LinkedIn and pretty much every LinkedIn expert out there suggest using customized LinkedIn invitations, instead of just sending the invitation blank. They claim, sending invitations this way is more efficient, people tend to accept invitations more if they have a personal touch. This totally makes sense, until you look at other aspects of the story:

Have you ever think about how does your customized invitation look like when it arrives? When you have new invitations, you find the notifications in the “My Network” menu. There are all the people who invited you to connect, waiting for you to click the CONNECT button instead of the one that says IGNORE. Speaking of which, this is how it looks like when invitations arrive:

linkedin invitations

Did you spot on the picture above, the custom invitation message? If you didn’t, just look at it again, because one of these invitations has custom a message, while the other two lack of personalization. As you can see only three words are visible without clicking the “See more” link which is not the fanciest way to express all the effort that this guy put into your invitation. Even if you click the tiny gray “Manage all” link on the top of the page, – that pretty much no one clicks on – you will see the expanded version of the invitation list, which looks like this:

linkedin invitations

Now the message is more visible, instead of the first three words, you can see almost a whole first sentence, but the color of the text makes it almost indistinguishable from the usual headline texts, like the one that the second invitation has. Obviously, you can click the “See more” link anytime and view the full message, but if you never notice the custom message, you never expand the message to read the whole thing. Let’s not talk about the bad user interface decision putting the “See more” link so close to the “Ignore” one, which doesn’t ask for confirmation when clicked. Meaning if you write a custom invitation message and the recipient doesn’t have a steady hand, your invitation can be easily ignored by mistake.

Fortunately for us, the recipient of the invitation also receives an email notification of the invitation, which again, sounds great, until we look at the facts again. For start, there are two kinds of LinkedIn members. The one who disabled all the email notifications from LinkedIn already and the one used a separate email, dedicated for junk mail in the first place. Let’s talk about the – in our opinion – rare third kind, who still receives emails from LinkedIn which don’t end up straight in the junk. This is an example for a “normal amount” of emails from LinkedIn within two days:

linkedin invitations

There are two emails marked, the green one has a custom invitation message, while the red one is just a regular invitation, without any message. You can’t see the difference unless you click on them and – in our opinion – most people don’t click on them. Why should you check your emails in the first place when you have notifications on the website? If you use LinkedIn regularly and you log in to website or you are using the mobile app, you don’t care about these emails. Especially not that much to actually open them one by one, hoping if there will be a personal message inside. Anyway, if you click on the email, finally you can see the invitation message:

linkedin invitations

Fortunately there is no IGNORE button here, so at least you don’t have to be afraid of getting ignored by mistake if someone reads your custom LinkedIn invitation email. Of course, LinkedIn is changing their interface on a weekly basis, refining it a bit here and there. We can just hope that things will change in the near future and the customized invitations will be displayed better because at the moment it feels like, on the one hand, LinkedIn suggests writing customized messages, but on the other hand they hide these messages pretty well. Now you know the facts, and you can decide if sending customized invitations was a good idea or a waste of time.