The short answer is – there is no foolproof way to know for certain if someone has read your LinkedIn message. However, there are a few indicators you can look for that suggest your message may have been opened and viewed.
1. Message status shows “Read”
The most obvious sign is if the message status shows “Read” next to the name of the recipient. This means LinkedIn has recorded that the message has been opened. However, it’s important to note that the “Read” status is not always accurate:
- The recipient may have previewed the message in an email notification without opening it in LinkedIn.
- Sometimes the status gets stuck on “Sent” even if the message was read.
- The recipient can mark the message as unread after opening it.
So while a “Read” status suggests your message was opened, it’s not a guarantee. You’ll need to look for additional signals.
2. The recipient engages with your message
If the person you messaged likes, comments on, or replies to your message, it’s a clear sign they have read it. This is perhaps the best indicator that your message was received and opened.
Of course, if they don’t respond, it doesn’t necessarily mean they haven’t read the message. Many people open LinkedIn messages without responding. But any type of engagement is a positive signal.
3. They viewed your LinkedIn profile
LinkedIn shows you when someone views your profile. If the person you messaged views your profile around the time you sent the message, they likely opened it. It’s possible they came across your profile another way, but the timing suggests your message prompted them to click.
4. You appear in “Who’s Viewed Your Profile”
Similarly, you can check the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile” section under your LinkedIn profile. If the person you messaged shows up there around the time you sent the message, it’s a good hint they’ve opened it.
Again, it’s not definitive as they may have visited your profile for other reasons. But the timing indicates your message triggered their visit.
5. They added you back
If your LinkedIn message was a connection request, them adding you back shortly after suggests they have seen your message. Be aware though that many people connect without messages, so they may have accepted regardless.
6. You appear in their “People Also Viewed”
When you look at someone’s LinkedIn profile, the “People Also Viewed” section shows who else has looked at their profile. If you appear there after messaging someone, it indicates they likely viewed your profile and thus saw your message.
Of course, you have to be looking at their profile to notice this signal. But it’s one more potential clue that your message was seen.
7. They make relevant profile updates
If your LinkedIn message referenced something specific like a job opening or an article they posted, and they update their profile or activity accordingly, it’s a strong signal they read your message and acted on it.
For example, if you messaged them about a job and they update their experience, skills, or description for that role, your message probably prompted it.
8. Monitor messaging insights
For LinkedIn’s premium Sales Navigator account, you get access to messaging insights that show open and response rates for your messages. This can definitively tell you if a message was opened or not.
Without a premium account, you don’t have access to these insights. But this data can confirm whether your messages are being read overall.
9. Use tracking pixels
Some email marketing and sales tools let you embed tracking pixels in messages to detect when an email is opened. This may work for LinkedIn messages sent through these platforms.
However, tracking pixels don’t work natively in LinkedIn. And pixels can be blocked, so they aren’t completely reliable. But it’s an advanced method some salespeople use.
10. Ask them directly
Finally, you can always directly ask if they happened to see your previous message. This is the most straightforward approach. However, many people may not reply or may not want to admit they ignored you.
So use this method judiciously. Don’t overdo it or be passive aggressive. A simple, casual follow up may get you an answer.
What to do if your LinkedIn messages are being ignored
If you’ve tried the signs above and still feel your LinkedIn messages are being ignored, here are some tips:
- Don’t take it personally. Many people get inundated with messages and prioritize whom they respond to.
- Follow up once or twice more, a week apart. But don’t harass someone who doesn’t respond.
- Make your messages concise, personalized, and focused on how you can help the other person.
- Make sure you have a robust, complete profile that builds your credibility.
- Connect with others in your network who can make an introduction.
- Engage regularly with the person’s content before reaching out.
- Consider upgrading to Sales Navigator to see message metrics.
With persistence and the right strategy, you can get better response rates to your LinkedIn messages. But accept that many messages will go unanswered, and focus your efforts where there is two-way interest.
- A “Read” message status and any reply/engagement indicate your message was seen.
- Profile views, “Who’s Viewed You”, and “People Also Viewed” suggest they opened your message.
- Relevant profile updates, tracking pixels (with limitations), and asking directly can also provide signs.
- Focus your messages on value for the recipient, and follow up politely to improve responses.