Not Everyone Is Alike - Four Types of LinkedIn Users
First ever public study concerning business oriented social network giant LinkedIn.com.Stamford, CT (Gawkwire.com) In the real world, different business people conduct business differently with their own strategies and tactics. Online, business people use Social Network Services (SNS), like the highly popular professional networking site LinkedIn, very differently too.
According to Anderson Analytics, the company that conducted the study in partnership with LinkedIn.com, using state of the art predictive analytics software from SPSS Inc., LinkedIn users tend to fall into four major types:
"Savvy Networkers" (est. 9 million) are likely to have started using social networking earlier than others, are more tech savvy, and more likely to be active on other SNS sites like Facebook. Savvy Networkers have the most connections (61 on average) and are more likely than other segments to use LinkedIn for a wide variety of purposes other than job searching. Savvy Networkers have the second highest average personal income ($93,500) and may often have the word "Consultant" in their job description.
"Senior Executives" (est. 8.4 million) are somewhat less tech savvy and is using LinkedIn to connect to their existing corporate networks. They have power jobs which they are quite content with, and are likely to have been invited by a colleague and then realized how many key contacts were on the site and started building connections (32 on average). Senior Executives have the highest average personal income ($104,000) and have titles such as Owner, Partner, Executive, or Associate.
"Late Adopters" (est. 6.6 million) are likely to have received numerous requests from friends and co-workers before deciding to join. They are somewhat less tech savvy and are careful in how they use LinkedIn, tending to connect only to close friends and colleagues and have the fewest number of connections (23 on average). Late Adopters have the lowest average personal income ($88,000) and have titles such as Teacher, Medical Professional, Lawyer, or the word "Account" or "Assistant" in their job description.
"Exploring Options" (est. 6.1 million) may be working, but are open and looking for other job options often on CareerBuilder.com, perhaps in part because they have the lowest average personal income ($87,500). They are fairly tech savvy and use SNS for both corporate and personal interests.
A web based tool to predict segment type is available at Anderson Analytics: http://www.andersonanalytics.com/litype/index.php
Anderson Analytics initially analyzed overall network statistics among 2,000 random 'seed' users (about half U.S. users and half international) as well as their 51,873 first level connections. In order to segment users Anderson Analytics looked at a sample of an additional 12,000 US LinkedIn users and collected additional survey data from 793 of these.
Some of the findings include:
- Most users connect to people they know, including those they've met only over the phone.
- Users like the professional and business oriented look and feel of LinkedIn compared to other SNS.
- Users tend to be more senior (56% are "individual contributors", 16% are management level, and 28% are director/VP level or above).
- The majority (66%) are decision makers or have influence in the purchase decisions at their companies (decision makers also tend to be more active on LinkedIn).
- And perhaps most interestingly, the greater the number of connections the greater the likelihood of higher personal income - those with personal incomes between $200K-$350K were seven times more likely than others to have over 150 connections.
"Anderson Analytics was able to utilize data and text mining software to show the breadth of professionals that are on LinkedIn, and leverage users' profiles to predict their purchasing power and decision making authority within their corporation. With these tools and analytical techniques, it is possible to target and segment specific professional groups very effectively," said Liz Reaves, product manager at LinkedIn.
Partial findings of the study will be presented at the Marketing Research Association (MRA) Fall Conference in Las Vegas, NV on November 5th by panelists from LinkedIn, Anderson Analytics, and software partner SPSS. Anderson Analytics, which is an independent market research firm, also investigated the viability of utilizing LinkedIn as a source of sample for online research and determined that similar results to online panels can be expected, additionally due to LinkedIn's healthy member base and social networking properties, sample panel quality is not likely to be a problem for LinkedIn.
The presentation coincides with the recent launch of LinkedIn's new survey business. Anderson Analytics will be among the first six firms to offer LinkedIn as a survey sample source to its marketing research clients. LinkedIn sample is likely one of the best sources for B-B and high income sample in the world.
"This was a very exciting project and right up our alley. I strongly believe marketers need to go to where consumers are in order to listen to and observe them. In this day and age, it's unrealistic to expect them to come to you and answer your specific questions" said Tom H. C. Anderson, Anderson Analytics founder and managing partner, and added "While we've done a lot of work with data sources other than surveys such as text mining emails and call center logs, screen scraping online discussion boards and other websites, Social Networks like LinkedIn are fascinating, and we will be doing a lot more to understand and leverage them in the near future/"
Total sample size of the study consisted of 65,873 records and provides statistics with an accuracy of +/-0.39%. Supplemental survey results represent +/-3.48% at the 95% confidence interval.