Speed 12 September 2014

LinkedIn has launched its latest app LinkedIn Connected for iPhones.

It joins a growing list of apps the site has launched, putting it firmly in line with social behemoth Facebook, which recently pulled its messaging functionality onto an app.

The hope is that these kind of apps, and the unbundling of large social platforms, will make services easier to manage, more intuitive, and ultimately, a little friendlier, but what’s the underlying strategy? Mobiles. Of course.

More mobiles

Around 1.2 billion people worldwide were using mobile apps at the end of 2012, and that is set to reach 4.4 billion users by the end of 2017, according to independent research company, PortioResearch. Compounding that, Ofcom research shows a total of 61% of adults in the UK alone now have a smartphone. Google has a rather alarming statistic too: that 40% of mobile users will turn to a competitor’s site if you give them a poor mobile experience. Ow.  So even if your business doesn’t really require an app (after all, they’re not just a box ticking exercise) then it needs to consider how its website appears across iPads, mobiles, phablets…etc. A multi-platform, responsive site is what really brings a business into this century.

Fewer cat memes

Back to LinkedIn, is the app any good? First off we like the name. LinkedIn is primarily a serious sort of site, fewer cat memes, gifs and the like. So it’s nice that it hasn’t tried to sex up its image and called the app something like ‘LinkedIn LOLs’. What does Connected actually do? Well it’s pretty basic, and that’s its charm. It allows you to swipe right across possible contacts to see if you want to connect with them, based on your shared connections. It’s Tinder for professionals – what’s not to like? It’s also geared towards commenting on posts – another push by LinkedIn to expand beyond its straight corporate image. This app will appeal mostly to those who find the website a little clunky to get around. With so many updates, so little time, Connected at least promises to be fast.

The upshot is that it’s the LinkedIn we all know and…well, trust. Just a bit softer around the edges. And more importantly, it’s fun.