PRmoment Awards Tickets 2024 PRmoment Leaders PA Mediapoint PA Assignments PRCA PRmoment Awards Winners North

How LinkedIn has moved from a networking platform to a marketing platform

Most professionals no longer see LinkedIn as a platform for business networking, but use it for sales, marketing and recruitment claims research commissioned by professional messaging app firm Guild.

Guild's Model for Professional Networking
How to network like a pro in the digital age

Key findings:

  • 62% of LinkedIn users surveyed say that less than one-fifth of their LinkedIn connections have provided value to their personal career.
  • 45% agree that LinkedIn has become more about sales and marketing than professional networking.
  • 59% say that LinkedIn is mostly about recruitment.
  • 28% find LinkedIn is full of spam.
  • 61% of LinkedIn users have met fewer than half of their LinkedIn connections.
  • Only 10% of respondents aged 45+ agree that the statement ‘LinkedIn is for networking with their valued professional connections’ is very accurate.

Discussing the findings, Ashley Friedlein, CEO and founder of Guild, says: “This research shows that LinkedIn as a networking platform has become disrupted by sales and marketing content from less valued connections – many of whom we don’t personally know.

Meaningless connections

“As a result, LinkedIn users may have thousands of connections – but this doesn’t mean they are meaningful. It seems we have become less connected to more people, rather than deepening the connections with those in our closest network. A return to meaningful connections through considered networking will ensure we stay relevant, especially in this era of digital transformation where the working world is changing rapidly.”

Quantity vs quality

Friedlein concludes that it is quality, not quantity, that counts when it comes to making business connections: “We’ve already seen a number of social networking sites become increasingly proliferated by marketing strategies in recent years. As these continue to disrupt our professional platforms, it’s time to reconstruct and nurture our networks with valued connections that actually matter.”


Censuswide surveyed 2,016 LinkedIn users in the UK (January 2020).

If you enjoyed this article, sign up for free to our twice weekly editorial alert.

We have six email alerts in total - covering ESG, internal comms, PR jobs and events. Enter your email address below to find out more: