On, Off, or Around the Clock: When LinkedIn Members Read Professionally-Relevant Content on the Web

March 31, 2014

Professionals thrive on knowledge and insights, but they are also strapped for time. So, when do they find time to read professionally-relevant content?

We surveyed 828 LinkedIn members in the US to find out when they are likely to read professionally-relevant articles on the web. We defined professionally-relevant articles as: “articles that you read because they are relevant to your profession or professional growth.”

We found that, based on their web-reading preferences, LinkedIn members can be grouped into three distinct groups. The figure below shows the percentage of people in each group who say they are likely to read professionally-relevant articles on the web at various times.

When LinkedIn Members are Likely to Read Professionally-Relevant Articles on the Web

Segment: On the Clock (~40% of respondents)

This group of LinkedIn members are likely to wait until they get to work before they start reading professionally-relevant content on the web. Once they are at work, they are very likely to read before, during, and after lunch. These members drive to work, so they don’t read during their commute and, compared to the other segments, they are the least likely to read in the evening or on the weekend.

Segment: Off the Clock (~40% of respondents)

These members do not read during their commutes or while they are at work. Instead, they are likely to jump on the web and read in the morning, at lunch, in the evening, or at bedtime. For whatever reason, they might not have time, access, or permission to read articles on the web while at work. Not surprisingly, to get their fix, this segment is the most likely to read in the evening, near bedtime, and on the weekend.

Segment: Around the Clock (~20% of respondents)

These members are not tied to a particular time of day for reading professionally-relevant articles on the web. Starting with their morning commute, this segment is likely to read throughout the day and on the weekend. Mobile access to the web is key for this segment. Seventy-six percent of them take public transportation to work, which represents a sizeable number of hours they can spend reading on the web. They reported a median commute time of 40 minutes. Assuming they can spend half of it reading, they enjoy over 40 hours of reading time per quarter.

Key Takeaway for Marketers

Consider which segment your target consumers are likely to fall into and plan the timing of your company updates accordingly. For example, if your target audience works in highly-regulated or scheduled environments that make it hard for them to read while at work (e.g., finance or healthcare industries) try posting company updates in the morning, evening, and on the weekend. If they are likely to commute on public transportation (e.g., professionals who live in New York City, Chicago, etc.), try posting during morning and evening commute times.

Bonus Insight: When Senior Members Engage Most

Somewhat surprisingly, individual contributors, managers, directors, VP’s, and CXO’s all have very similar preferences for when they read professionally-relevant articles on the web. While there is no correlation between seniority and the three segments described above, there are a few interesting findings. Compared to individual contributors and managers, LinkedIn members with higher seniority (directors, VP’s, and CXO’s) are:

  • 1.5x more likely to read in the morning before work (32% versus 22%)
  • 1.9x more likely to read during vacation (14% versus 8%)
  • Less likely to read during lunch (38% versus 48%)


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