On LinkedIn, there is no definitive way to know for sure if someone has read your message. LinkedIn does not have read receipts for messages like other platforms such as WhatsApp or iMessage. However, there are some signs you can look for that suggest your LinkedIn message has likely been opened and read.
Looking for activity clues
One of the best ways to gauge if your message has been read is to look for signs of activity from the recipient. If they have viewed your profile or updated their own profile after you sent the message, there is a good chance they have logged in and seen your message. You can check their profile activity by clicking on their profile picture in your messages list. This will show you a snapshot of their recent profile changes.
Similarly, if the recipient has replied to other messages around the time you sent yours, or accepted invitations to connect from others, that implies they are active on LinkedIn and likely would have seen your message too. So while not completely definitive, recipient activity on LinkedIn around the time of your message is a strong indicator it was read.
Seeing if they viewed your profile
Another clue that your message may have been read is if the recipient views your LinkedIn profile after you sent it. You can see who has viewed your profile in the last 90 days through LinkedIn’s “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section. If the person you messaged has viewed your profile, there’s a good chance they did so after receiving your message. They likely wanted to learn more about you before responding.
Do keep in mind that LinkedIn only shows you a sample of who has viewed your profile recently. So it’s possible the recipient viewed you but it’s not showing up in the list. Still, if they do appear as having recently viewed you soon after receiving your message, it’s reasonable to assume they read your message and checked out your profile because of it.
Checking if they opened your personalized link
Some savvy LinkedIn users will include a personalized link to their profile in messages as a way to see if it gets clicked. For example, you could say in your message “I noticed you’re in the medical devices industry, which I have experience in too (linkedin.com/in/yourprofile). If the recipient clicks that unique link to your profile, you’ll know they opened the message and read it.
Of course, this only works if you customize the URL to your profile for each message. Otherwise, there’s no way to attribute the profile view to that specific message. It takes more effort than a standard copy-paste message, but it’s one of the only surefire ways to confirm your message on LinkedIn has been read.
Monitoring social cues in their response
If you do get a response to your LinkedIn message, you can look for context clues that imply the person read your original note. For example, if they directly reference something you asked or said in your message, clearly they would have had to open and read it to know what to respond to.
Or if they thank you for the message or say it’s great to hear from you, that’s a sign they opened your message and appreciated you reaching out. The words in their reply can provide social cues that they read your original message before crafting their response.
Considering response rate data
While not evidence about a specific message, overall response rate data can give you a general sense of how frequently LinkedIn messages get read. According to LinkedIn, the response rate to InMail messages averages around 20-25%. If about 1 in 4 of your InMail messages get a reply, it’s reasonable to assume at least that portion are being opened and read.
For normal messages sent between connections, the average response rate is a bit higher at 30-35%. Again, while not individual message proof, the aggregate data indicates most LinkedIn messages are likely getting read, even if many go unanswered.
Watching for read receipts if they use other platforms
Some skilled networkers will intentionally connect with someone on multiple platforms when sending an initial outreach. For example, they may message someone on LinkedIn and also connect via email or text. They can then watch for read receipts on those other channels to get confirmation if the outreach was opened.
If you connect a message on LinkedIn with an email follow up, seeing if that email gets opened could be a signal your LinkedIn message was viewed too. Similarly, connecting via SMS or WhatsApp where read statuses are available can provide clues about message engagement.
Considering their inbox type
The type of LinkedIn inbox the recipient uses can provide hints about the likelihood of your message being read. If they have a free Basic account, unread messages may get bumped once they hit the 300 message cap. However, paid Premium and Sales Navigator subscribers have unlimited inboxes, increasing the chances your message sticks around to be read.
Premium inboxes also allow users to set reminder notifications for unread messages. This feature prompts the recipient to check messages they haven’t opened after a certain period of time. If someone has reminders enabled, that indicates intention to read most messages eventually.
Remembering they control message visibility
It’s important to keep in mind the recipient has full control over your message’s visibility in their inbox. They can delete it immediately without opening if they want. Or they can adjust filters to divert your message to an archived folder or their spam list.
So even if you employ clever tricks to ascertain if a message is read, the recipient ultimately decides if your message will appear for them at all. Don’t take lack of response personally – focusing on quality conversations with engaged recipients will serve you better than obsessing over who opened what.
Automating follow-up messages
Persistent LinkedIn users may take the approach of setting automated follow-up messages if they don’t receive a response after a certain time period. This involves using bots or services that can send automated messages based on lack of reply.
The intention is to surface your original message repeatedly, increasing the chances it will eventually be seen. However, this tactic can easily backfire and be marked as spam. Thoughtful, relevant follow up is preferable to simply bombarding someone’s inbox.
Avoiding potential harassment
It’s prudent to cautiously consider your relationship before aggressively attempting to determine if a message was read. Overzealously following up or checking for signs of life can come across as harassment, especially if there is no established rapport.
If you have genuine reason to need confirmation – for example, confirming an interview time – a polite follow up message may be warranted if you don’t hear back. But take care not to appear overly demanding or entitled to a response from someone you barely know.
Focusing on compelling content
At the end of the day, the best method for getting your LinkedIn messages read is to simply send compelling, thoughtful messages that provide value for the recipient. Rather than obsessing over reconfirming message open stats, put that energy into engaging personalization and useful content.
Messages that demonstrate familiarity with someone’s background and provide non-sales focused value are much more likely to get opened than generic canned pitches. Invest time researching recipients and crafting messages tailored to their interests and needs.
Trying built-in options first
Before resorting to unsolicited techniques like automated bots or pushy follow ups, be sure to utilize built-in LinkedIn tools to increase message open rates. Options like InMail credits and Premium subscriptions offer features designed to get your messages noticed.
InMail credits let you directly contact people outside your network who are more likely to be receptive. Premium accounts provide read reminders and expanded network searches to target relevant recipients. Use what LinkedIn provides to maximize visibility before attempting riskier methods.
Understanding legal and ethical concerns
Any tactics to track LinkedIn message reads or confirm opens should be considered carefully in regard to legal and ethical concerns. Certain addons or techniques could qualify as breaching terms of service or even count as illegal hacking in some jurisdictions.
Make sure to abide by LinkedIn’s user agreement and stay away from tools that enable unauthorized access or manipulation of systems. And consider the ethics of overt message tracking when recipients intend communication to be private and transient.
Respecting privacy and user expectations
Many LinkedIn users expect messaging to function similarly to other transient social media interactions. They likely assume messages will disappear into the ether without leaving a forensic trail of their open activity.
Thus, respecting user privacy should be paramount when considering message tracking. Just because high-tech techniques exist to covertly monitor message reads does not mean they align with ethical principles or user expectations.
While LinkedIn doesn’t have definitive read receipts for messages, there are various clues you can look for to gauge the likelihood a message has been read. Recipient profile activity, customized link clicks, social cues in replies, and response rate data can all provide hints your message was opened. But ultimately, obsessing over this level of tracking is rarely worthwhile, and investing your energy into engaging, personalized messages will yield better results.