Last week LinkedIn released a fascinating statistic, highlighting the fact that mobile usage of the professional networking site was now approaching a majority - with 41% of unique users visiting the site now doing so via mobile device.
What is really interesting about this particular figure, is the speed at which it has increased, having been at 38% in October 2013 and looking back even further to 2011 the same figure was at just 8%. Of course 2011 is a long time ago - not least in social media and mobile technology terms, but the increase of a stat like this, coupled with a steady figure of total visitors to LinkedIn suggests that mobile-professional networking is not to be underestimated.
It is no newsflash that professionals within the Recruitment and Staffing sectors have routinely used LinkedIn as a key tool for networking, job advertising, industry news and candidate sourcing, alongside other social networks and the more traditional job boards and forums. With platforms like Google + and Twitter playing an increasing role in the job search and many discussing the possibility that LinkedIn's vitality within the recruitment space may soon be on the decline, I would still like to highlight the importance of their latest mobile usage statistic on the world of job searching and professional networking. The various discourses around job search apps, mobile friendly websites and social media platforms all point to one thing: an overall increase in mobile job-searching and applications.
Towards the end of 2013 I contributed towards an article that highlighted changes at the time to Google's algorithms, as the search engine giants released their latest developments which gave preference to mobile friendly websites in search results. This was a subject that was highly pertinent for me at the time, having just overseen the launch of seventeen new websites for the InterQuest Group and its divisions in 2013. At the time one of our major considerations in doing this was how our page would appear on mobile devices and how our audience would engage with our content in that context. Our goal to create a 'mobile-friendly site' certainly paid off, and we were all left feeling vindicated by Google's algorithm announcement that followed. In this instance, our research into how our audience would engage with our websites and around the trends in on-line job boards were vital to our decision to create a website with mobile capabilities. While Google's algorithm certainly came as positive news for my colleagues and I, it was important for us to consider that looking back to 2011 mobile usage would not have been anything like the same priority and as such we must always be mindful of the best ways to engage with our audience - be they clients or job seekers.
LinkedIn's statistics are indeed intriguing, but the news that mobile web-browsing is playing a greater role in how the web is used comes as no surprise. I would argue that the real lesson to be taken from LinkedIn's move towards a mobile majority, much like the reaction to Google's mobile algorithm change is the importance of mobile technologies in how the public uses the web. This is something not to be underestimated by anyone wishing to engage with their audience on-line, be that in recruitment or in any other industry.
Whether LinkedIn's mobile capabilities and apps are sufficient to meet the demands of a mobile-majority audience however, is a different question...