The problem with many social media applications is limiting thoughts to 140 characters, as in the case of Twitter, or 300 characters, as was the case with Linkedin Corp (NYSE:LNKD) until yesterday. That’s when Linkedin lifted the character limit on posts that had been in effect since the knowledge sharing service began allowing such posts in 2009.
Users tired of limits on post size
The goal, according to Linkedin, will enable users to “’showcase who they are professionally.” Users will be able to share essay length updates on jobs, business events, or economic news. The new abundance of space for posts will initially be limited to users in English, but eventually is expected to expand to other languages.
The expansion is part of LinkedIn’s plans to build upon its goal of becoming the premium knowledge sharing service for business professionals. The 10-year-old Mountain View, Calif., company has been adding features to encourage users to visit the web site on a regular basis, not just when they are looking for a new job or adding a new accomplishment to their resumes, the most common use. LinkedIn has been experiencing difficulty holding web site visitor’s attention and generating what is known as reflexive usage. LinkedIn’s average number of unique visitors, a key measure for advertisers, and the average pages viewed on its site have been declining since the middle of 2013 as the firm battles Facebook and Twitter for attention. The downturn in web site attention is one of the reasons LinkedIn’s stock has fallen from $257.56 last September to $191.92, Tuesday’s closing price, reflecting a 25% slide.
Detailed user data is a gold mine
By allowing Linkedin users to write longer posts, the web site thinks it will generate a detailed user profile about the user’s industries, location and detailed demographic information used to finely target advertising. The web site generates 25% of its revenue from advertising, unlike Facebook and Twitter, which generate near 100% of revenue from advertising. One of the goals is to encouraging repeat and frequent usage which generates additional opportunities for LinkedIn to sell more targeted and profitable advertising. The balance of Linkedin revenue comes from fees that it charges headhunters, employers and users to get special access to information, the ability to communicate with one another and other analytical tools.