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The Real Reason Why LinkedIn Shares Monthly Active User Counts

The Real Reason Why LinkedIn Shares Monthly Active User Counts

This news dropped in 2023, but it’s still worth talking about (and it’s not just because we’re nerds about the internet). 

We're about to dive into some juicy LinkedIn drama courtesy of the EU's new Digital Services Act (DSA). One of the best things about the DSA is that it forces big social platforms operating in the EU to report their monthly active user numbers. Novel concept, right?

But here's the thing: LinkedIn has been getting away with some seriously vague reporting practices for YEARS. Instead of giving us the real tea on how many people use their platform, they've been peddling this "member count" nonsense.

They've been bragging about how many people have ever signed up for a LinkedIn profile, even if those users haven't touched the app since the Bush administration. It's like if Twitter tried to flex its 2 billion total profiles instead of admitting that only 250 million of those are actually active.

So when LinkedIn comes out and says they've got 985 million members, that number is about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. Without context, it doesn't mean anything.

The DSA Forces LinkedIn to Show Their Cards 

But now, thanks to the DSA, LinkedIn had to put up or shut up. They were forced to share their EU user counts, complete with a breakdown of monthly active users in each country.

And let me tell you, the results are fascinating.

Crunching the Numbers: LinkedIn's REAL User Count 

First, let’s compare LinkedIn's reported active users to their total member counts for each EU region. On average, only about 40% of LinkedIn's so-called "members" are actually active on the platform.

Let that sink in for a second. 60% of the people they've bragged about are essentially dead accounts. Tumbleweeds blowing through empty profile pages. Ghosts in the machine.

But we can take this tea party even further. Assuming that the 40% average holds true globally (and let's be real, it probably does), we can estimate that out of LinkedIn's 985 million total members, only around 397 million log in each month.

That's right. LinkedIn, the platform that touts itself as the go-to spot for professional networking and career growth, is really only reaching about a third of the people it claims.

Estimating LinkedIn's Daily Active Users 

Now, we know what you're thinking. "But what about daily active users, you handsome data wizard?" 

The average monthly to daily active user ratio for major social platforms is about 1.8 to 1. So, if we apply that math to LinkedIn's estimated 397 million MAU, we can estimate that they've probably got around 215 million people checking in daily.

Of course, that number could fluctuate based on how people actually use the platform. Maybe professionals are more likely to check in sporadically throughout the month rather than scrolling through job listings and humble brags every single day like clockwork.

But even if we're being generous, it's pretty safe to say that LinkedIn is working with less than 350 million monthly actives and 150 million daily devotees.

The Elephant in the Room 

So, why doesn’t LinkedIn just come out and share these numbers themselves? 

Well, it's simple. 985 million members sound a lot better than 397 million actual users. It's the classic "big number better" mentality, even if that number is about as meaningless as a participation trophy.

But thanks to our brothers and sisters in the EU, we now have a clearer picture of what's happening behind the scenes at LinkedIn—and it's not pretty.

The Moral of the Story 

At the end of the day, LinkedIn's "member count" is nothing more than a vanity metric. It's fluff, smoke and mirrors, a magician's misdirect.

What really matters is how many people are actively using the platform, engaging with content, and connecting with others in their industry. Specifically, how many active users are in YOUR target audience?

These DSA-mandated disclosures give us a better sense of those critical numbers, which could (and should) significantly impact your LinkedIn marketing strategy.

So, to recap: LinkedIn's been playing fast and loose with the truth, the DSA called their bluff, and now we know that the platform's reach is probably a lot smaller than they'd like us to believe.

The ball's in your court now, LinkedIn. You could save us all a lot of trouble by starting to report your real user numbers, like every other major social platform.

Your users (and your advertisers) deserve nothing less.

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