WSJ Removes LinkedIn Share Button. Why Other B2B Media Might Do the Same
Digiday reported today that The Wall Street Journal has removed its LinkedIn sharing button from its article pages. It's a bold yet not entirely surprising move.
Digiday aptly describes LinkedIn as "frenemies" with WSJ and it's easy to understand why WSJ would want to stop enabling the free flow of content onto LinkedIn's platform. LinkedIn stands as a direct competitor to WSJ in trying to capture the senior business professional crowd. And even more importantly, LinkedIn isn't doing much to drive traffic to publishers' sites either.
The move by WSJ gives rise to the questions of whether other B2B publishers should consider this move too.
As an editor of a B2B publication, I had expected to derive more traffic from LinkedIn than we do. In 2015 we made a concerted effort to post more regularly into our LinkedIn groups and the results have been dismal. With two sizable groups (Publishing Executive Magazine and Publishing Business) totaling nearly 16,000 members, we have a fairly sizable, well-qualified audience of publishing professionals that have self-identified as lovers of publishing business insight.
But what do we see? We see a lot of shares but not a lot of action in terms of page views. Which leads me to venture to guess that LInkedIn users are sharing a lot of content but not actually reading it (perhaps to appear engaged in the industry dialogue and maintain activity so as to appear in connections' feeds).
LinkedIn sends half as many visitors as Facebook and significantly less than Twitter to pubexec.com (and one could also argue that LinkedIn requires a greater LOE per post on the part of editors).
I had also suspected that the quality of audience coming from LinkedIn would be superior — but if we're judging engaged audience by pages per session, average session duration, and bounce rate, LinkedIn is only on the level with Twitter, not above.
So LinkedIn fuels its platform with a bunch of free content for its users to interact around without much payoff for publishers. Sounds like a one-way street.
This is not to suggest that no B2B publishers are reaping benefits traffic- and audience development-wise from LinkedIn or we couldn't better optimize our strategy for greater benefit. But so far, results have been disappointing and we're starting reevaluate the LinkedIn component of our social strategy.
What's your experience been with LinkedIn? Would you consider removing the LinkedIn share button? (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Denis Wilson is the content director for Target Marketing, Publishing Executive, and Book Business, as well as the FUSE Media and BRAND United summits. In this role, he analyzes and reports on the fundamental changes affecting the media and marketing industries and aims to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.