Having already looked at how LinkedIn has grown over the last eight years, we thought it would be interesting to look at the growth of LinkedIn in comparison to another online networking giant – Facebook – as well as in relation to Internet use in the more general sense.
Whilst LinkedIn’s growth has been continuous, the rate at which this growth is occurring has been in decline since 2007. This trend is in fact similar to both that of Facebook and also the Internet:
LinkedIn’s decrease in growth is not unexpected as saturation points are often seen within original/initial launch markets. In fact, when comparing the decline in growth across the three areas, LinkedIn’s user decrease correlates to that of the Internet, whereas Facebook has seen a rather more rapid decline.
What is interesting, though, is if you track growth for the first quarter this year and compare it to the previous two years growth, as this indicates that there will be a return to growth, not only for LinkedIn but also for both Internet use and Facebook too.
This is a bold prediction, specifically when news reports in June this year suggested that in developed markets, such as the USA, UK, Canada and Russia, there has been a loss in users month-on-month for Facebook.
“…by the time Facebook reaches around 50% of the total population in a given country (plus or minus, depending on internet access rates in that country), growth generally slows to a halt … So far, Facebook has been able to make up stalls and losses with big gains in heavily populated developing countries like Mexico, Brazil, India and Indonesia.”
Eldon’s words actually apply to LinkedIn too and recent figures on LinkedIn’s own blog highlighted Brazil, Mexico and India as markets with the fastest growth rates.
Indeed, overall, global memberships – free and paid for – on LinkedIn grew to 115.8 million in second quarter of this year, up 61% on 2010. By contrast, Facebook, which is also said to be mooting an IPO, has more than 750 million members.
Our next post, as part of our LinkedIn Week series, will look at the top 10 companies on LinkedIn.