Reply
cancel
Showing results for 
Search instead for 
Did you mean: 
Reply

Bid Order for Job Creator

jsmith-visual
Active Member
Jonathan S Member Since: Sep 1, 2019
1 of 12

I've been doing graphic design on Upwork for about two months with what I've felt has been reasonable success. Out the gate I got a couple interesting jobs from great clients, but these past two weeks it seems very difficult to get any responses from the proposals I submit. I am trying to understand why this may be, and I've started wondering about the way Upwork presents proposals on the client's screen.

 

I watched one of Upwork's videos on creating better proposals and some of the information there seemed to suggest that the response of UW's algorithms to profile stats may play a fairly dominant role in a freelancer's ability to connect with clients. This has me wondering about the order in which bids show up the screen where job posters review proposals, or other ways in which this interface may encourage/dissuade a job poster from selecting (noticing, viewing, etc.) different freelancers.

 

Specifically, I'm wondering if anyone knows whether, or in which way and to what extent, any of the following may impact the visibility of my bid on a job poster's interface.

 

• Order of response

• Bid price

• Job success rating

• Presence of lingering jobs

• Income crossing a particular earnings threshold (say, the first $1K)

• Recent profile tweaks

 

Can the job poster re-order the list, showing earlier, most recent, cheapest and/or most expensive bids first? If they can sort, what other criteria can they sort by? And most importantly, what is the default sort order? Also, are there filters on this list that can remove bids based on things like success rating, $ earned, etc.?

 

Reading an old forum post I saw mention of an "Upwork Recommends." Is this still in effect and if so, how does this play into the interface (is it a different tab, default tab, sort order, badge, etc.)?

 

Will the presence of lingering, unfinished jobs affect my visibility? For example, will waiting on stakeholders to approve work associated with milestones dated in the past negatively affect visibility of my new proposals?

 

Is there a "new freelancer grace period" or similar, where the algorithm gives people with zero job history a "boost" that disappears at a certain point, such as once they cross a $ earned threshold?

 

And finally, does making changes to a profile (tweaking description etc.) have any impact on visibility, negative or positive?

 

Overall I've been pretty happy with the ability to find jobs on this platform, and I also understand that Upwork has an interest in matching good freelancers with good clients — both are required for the network to exist, and their algorithms are surely geared toward doing just that. I even understand that long-term Upworkers may have a leg up on new people; that too would seem reasonable (if unfair, but that's life). And so I'm asking these questions not as a prelude to complaint, but as a means of understanding the rules of the game.

 

If there are online-network-specific things I need to do, things that they don't really register as points of caution for somebody focused on the work itself (insisting on re-establishing milestones when the schedule shifts, for example), I'd like to know so I can tend to them. And if I need to do something additional, like timing my bids more intentionally or chasing an Upwork badge, I'd like to know that as well.

 

Thanks in advance!

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
2 of 12
Finally!
The ultimate ask of transparency from Upwork!

They won't tell you. Upwork's algorithm is one of the most opaque out there. The reason they'll give is; so you won't be able to manipulate the system!


Those factors you mention all weigh in in matching you with clients but you may never know to what extent.

Those were extremely elaborate questions, btw.

What would you do with the answers lol?

Focus on doing great work for your clients, and taking one day at a time!
Refrain from overthinking every piece of stat on Upwork!
It won't be of much use to you!
jsmith-visual
Active Member
Jonathan S Member Since: Sep 1, 2019
3 of 12

Thank you for weighing in, Abinadab.

 

You asked what I would do with the answers. I can see what you mean — for some of the factors I mentioned, there would be likely no course of action I could take, regardless of the answer. However…

 

If bid order influences the sort order, then bidding later or sooner may be a strategy (depending on whether the sort if earlier-first or later-first).

 

If the bid list is sorted by price with cheapest first, then trying a strategy of undercutting on jobs I really want may be a good idea.

 

If the presence of lingering jobs is a factor, I might be able to adjust milestones on jobs as they switch into "wait for approval from higher-ups" mode.

 

If recent profile tweaks are a factor then I might chill out on editing it.

 

You also suggested to focus on doing great work, which I think is sound advice and would definitely have an effect if the sorting scenario is affected by my Success Rating.

 

And to address the last point I asked about, if income passing a particular threshold makes it more difficult to get jobs, there's really nothing to be done, as the whole point is to make money. It would be interesting if Upwork were including such rules in their system though. For example, if the system was geared to push new people to the top, or to push people who hadn't had a job in a while to the top, etc.

 

You probably understand this, but I'll also mention that I'm not looking to game the system. I'm more looking to understand the rules so I don't inadvertently encounter pitfalls. For exmple, if failing to update milestones on a job that's going well but is dragging on can be "interpreted" by Upwork's system as indicating something negative about my work, causing my visibility to be diminished, I should know about that potential, and updating jobs to match an evolving reality would seem to be fair play.

 

I have another question for you though. You mentioned "matching with clients." What dos that mean? How does matching play out in the interface? Is this reflected in bid order, a special tab, a "recommended" badge, a bigger type size on the name of the "matched"… what?

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
4 of 12

Jonathan S wrote:

Thank you for weighing in, Abinadab.

 

You asked what I would do with the answers. I can see what you mean — for some of the factors I mentioned, there would be likely no course of action I could take, regardless of the answer. However…

 

1) If bid order influences the sort order, then bidding later or sooner may be a strategy (depending on whether the sort if earlier-first or later-first).

 

2) If the bid list is sorted by price with cheapest first, then trying a strategy of undercutting on jobs I really want may be a good idea.

 

3) If the presence of lingering jobs is a factor, I might be able to adjust milestones on jobs as they switch into "wait for approval from higher-ups" mode.

 

4) If recent profile tweaks are a factor then I might chill out on editing it.

 

You also suggested to focus on doing great work, which I think is sound advice and would definitely have an effect if the sorting scenario is affected by my Success Rating.

 

5) And to address the last point I asked about, if income passing a particular threshold makes it more difficult to get jobs, there's really nothing to be done, as the whole point is to make money. It would be interesting if Upwork were including such rules in their system though. For example, if the system was geared to push new people to the top, or to push people who hadn't had a job in a while to the top, etc.

 

6) You probably understand this, but I'll also mention that I'm not looking to game the system. I'm more looking to understand the rules so I don't inadvertently encounter pitfalls. For exmple, if failing to update milestones on a job that's going well but is dragging on can be "interpreted" by Upwork's system as indicating something negative about my work, causing my visibility to be diminished, I should know about that potential, and updating jobs to match an evolving reality would seem to be fair play.

 

7) I have another question for you though. You mentioned "matching with clients." What dos that mean? How does matching play out in the interface? Is this reflected in bid order, a special tab, a "recommended" badge, a bigger type size on the name of the "matched"… what?


1) Bid order doesn't influence the default sort order. The default sort order is "Best match", which is Upwork's secret sauce for determining who's the best freelancer for the gig. Clients can override this order and choose to sort by newest applicants/oldest applicants, cheapest/highest hourly rate, and highest earnings.

Freelancer sorting.png

2) See my answer to 1) above

 

3) I don't know for sure. The possibility certainly exists that the Upwork system has a way of determing when things have gone wrong based on how long a milestone has been sitting in Escrow without any action taken.

 

4) No. Recent profile edits/tweaks are not a factor in ranking freelancers. As far as we know, of course.

 

5) Passing a high income threshold might make it difficult for you to land lower rate jobs. Cheap clients might consider you overqualified because you've earned lots, so they'll go with cheap freelancers. Like with like. I believe the algorithm would crunch this too, before suggesting a best match (see second screenshot). That blue badge the system gives to the freelancer it believes is best fit for the job, according to Upwork's secret sauce.

 

Best match.png

6) Of course I'm not saying you are trying to game the system. Read that my sentence this way - "To make the system less prone to manipulation - that's the reason Upwork gives for the opaqueness".

 

7) It's shown as a special blue little badge called "Best match". See screenshot.

Of course clients are free to use their own judgement, and can decide to hire outside the Best match suggestion(s).

 

 

I can only speak out of having hired as a client only but a few times.

Also note that Upwork (unlike Google, Facebook, and the other algorithm peoples) doesn't provide news on algorithm updates. Sometimes the only way freelancers can find out the algo was just updated is when their JSS tanks for seemingly no reason lol.

jsmith-visual
Active Member
Jonathan S Member Since: Sep 1, 2019
5 of 12

Does the "best match" badge move around as more people place bids? What I mean is, if someone comes onto the job first, do they get it, then if someone who the algorithm "likes" more shows up later, does the badge click over to them?

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
6 of 12

Jonathan S wrote:

Does the "best match" badge move around as more people place bids? What I mean is, if someone comes onto the job first, do they get it, then if someone who the algorithm "likes" more shows up later, does the badge click over to them?


I never took note of this the last time I posted a gig.

However, I noticed that more than one freelancer can have the "Best match" badge.

 

If my faint memory serves for anything, I'd say, No, the system doesn't remove the "Best match" badge from a freelancer just because a more qualified freelancer rolled in. However, both of them can carry "Best match". As at the last I posted, which is quite a while.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
7 of 12

Just a bit of data-based perspective:

 

As of right this moment, there are 337,977 freelancers in Graphics & Design and 302,493 have not earned a dime. So, if you've earned more than $1 in that category, then you're faring better than 89% of the Flers in your category. (Someone check my maths, it's been a long workday; yes, I know we don't normally use "maths" in the U.S., but I like it lol.)

 

This leaves you with 35,484 possible competitors. As much as I would love to dive deeper into this analysis, I only have the sheer numbers that Upwork provides via its Fler search. 

 

If I pull up a global search for Graphics & Design jobs, there are 8,213 jobs listed. Again, raw numbers without additional details. But, you get the general picture: 35k freelancers for 8k jobs.

 

I understand your question was focused on how to make yourself more visible amidst the clamor of tens of thousands of other graphic designers (those that have earned). Have you researched other highly rated G&D professional profiles on UW? (What are their weaknesses and strengths vs. yours? Is there something that you can offer that they do not?)

 

As with many -- if not most -- other categories, G&D is saturated. Indeed, many of the "I'm not getting jobs" posts seem to have a high pattern of coming from other FLers in your niche (as of late).

 

Just throwin' all this out there.  

 

 

 

  

abinadab-agbo
Community Guru
Abinadab A Member Since: Sep 26, 2016
8 of 12

Kat C wrote:

 

This leaves you with 35,484 possible competitors. As much as I would love to dive deeper into this analysis, I only have the sheer numbers that Upwork provides via its Fler search. 

 

  


 

 

Sure. There is another tonne whose profiles are private and who are actively searching for jobs on Upwork.

Hope it doesn't get too depressing for the OP.

datasciencewonk
Community Guru
Kat C Member Since: Jul 11, 2016
9 of 12

Abinadab A wrote:

Kat C wrote:

 

This leaves you with 35,484 possible competitors. As much as I would love to dive deeper into this analysis, I only have the sheer numbers that Upwork provides via its Fler search. 

 

  


 

 

Sure. There is another tonne whose profiles are private and who are actively searching for jobs on Upwork.

Hope it doesn't get too depressing for the OP.


He's doing pretty well so far. I mean, not many in his field have earned money.  

jsmith-visual
Active Member
Jonathan S Member Since: Sep 1, 2019
10 of 12

I get it, I could just be hitting a dry spell. But honestly I kind of doubt it. The main difference between now and before is that my profile has been completed. With good initial success, I figured that if I could pull in a grand in a month with a minimal profile and a portfolio that simply pointed to my existing site, that making it easier for people to see the work and coming off as more involved on the platform could only help.

 

Perhaps making access to the work easier is the problem! Smiley LOL

TOP SOLUTION AUTHORS