Introducing the LinkedIn Content Insights Annual

What Professionals Were Reading on LinkedIn in 2017

March 12, 2018

Even as we move deeper into the new year, it’s always instructive to reflect back on the year that was. This report uses LinkedIn data to gauge what content drove the most engagement on LinkedIn in 2017. We also take a look at which topics became a lot more popular last year.

The top topics of 2017

On LinkedIn, some topics are consistently popular, such as leadership, management and sales. Every business needs all three of those. Additionally, the LinkedIn platform hosts significant amounts of advice on recruiting and being recruited.

But LinkedIn is not a static platform. The topics being discussed on LinkedIn are changing as business, economics, and technologies change. So, what top topics were catching the eye of professionals around the world in 2017?

For one thing, with the rise of the gig economy, going out on your own has never been more popular and, arguably, feasible. Given this reality, “Start-ups” and “Entrepreneurship” elbowed their way into the top 20 topics of 2017.

The top content driving conversations on LinkedIn is a reflection of what is happening in the world. For instance, after Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods and coverage of the ongoing travails of retail stores, “Retail” was a top 10 topic on LinkedIn in 2017. Also, while IPO activity may have slowed down to even being scarce, there were still plenty of business transactions as the top topic of “Mergers & Acquisitions” indicates.

And who could have missed the extensive coverage of AI in 2017? Certainly not LinkedIn members, who engaged with a large amount of content around “Artificial Intelligence,” making it a top topic for the year.  

And after the coverage of hacks of corporations and events such as election interference, it is not surprising to see “Security” make it onto the list of top content themes of 2017.

Lessons for Marketers

There are more than 530 million professionals on LinkedIn. A group this large will have broad interests. No matter what your topic or how vertical your industry is, marketers can find an audience for the useful content they and their companies post on LinkedIn.  

Check out the full top 20 list below:

Did you miss any of the top articles of the year?

In 2017, LinkedIn members shared a host of great articles that delivered wisdom on a range of topics. Advice on being a better professional is a popular topic on LinkedIn, and on the platform members have access to insights from some of the world’s best professional minds. Articles that rose to the top this year offered tips on selling and people management. For more general advice, members turned to Bill Gates’ recommended reading list.  

In 2017, more cities and states enacted laws on asking about candidates’ salaries in interviews. Clearly, how to handle this question is a concern for professionals globally, and Suzy Welch’s great advice on the topic was a top piece of content.

The year 2017 saw many iconic moments for women, such as the women’s march and the #MeToo movement. Many women still face challenges in the workplace overcoming negative perceptions and stereotypes. One of our top articles took this topic head-on to celebrate women who face these challenges in their occupations.

Finally, our members engaged with content in 2017 that reflects on day-to-day life rather than strictly work related. Meaningful articles that particularly resonated in 2017 explored mental illness and what we can learn from the regrets of the dying.

Lessons for Marketers

The content that gets read on LinkedIn is either useful or entertaining — and preferably both. The top 10 articles for 2017 demonstrate this fact, with the top story, "The Best Answer I've Ever Heard to 'Sell Me This Pen,'" being both useful and entertaining (especially for sales professionals).    

Here are the top 10 articles on LinkedIn for 2017:

  1. The Best Answer I've Ever Heard to "Sell Me This Pen", by Dailius Wilson
  2. This Study Reveals the Biggest 5 Regrets People Have Before They Die, by John-Paul Iwuoha
  3. Elon Musk's Brilliant Email Rule at Tesla, by Frank Chung 
  4. My 5 Essential Tips to Selling Anything to Anyone, by Robert Herjavec
  5. How You Treat Your Employees will Determine the Fate of Your Company, by Brigette Hyacinth
  6. Bad Manager Mistakes That Make Good People Quit, by Travis Bradberry
  7. From the Ritz to a Padded Cell: A Workaholic's Lesson on Love and Loss, by Lindsey Boggs
  8. 5 Amazing Books I Read This Year, by Bill Gates
  9. To All the "Bitches" Out There in the Workplace, by Sam Struan
  10. Suzy Welch: What to Say When a Job Interviewer Asks, "What's Your Current Salary?" by Marguerite Ward

Which topics emerged in 2017?

As with every year, 2017 saw the emergence and rapid growth of new topics. We dug into our data and pulled out a few particularly interesting examples. These fast-growing topics are a great reflection of what was happening in the world in 2017 and show the broad ranging interests of LinkedIn’s members, from coding to current affairs.

‘Start-ups ‘and ‘Entrepreneurship’ were in our top topics of the year, and “Funding” and “Angel Investing” were fast growing topics, as would-be entrepreneurs looked for specific advice on financing their business. Amazon’s acquisition of Whole Foods might partially explain the jump of the “Food & Beverage” topic. Elon Musk’s Tesla garnered plenty of coverage in 2017 and surely helped “Electric Vehicles” emerge as one of our fastest-growing topics. Among the tech-crowd, engagement with content on programming languages ‘R’ and ‘C’ grew quickly in 2017. Last year was also a big year for political coverage, and so it’s not much surprise that “Policy” was a fast growing topic given the range of discussions about policy on immigration, financial regulation, healthcare and tax to name a few.

Lessons for Marketers

Be present on the LinkedIn platform. You never know when your area of expertise or your slice of the economy will attract the interest of a broad slice of the LinkedIn membership. 

Throughout 2018, LinkedIn will continue to share quarterly content insights, with the latest top topics and articles and hot growth on the platform. Check out the latest version, for Q4 2017, here.

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Content Insights Annual Methodology

*Top Topics: These are the topics that have the most engagement on the LinkedIn platform; engagement is defined as any of the following actions: click, like, share, comment.

**Top Growth Topics are the tagged content topics that grown in engagement from the last 6 months of 2016 compared to all of 2017

***Top Articles are ranked by total number of engagements (click, like, share, comment) with that article in the quarter.