On face value and when looking at LinkedIn report of having over 500 million users, everything looks to be on the up and up. This is great because it’s almost 10% more than the 467 million users that they had in Q3 2016. Well done! But what about an actual key performance indicator such as their Monthly Active Users (MAU)? Wouldn’t you expect them to brag about their MAU increasing along with a near 10% increase in total users?
When LinkedIn was acquired by Microsoft, they had roughly 106,000,000 monthly active users , but even that was only made possible by a constant barrage of nonsense notifications bolstering their use statistics, which they have had to tone down since being sued. Facebook and Twitter do not seem to have a problem publishing their MAU, but LinkedIn has been silent about this metric ever since their acquisition. Instead, LinkedIn seems to be trying to prop themselves up with other statistics that are far less prudent. It’s not like they’re shy about statistics that cast them in a positive light, so again, why would LinkedIn omit such an important KPI such as their MAU?
500 million total users? Badass! 10 million job postings? Sweet! Access to 9 million companies? Cool! Monthly active users? *crickets chirping*
Hypothetically, you only need to consider the possibility that LinkedIn’s monthly active users may have decreased since their acquisition. If they are bragging about their total users instead of their active users, it could simply be a telltale sign of stagnation. If that were the case, then reporting this statistic to would be the functional equivalent shooting themselves in the foot or advertising a microphallus on Tinder. Obviously, they can’t lie about these statistics, but they can easily omit this data while making an effort to recover their user base.
According to Investopedia and as of 2014, recruiting services accounted for 61% of their revenue, premium subscriptions represented 20% and marketing accounted for the remaining 19%. In order to maintain this though, they either need to have a healthy and growing MAU or a user base that is left with the impression that this is the case because their incentive to retain these services decreases as their MAU decreases and vice versa. If they were to report a diminishing MAU, then it would likely result in a steep decline in the amount of recruiters and premium users that are keeping LinkedIn upright at the moment, which would be bad for business.
Needless to say, there may be other reasons for LinkedIn not reporting their MAU, but given LinkedIn’s seeming unwillingness to report this metric along with Microsoft’s track record with regard to acquisitions, a diminishing MAU may just be the most likely scenario.