer guidance for those other desktop-centric brands who are considering making the mobile transition. And with that, a few key lessons to keep in mind:

It’s Never Too Late

If your brand has yet to establish a mobile presence, you may feel as though you are late to the party. You are, but that doesn’t mean you’re too late. LinkedIn is one of the largest, most recognized social networks in world – and as of 2014 – they had still undertaken very few “mobile first” initiatives.

The important thing is not what they have done thus far, but what they plan on doing in the near future. These new profiles will not mark the end of these mobile transformations. The company is also building a mobile software-development kit for future use and over 50% of the engineers working at LinkedIn today are mobile trained. They weren’t the first company to focus on mobile, but it’s clear that they are committed to the platform going forward. It’s never too late, in other words.

Listen To Your Users

The company’s decision to launch simultaneous mobile updates was not made on a whim, but rather based on the feedback of users – who, as noted, are regularly accessing the site via their mobile devices. LinkedIn’s goal is to retain and increase their mobile customer base, while making it easier and more enjoyable for users to connect with professionals on-the-go.

One feature seemed particularly user-driven: The recommendation feature, which displays “the most relevant piece of information about someone” on the top of the screen next to the user’s profile picture. The feature uses an algorithm to determine what the “most appropriate thing you could learn about that person” according to Prasad, “so you can make that next conversation easier.”

The feature is optimized based on the degrees of separation between users, and recommends certain content you have in common with the person whose profile you’re looking at. Therefore, each individual LinkedIn user will have different recommendations and layouts.

Always Room For Improvement

The move to mobile is not a one-time event. User have shown themselves to be much harder to satisfy on the mobile channels as opposed to the desktop, so LinkedIn understands that it must remain committed to mobile quality. This goes for any brand venturing into the mobile realm.

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Is your brand currently in the process of a major mobile-first project? Be sure to share your experiences in the comment section below.

Image courtesy of LinkedIn.

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