45 Million Monthly Mobile LinkedIn Searches

comScore_IncWe have all seen the stats: more and more people are using smartphones and tablets to connect to the web. We probably all use our own mobile phone to interact online every day. But what does this mean for recruitment? Do people use their handheld devices to research companies and find their next job?

I caught up with LinkedIn and learned about its experience, which is driving around 45 million people searches a month.

Just in case you have been living in a cave and have no idea how big mobile is, you should know that this week the smartphone market in the U.S. overtook the feature phone market with about 125 million smartphone owners. (See comScore for data on the mobile market.) The much younger tablet market is beyond the 50 million milestone The web connected device is now the majority. The arrival of fast-data-access 4G has seen a massive uptake with about 33 million subscribers.

There are some naysayers who are determined to ignore the prevailing trends that make mobile so important. It is time to get more facts and experience from the recruitment industry to the surface, so everyone can make their own decisions. I have called this project “Mobile In Action” and kicked it off by interviewing Leela Srinivasan, group marketing manager at LinkedIn, to find out what its users are doing via mobile.

LinkedIn offers both smartphone and iPad web support and native apps. It has invested in mobile and has released a few app updates too. The core LinkedIn functionality is supported on mobile, including company pages and jobs.

LinkedIn members enjoy posting updates and reading news from their mobile. Social use is mainstream on mobile. Mobile engagement does not stop there. Every second there are 19 people-searches on LinkedIn via a mobile device. If 19 does not sound a lot to you, a quick calculation shows LinkedIn handles about 45 million people searches a month via mobile.

The increased support of mobile has seen LinkedIn’s mobile traffic close to double year over year; today, 27% of LinkedIn unique visiting members are on a smartphone or tablet. If this growth rate continued, mobile would represent about 40% of all LinkedIn traffic next year. I believe the growth rate will not be the same; it will be faster. We will see a 50/50 split between mobile and desktop/laptop devices.

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People looking at other people on LinkedIn is one thing, but what about researching companies? Today LinkedIn holds 2.7 million mobile-optimized company pages. Most of the 2.7 million companies have no mobile support for their own company career websites, which is a very real opportunity for every company’s recruitment strategy.

The opportunity to support mobile users is unfortunately more complex that it should be. At the Mobile World Congress 2013 last month there was a huge focus on the next billion devices to hit the global market. Many of these new devices are likely to be running a new mobile operating system called “Firefox OS” and Samsung is rumored to be focusing on its own operating system and ecosystem. To you and me, this means it could get more difficult to support mobile properly, but the opportunity is going to be even bigger. Identifying key mobile partners will be critical to future recruitment strategies.

As mobile web, Google search, Twitter, and Facebook continue toward mobile web being their primary user base, recruitment campaigns and career sites will go through a shift to mobile first. It is only a matter of time.

Is 27% of users being on mobile (smartphone/tablet) a good benchmark, or does LinkedIn attract more mobile users? An average web benchmark I have seen is 20 percent. How does this compare to your mobile stats? Do you think a poor mobile candidate experience at a company website matters? What’s your experience?

Dave Martin, CTO and founder of Three Sparks Global, has over 13 years experience covering online technology and online commercial strategy. More recently he has been an evangelist keynote speaker focusing on rapid growth of mobile internet. His expert experience and knowledge spans across social media, online recruitment, mobile applications, mobile market, mobile business, web business models, strategic delivery, project management, product development, product launch, and business development. He recognizes the shape of the Internet in the future and cares about products supporting individuals and companies in a hybrid online world of mobile and desktop. He is a leading mobile Internet expert with the strategic and hands-on project experience to drive online business forwards into the next decade of media consumption.

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