The algorithm of LinkedIn

Post by
Ingmar Claris

What is an algorithm? 

In very simple language, an algorithm is a roadmap that guides you to a goal. An algorithm in general is therefore more than a piece of computer language. Take the example of making a meal. You buy your ingredients, prepare the ingredients and prepare the recipe. You take a number of steps that eventually lead you to a certain goal.  

What are algorithms used for? 

Algorithms influence our lives more than we think. It is used for much more than we think. Youtube uses algorithms to make sure that every day you get to see the latest videos that we find interesting. The algorithm is set in such a way that you are only recommended videos that you like, this also applies to the advertisements. If you click on an advertisement once, you will notice that you come across the advertisement or similar advertisements more and more often. This is all due to an algorithm that ensures that only relevant ads come your way. 

In addition to advertisements and finding the right videos, algorithms also help us. Take the municipality, for example. Every municipality uses certain algorithms that can tell us exactly how busy it is in certain places or how many traffic jams there will be. 

In short, algorithms are everywhere and used for everything. Even in places where you might not expect it. 

The danger of algorithms

Some algorithms also carry a risk. Take social media like Facebook or Instagram. Many teenagers follow their favourite influencers and other pages. Many teenagers only see the perfect picture. This is because they find it interesting and like it. Then only similar pictures appear on their feed. This gives them a very one-sided view of life, namely only the perfect side. This is what gets liked. This applies not only to influencers but also to information about certain subjects. The problem is that people are stuck in their own information bubble, which gives them a very one-sided view. As a result, their opinion or image is, as it were, pre-programmed. This is one of the dangers an algorithm can bring.

How the algorithm of LinkedIn works

LinkedIn's algorithm works a little differently to those of other social media. The post goes through a number of phases. This is to ensure that the right content reaches the right person. In addition, they test in these phases whether the post is relevant and whether it should be distributed to many people. I will briefly go through each phase with you. 

  • Phase 1: Filter

In phase 1 the LinkedIn algorithm will label your post. They look at which category your post falls into. They distinguish between different content: images/videos, links and texts. Next, the message gets a label: 'spam', 'low quality' or 'approved'. The best thing, of course, is to receive the "approved" label in the post..

  • Phase 2 Test phase

In phase 2, the post is tested by the algorithm. They do this by showing the post to a small group of people. These people get to see the post on their 'feed'. Based on what happens in this small group, it is determined how many people the post will be forwarded to. If the 'test group' receives the post well, the post is forwarded to the second and third rank connections.

In this phase LinkedIn works with a points system. A like is 50 points, a comment is 25 points and if the post is shared it is 10 points. The more points the post receives in the test phase, the better it is received by the algorithm. In short: the more points, the more people see the post.

This also works the other way round. If the 'test group' receives the mail in a negative way, i.e. labels it as spam or hides the mail, the mail will not be distributed any further.

  • Phase 3 Quality

After the post has passed phases 1 and 2, it enters phase 3. In this phase, the quality of the content, previous content and your profile are examined. In this phase, the algorithm decides whether the post can last any longer. They do this again on the basis of the point system. If your post continues to receive a lot of points, it will be distributed to even more people.

So by having more interaction with your connections through likes and comments, the quality of the posts will automatically be higher and it will be spread further so that more people will see your posts.

  • Phase 4 Manual

Arrived at the fourth phase. Here the post is no longer judged by the algorithm but by a LinkedIn employee. They examine the post and look at it. They do this to find out why the post did so well. Then they analyse it and strengthen the algorithm with this information. 

If your post is liked again and again and keeps getting comments, the post will be spread further and further. This can mean that you see a post from a couple of days or sometimes even weeks ago. As long as the post remains relevant and continues to do well, LinkedIn will spread it.