LinkedIn lesson in engagement: Keep the number fresh

LinkedIn does a lot of things well when it comes to influencing the behaviour of its market, and today I thought it worthwhile to point out one of the tricks it is using: Keeping stale information fresh!

Change the number by changing how it’s calculated

Every few days the number of people who have viewed my profile changes…but not necessarily because the actual number of viewers has. What do I mean? LinkedIn cleverly update the count of viewers by changing the time period over which the viewers have been counted. Where today I may have been viewed by ‘6 people over the last 3 days’, tomorrow I might see that I have been viewed by ’10 people over the last 7 days’.


Is this important? You betcha! It keeps my interest because the number looks different and so I feel compelled to click through to see what’s changed. This interest keeps me engaged with LinkedIn both emotionally and at a transactional level; in other words, I don’t just clock the number, I click through (where it then tries to upgrade me to premium).

What’s the behavioural technique?

This is the same tool that can be used to make mortgage payments or car finance seem less scary. For instance, you may have seen car ads like this Lexus example that diminishes the purchase price by promoting a weekly repayment instead.

What trick are they using? It’s called Denominator Neglect, where we focus on the numerator (i.e. the thing that we are getting like ‘viewers’) rather than how it’s calculated (i.e. over how many days). Like a muffin, it’s what’s on top that counts!


Three lessons for your business:

  • Your buyer is most likely to be persuaded by the numerator rather than the denominator, so consider how you can best utilise this in pricing;
  • Don’t underestimate the benefit of putting a new spin on some otherwise unchanged statistic because it may re-engage your audience; and
  • Make sure that you are improving the life of your buyer with any of these tactics because influence is about win/win whereas manipulation is win/lose and a fast track to failure.

Bri Williams runs People Patterns Pty Ltd, a consultancy specialising in the application of behavioural economics to everyday business issues. Bri is a presenter, consultant and author who you can find out more about at, or by following on Twitter @peoplepatterns. Bri’s book, “22 Minutes to a Better Business”, about how behavioural economics can help you tackle everyday business issues, is available through the Blurb bookstore.


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