Infographics are one of the most-maligned, yet most popular, ways that people share data with others, and today LinkedIn is releasing two infographics-related updates that it hopes will help it become a stronger player in that arena. The company is adding two new features to SlideShare, the content sharing platform it bought in May 2012 for $119 million: a new infographics player, and an upgrade for its paid, SlideShare PRO product so that those who post infographics and other presentations can see how well they do.
Together, the two new moves today are more signs of how LinkedIn continues to roll out products that will help it both expand its profile beyond being a place where people go to look for jobs and people to hire, and also to get more visitors spending more time on its platform — essential both for its advertising business and to generate more premium income from paid services.
LinkedIn is still, it seems, stopping short of offering tools to give users the ability to actually create infographics and other presentations themselves — this is an area being explored by startups like Visual.ly in infographics specifically. I’d pay attention to see whether LinkedIn makes further moves in this direction, too.
The infographics player, writes product manager Arpit Dhariwal, will mean that when infographics now get uploaded to SlideShare as PDFs, they will be automatically detected as such and also tagged and included in SlideShare’s infographics directory.
Meanwhile, the premium analytics features will mean that those who upload infographics and other content will get more meaningful data about how it gets used.
Trends are now shown by country and by those who refer an infographic (a referrer). That includes the ability now to weed out traffic from bots to concentrate only on actual humans viewing your data.
Those posting presentations can look at usage data for specific slides now as well. LinkedIn says that users will also be able to see data within 24 hours of publishing — presumably that wait time was significantly longer in the past.
The company also notes that this data can now be presented in graphical formats. That’s right: infographics about your infographics.
Whether you are in the camp that dislikes infographics or thinks they’re a great way of digesting information in our overloaded-data world, the undisputed fact is that these are on the rise. LinkedIn says that in 2012, 43% of B2B marketers (one of its target audiences) used infographics in their work, up from 28% in 2011. It claims (citing data from Payscale, in an infographic of course) that the most effective of them can reach up to 15 million people.