LinkedIn Post Types: Which one Performs Best?

March 7, 2018 • By

Scott Ayres

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Why Test LinkedIn Post Types?

Even though many of you might be ignoring LinkedIn, it’s still a very viable social site —  even in 2018!

In fact, according to LinkedIn, there are over 546 million users on the site as of January 2018.

linkedin users

Here are some additional facts about LinkedIn that might make you reconsider being active on the site:

  • 250 million monthly active users
  • 133 million users in the US
  • 40% of users use the site daily
  • 57% male users
  • 44% of users earn more than $75k per year
  • 41% of all millionaires use LinkedIn

You can see why it’s important to be active on LinkedIn, especially if you’re in the B2B industry.

Social Media Examiner’s yearly survey of marketers found that 81% of B2B marketers, and 44% of B2C marketers use LinkedIn.

It’s easy to see why we’d want to run an experiment on LinkedIn — and will continue to do more in 2018!

For this test, Melonie Dodaro, of Top Dog Social Media wanted us to see which post type got the most views on LinkedIn.

So let’s do it!

What LinkedIn Post Type Will Get More Views?

My initial gut response to this question was that photos or videos would have the most views — that’s common on other social sites after all.

But before I make a guess at the results, let’s take a look at what others have found regarding LinkedIn post types.

Mic Adams concluded:

  • Status updates including links to content outside LinkedIn seem to do worse than text-only Status Updates
  • Short Status updates get limited reach

John Espirian found in a study that text only updates got more views and engagement:

Other than these two resources, it’s hard to find many talking about data related to post types — but lots of talk about long form content vs shorter content. (We’ll need to test that soon!)

My Hypothesis:

Text-only updates on LinkedIn will have the lowest amount of views.

linkedin post type test

Will I have to eat crow on this one? Let’s see!

Testing LinkedIn Post Types

To get data worth looking at, I’ll do the following:

  1. Post updates to my personal LinkedIn account with roughly 4,000 followers
  2. Post updates to our Agorapulse company page with just under 1,000 followers
  3. Melonie Dodaro shared insights from her recent posts to her 34,000 followers

Obviously I had full control of the content and frequency of content posted to my personal account and the Agorapulse company page. Which means we’ll have more data from them.

On Melonie’s account, we are limited to what was shared with us and she wasn’t posting with this test in mind — just posting to get engagement as we all normally do.

Here are examples of two of her LinkedIn posts:

melonie dodaro linkedin post type

As mentioned we had fewer posts to look at on Melonie’s accounts, but it’s great data.

On my own personal account and the Agorapulse account, we mainly have posted links. However, I mixed in text and images during the test.

scott ayres linkedin post types

agorapulse linkedin post types

I also posted a few videos to my personal account to see how they performed, however currently LinkedIn does not allow business pages to post video — although I hear that’s changing very soon!

scott ayres linkedin video post

The interesting and confusing thing about the stats from videos is LinkedIn shows “XX views of your video.” I’m not certain if this is how many viewed the post or just watched the auto-play video.

It’s a confusing stat when trying to compare to photos, links or text post types.

On Facebook you’re able to see post “Reach” as well as video views. LinkedIn does not offer additional stats for a personal profile. Maybe when video is added for business accounts we’ll be able to see that.

Let’s get to the data — that’s why you’re here, right?

Data on LinkedIn Post Types

I’ll cut to the chase and give you the averages for each post type and account.

*One assumption we’ll have to make here is “Views” on personal accounts is equivalent to “Impressions” on business accounts. Why LinkedIn doesn’t report it the same we’ll never know.

It’s also interesting that LinkedIn lists “Organic Reach” as Impressions as well on business accounts — as seen on the Agorapulse screenshot earlier.

Scott Ayres LinkedIn Post Type Data:

For the test we’ll look at 37 posts.

Links: 14 posts

  • 126.53 Views
  • .27 Likes
  • 0 Comments

Photos: 11 posts

  • 124.91 Views
  • .18 Likes
  • 0 Comments

Text: 8 posts

  • 116.75 Views
  • .25 Likes
  • .375 Comments

Video: 4 posts

  • 60 Views
  • .25 Likes
  • 0 Comments

Agorapulse LinkedIn Post Type Data:

We had 58 posts total for the test.

Links: 46 posts (that’s primarily all we’ve posted to this account)

  • 224.83 Views
  • 1.3 Likes
  • 0 Comments

Photos: 3 posts

  • 213 Views
  • 1 Like
  • 0 Comments

Text: 6 posts

  • 517.83 Views
  • .67 Likes
  • 1 Comments

YouTube Links: 3 posts (I tested this separately in 3 posts and didn’t lump in with Link posts just to see if there was a difference since they play on LinkedIn)

  • 247 Views
  • .67 Likes
  • .67 Comments

Melonie Dodaro LinkedIn Post Types:

Melonie gave us data for 12 of her recent posts.

Links: 4 posts

  • 5502.5 Views
  • 45 Likes
  • 12.5 Comments

Photos: 3 posts

  • 5660.67 Views
  • 96.33 Likes
  • 13.33 Comments

Text: 5 posts

  • 68322.8 Views
  • 156.4 Likes
  • 75.8 Comments

On the Agorapulse and Melonie Dodaro accounts, text-only posts had the highest views. On my personal account, Links got slightly more views.

To make this easier I’ll summarize the averages of all 3 accounts, looking only at the Views & Impressions (which I’ll combine).

linkedin post type stats

Links: 5795.11

Photos: 5998.58

Text: 68957.38

Obviously Melonie’s account sways the results quite a bit, but the trend across all 3 accounts seems to favor the same post types when it comes to views, likes, and comments.

Data Set I Excluded from the Experiment

I did exclude 1 set of data from this experiment, and that’s “Shared Image” posts on LinkedIn.

Using Agorapulse I posted 13 images to my personal account.

But due to limitations in LinkedIn’s algorithm these look different than normal photo posts and may have been classified differently to followers and in the algorithm.

You’ll notice how they look below:

shared image linkedin

If you clicked on the image it took you to a link of just the photo:  

It looks cool, but offers no value to followers and could cause confusion.

The average Views on those 13 Shared Image posts was only 60.38, nearly half of the Views of the photo posts I made directly on LinkedIn.

This isn’t a knock on posting with an app to LinkedIn, it’s just a strange limitation LinkedIn has done on their API.

Therefore I removed it from the data set I’ll report on. Had I added it the Views of photos would have been even lower — thus making it even easier to draw a conclusion.

Drawing a Conclusion about LinkedIn Post Types

From a quick look, it’s easy to conclude that text posts way outperformed links and photos.

Just comparing the combined averages of links and photos to the average of text posts, we see text had an increase of 1069% views!

linkedin stats

To dive deeper to make sure these results are statistically significant, let’s look at the results as if it were a “conversion rate” similar to getting signups.

We looked at 80 link and photo posts combined, with a total view of 52,296. Which would give us a conversion rate of 653.70%

For the text posts we had 19 total, with a total view of 345,655. Which gives us a conversion rate of 18192.37% conversion rate.

Again, text posts on LinkedIn win this battle.

Drilling down to just Melonie’s posts we find this:

  • 6 Link/Photo posts had a combined view of 38,992
  • 5 Text posts had a combined view of 68,322

This equates to a 75% increase in views of her text posts over links and photos combined — with 1 less post.

My original hypothesis was that text posts on LinkedIn would perform the worst — this is based solely on my 10+ year addiction to Facebook!

Boy I was wrong!

It seems — based on this data — that text posts are preferred on LinkedIn over any other post type.

Parting Thoughts on LinkedIn Post Types

Although my findings show text updates outperformed links and photos, when it comes to views that doesn’t mean that’s all you should post.

What you post will depend on your goals.

If you’re just on LinkedIn for engagement and to stay top of mind, maybe post more text updates.

But, if you’re like most businesses, you want traffic to your website.

So posting links is crucial.

I would suggest posting text updates followed by link posts, assuming LinkedIn’s algorithm will reward your next post that has more views and engagement.

This may not be the case however, but it’s worth trying (and perhaps testing).

One other thing I didn’t test in this experiment is the length of text updates.

Most of my own were just 1-2 sentences, most just being 1. Some were statements only, some were questions.

I’m seeing many posting long form content in text only updates on LinkedIn and it’s performing well.

This is something I will be testing soon, so be on the lookout!

If you’re testing this I’d love to see your results as well! Feel free to message or email me!

social-media-lab-raw-data

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