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Photo by studioEAST/Getty Images

Linkedin will today announce algorithm changes made over the past 12-18 months to favor conversations in its Feed that cater to niche professional interests, as opposed to elevating viral content, its executives tell Axios.

The big picture: News feeds that were fundamentally built to connect one voice to many are struggling to deliver on value as communication trends move to more personal and ephemeral conversations.

Driving the news: Users may have noticed that their notifications or engagements on LinkedIn have increased lately.

  • LinkedIn has done this in part, because internal research found that participation wasn't even across the platform, and that much of the attention in on LinkedIn was skewed towards the top 1% of power users, according to Tim Jurka, Director of Artificial Intelligence at LinkedIn.

Changes include:

  • Elevating content that users are most likely to join in conversation, which typically means people that users interact with directly in the feed through comments and reactions, or people who have shared interests with you based on your profile.
  • Elevating a post from someone closer to a users' interests or network if it needs more engagement, not if it's already going viral.
  • Elevating conversations with things that encourage a response (like opinions commentary alongside content), as well as posts that use mentions and hashtags to bring other people and interests into the conversation and elevating posts from users that respond to commenters.
  • Elevating niche topics of conversation will perform better than broad ones. (When it comes to length, LinkedIn says its algorithm doesn’t favor any particular format, despite rumors that it does.)

Be smart: If this sounds familiar, it's because LinkedIn is the latest social network to change its feed algorithm to get people to engage more, instead of just passively scroll through the app and website.

  • Facebook began talking about changes it was making to its News Feed to favor posts from close friends over brands and publishers in 2018.
  • Snapchat separated social from media on its app in 2017 to keep conversations intimate among friends.

Why it matters: Higher-quality engagement matters because its often more attractive to advertisers, according to Pete Davies, Head of LinkedIn Feed Product.

  • "Member engagement is at an all-time high, driven by record levels of engagement in the feed and content being shared," says Davies. "LinkedIn Marketing Solutions revenue is up 46% year-over-year.”
  • Last year, Axios reported that LinkedIn planned to bring in $2 billion from its marketing solutions business.

Between the lines: LinkedIn has been hinting at this for a while.

  • Audience development managers tells Axios that LinkedIn editors have been asking publishers to have their reporters share content to boost posts from authoritative individuals, as opposed to having content come from brands directly.

Go deeper

DOJ watchdog to probe whether officials sought to alter election results

Donald and Melania Trump exit Air Force One in West Palm Beach, Fla., on Jan. 20. Photo: Alex Edelman/AFP via Getty Images

The Justice Department's inspector general will investigate whether any current or former DOJ officials "engaged in an improper attempt to have DOJ seek to alter the outcome" of the 2020 election, the agency announced Monday.

Driving the news: The investigation comes in the wake of a New York Times report that alleged Jeffrey Clark, the head of DOJ's civil division, had plotted with President Trump to oust acting Attorney General Jeffery Rosen in a scheme to overturn the election results in Georgia.

2 hours ago - Podcasts

Google's chief health officer Karen DeSalvo on vaccinating America

Google on Monday became the latest Big Tech company to get involved with COVID-19 vaccinations. Not just by doing things like incorporating vaccination sites into its maps, but by helping to turn some of its offices and parking lots into vaccination sites.

Axios Re:Cap goes deeper into what Google is doing, and why now, with Dr. Karen DeSalvo, Google's chief health officer who previously worked at HHS and as health commissioner for New Orleans.

Biden signs order overturning Trump's transgender military ban

Photo: Tom Brenner/Getty Images

President Biden signed an executive order on Monday overturning the Trump administration's ban on transgender Americans serving in the military.

Why it matters: The ban, which allowed the military to bar openly transgender recruits and discharge people for not living as their sex assigned at birth, affected up to 15,000 service members, according to tallies from the National Center for Transgender Equality and Transgender American Veterans Association.