I went down to the LinkedIn office yesterday to get a preview of the new design. As Senior Product Manager Mike Grishaver jumped back-and-forth between the old company page and the new one, there were some clear differences. The old page consisted almost entirely of text, and it was packed with different widgets. The new page (pictured above), on the other hand, is dominated by a single image uploaded by the business, there’s now a big “follow” button visible at the top right, and a lot of the clutter has been removed.
Grishaver says that LinkedIn took a close look at the engagement numbers for the different company page features, and only kept the things that were actually successful. So visitors can still see a news feed, a preview of the company’s products and services, a link to the careers page, and a list of other companies that were also viewed by visitors who looked at the current page. Companies, meanwhile, can still use their page to deliver messages to all of their followers, or to write targeted messages (focusing, for example, on a specific industry, company size, or geography), and they can get analytics data about who’s following them and how engaging their content is.
The content in the newsfeed should also become more relevant, Grishaver says — instead of just presenting a reverse-chronological stream of updates, which is largely what LinkedIn has been doing until now, the company will be algorithmically sorting those updates based on how likely they are to be relevant to each user.
As for what got removed, Grishevar points to the “blog” section as an example. It was basically just a reposted RSS feed that companies and visitors forgot about, he says — if companies want to highlight a post from their blog, they’re better off sharing it directly on their news feed. LinkedIn also removed the company news section, because users should already be seeing news about the companies they follow through its LinkedIn Today social news product.
Businesses don’t have to pay to set up a company page, but those pages become the anchor for the things LinkedIn actually makes money from, like advertising and premium features. Global Product Marketing Director Marc Bishop says the redesign should appeal to marketers for two main reasons — “improved brand presence” (in other words, the big company image at the top) and the simplified navigation: “We’ve made it easier for the member and its followers to discover the member’s key content status updates.”
LinkedIn now has more than 2 million company pages, Bishop says.
Those pages are currently desktop-only, but companies probably want a presence on mobile, too. On that front, I was told: “Stay tuned.”
You can read a little more about the changes at the Linkedin blog.
Update: Just to be clarify, I’ve just been told that the new company page is only launching for a select group of businesses today. Also, looks like my conversation about mobile was a little out-of-date — LinkedIn announced yesterday that company pages are going to be available on mobile, too.