How Linkedin Uses Gamification to Drive Engagement and Motivate Its Users

We all know LinkedIn as the serious, business-oriented social network. It’s probably not the first thing that comes to mind when we think of fun and games.

But actually, LinkedIn has beautifully integrated game mechanics into their service and used it to drive incredible success!

From the progress bar to the endorsement features, everything you do once signed up has Gamification written all over it.

Let’s take a closer look at the Gamification of LinkedIn:

Profile Completion

LinkedIn wants us all to complete our profiles.

Their aim is to gather as much information as possible about each and every individual on their network, in order to create a valuable platform for everyone.

Do you remember when you first signed up?

The LinkedIn profile completeness bar not only displays the percentage of profile completion, it also motivates us to get there with a simple sentence: “Users with complete profiles are 40 times more likely to receive opportunities through LinkedIn.”

This message leaves you feeling encouraged and almost obligated to complete your profile. The completeness bar appeals to basic human satisfaction – it is powerful and inherently rewarding.  

The completeness bar also pushes new users to add personal information to their profiles. It acts as a level within a game, and until this stage is completed, the networking, endorsing, and community building does not seem feasible.

Another way in which it acts as a motivator is by exactly how far we are from the end goal, and how we can get there. When the aim is achievable, it encourages us to get to this point – with no progress bar and no awareness of how far along we are, we are far likelier to give up.

But wait, what happens when we reach 100%? Is there anything beyond 100%? Of course there is!

Profile Strength:

Profile Strength

Every profile has a profile strength. How much of the circle is filled in symbolizes each person’s profile strength. This profile strength indicator is necessary to continuously motivate users to update their profiles, change their jobs and remain active on the platform.

If you have reached the highest rank, “all-star,” your LinkedIn profile will be prioritized on search engines. Cleverly, LinkedIn will never fill your circle to the top, this way there is always room for improvement.  

Do You Play a Part in LinkedIn’s Endorsement Game?

LinkedIn endorsements are skills you have been endorsed for. Each person, when creating a profile, can list up to 50 skills they believe they possess.

Each time someone views your profile and endorses you for a particular skill, their profile image will show next to the skill and the number of those who have endorsed that skill goes up! According to LinkedIn, “those who use the ‘Skills & Endorsements’ section get 13x more profile views.

LinkedIn Gamification Analysis

Engagement is one of the main reasons for implementing Gamification. The LinkedIn endorsement game means that more actions are carried out between you and your connections to keep you linked and engaged with one another. You endorse connections for their skills, and in return they endorse you for yours.

Have you ever spent time browsing through the LinkedIn endorsements? Fire eating, spring cleaning, counting, small talk, and chewing gum are probably 5 skills you would not have expected to see. These fun endorsements demonstrate LinkedIn gamifying and having fun with their business-oriented platform.

Endorsements work in the same way as intrinsic rewards, which include things such as personal achievement, professional growth, and a sense of achievement.

Profile Views

A LinkedIn profile would be worthless, if others were not seeing it, right?

On the right side of your profile page you will see the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section directly underneath the “Profile Strength”.

LinkedIn Analysis

By clicking on “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” you will be able to see how you rank for profile views. For example some LinkedIn users may see their rank is in the lower 48% for profile views among connections.  

Ranking us against other connections motivates us to rise up in the ranking. This concept works the same way as leaderboards – those at the top can show off their status, while the goal of rising up the rankings serves as a powerful motivator to keep everyone else engaged.

There are different types of leaderboards. The ranking system used by LinkedIn is similar to a social leaderboard, as opposed to a global leaderboard – you see your ranking among your own LinkedIn connections, only indicating your status among those people you have some relationship with.

The Annual Update

In 2013, LinkedIn sent out emails to its members congratulating them for being one of the most top viewed profiles from the previous year.

Initially this surprised many members and triggered discussion over social networks, it encouraged existing members to improve their profiles and make updates. It also created awareness with non-members to join the professional network.

Analysis of LinkedIn Gamification

Sending such an email to users regarding their positioning on leaderboards is a great motivator!

LinkedIn Made a “Boring” Service Fun

Let’s be honest, the idea behind LinkedIn can be pretty boring!

The Gamification features built into its core makes the experience compelling and fun.

Wherever you see a call to action, we bet you will do it, whether it be endorsing someone, completing your profile, or updating your job description. And why do you do it? The LinkedIn game mechanics prompt you to!

We are all participating in their game.

There is no question about it, game mechanics have lead to the success of Linkedin and enabled it to position itself as the leader in professional social networking.