Games LinkedIn Plays to Stay Ahead

Games LinkedIn Plays to Stay Ahead

A few weeks back, LinkedIn was testing some games on its networking platform as a means to increase user engagement. Now, it has gone ahead and launched three games officially that can be used to test one’s logic, trivia and word association skills. All this while it has silently emerged as a challenge to micro-blogging platform X (formerly Twitter). 

The three games titled Queens, Crossclimb and Pinpoint was developed by LinkedIn News and can be accessed on LinkedIn. The games are similar to the very popular Wordle in that they can only be played once a day. So, employers needn’t worry too much about their teams spending (or is it wasting) time on the platform. 

 As a starter, LinkedIn allows users to invite one’s direct connections to play a game together and then gloat about how well they performed by sharing the information with those connections who have opted in. By including them, LinkedIn hopes to increase time spent on their platform as well as having closer engagements with one’s connections. 

What’s behind this game theory?

While LinkedIn itself believes that their innovations are a means to connect people more closely, what’s probably not visible immediately is the connection between the three games that have gone live and the fact that this Microsoft-owned platform borrows excessively from content produced by other media houses. 

 In the past publications have created their own word and logic games (NY Times and The Hindu are prime examples) and then expanded to include more from external sources. NYT acquired Wordle back in 2022 and has since been the arrowhead for driving engagement in a market that’s choc-a-bloc with content creators. 

These moves from publishers have come in the wake of heightened social media activities around gaming, first started by the innocuous sounding Farmville that brought increased engagement and connection between users for Facebook some years ago. With the likes of Instagram and others connecting with the younger audiences, media houses are increasingly seeking avenues to keep his target audience on their radar. 

So,  puzzles and games have become the go-to idea for media houses to attract users who could potentially widen the audience base of these titles and also eventually turn into consumers of news and current affairs information that media houses share over their digital networks across geographies.

LinkedIn has the numbers, hence the shift

With a billion plus users, LinkedIn is sitting on a vast audience and has used its in-house advertising to good effect over the years. What these games could do in the future is extend the engagement time in a way that bolsters advertising revenues while giving more value to its users through a thicker association between users that eventually goes beyond first-degree connections. 

From a business user perspective, such games open up a real possibility of professional connections getting closer through their interest in such activities. Which, in turn, can potentially result in a closer relationship between a brand and their target audience whereby they can get better traction for marketing content and prospective lead generation. 

Games may work, but will LinkedIn expand on them?

An oft-heard challenge for marketers using LinkedIn as a means to generate leads is to actually ensure that it pops-up on the target’s feed. While using paid and targeted ads do work, the outcomes usually end up being a “Like” with little or no chance of translating into an actual comment on the post itself. 

With the introduction of games, LinkedIn is hoping that users connect with each other on a slightly more personal basis. What now needs to happen is for LinkedIn to accept games created by external vendors with themes that align with their lines of business and those of their prospective customers. 

For now though, the games aren’t really doing this. Queens is a game where users figure out how to arrange crowns in a pattern that do not overlap with each other within a fixed time. Crosslimb provides users clues for words that need to fit into a grid where words change by one letter with each clue to eventually form another word. As for Pinpoint, it involves finding a connection between a set of words that aren’t immediately revealed but do so as one tries to find the connection. The task is to find the connection with as few reveals as possible. 

That LinkedIn has shifted gears towards games to form stronger connections is indicative of the impact that online games have on such associations. Finding a more natural and transactional way to engage deeper with connections is where LinkedIn is headed towards but it remains to be seen how far it goes on this route.

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