Continuing to expand on the use cases for their unique professional data set, LinkedIn's releasing a new tool called 'Website Demographics', which will provide a range of insights into who's visiting your website, based on their listed LinkedIn data.
The system works in a similar way to other web-tracking processes like Facebook's Pixel and Google Analytics tags - businesses will need to add a line of code to each page on their website they want to track (or use their existing LinkedIn Insights Tag), which will then enable LinkedIn to connect visitor data for those specific pages to associated LinkedIn profiles. LinkedIn can then provide anonymized data insights for each of those pages - or groups of pages, which can also be linked.
As you can see from the video, users will be able to filter the data by eight segments, based on their listed info on LinkedIn. Those categories are:
- Job title
- Job seniority
- Job function
- Company size
Users will be able to further narrow the information down by date range - the past 30 days, the past seven days, this month, the previous month, today, yesterday, all time or custom.
LinkedIn says the option will help businesses better target their campaigns and marketing processes by learning more about who's responding to their efforts.
"For example, let's say you run marketing for an IT business and traditionally target technology professionals. Looking at your Website Demographics dashboard, you discover that healthcare professionals are visiting a product page more than you imagined. Equipped with this knowledge, you can adjust your marketing strategy to target this newly discovered audience."
Definitely, there's a range of potential use cases, and given LinkedIn now has more than 500 million members, the data pool is significant, but there are some limitations to be aware of in the process.
First off, for LinkedIn, protecting user data privacy is obviously a priority, which puts various limitations on how much insight they can provide.
For one, LinkedIn can't provide data for any page or group of pages until they've had at least 300 LinkedIn-linked visitors. That's not a major concern, really - any insight you might glean from a data-pool less than this would likely not be indicative, but still, it does limit the range of insights available.
Website Demographics also measures page views, as opposed to unique visitors. The distinction here is significant - if one person is coming back to your site repeatedly, that could skew your data, while LinkedIn can only display these visits as a percentage, not in raw detail.
So instead of being able to say '100 visitors came from Coca Cola', LinkedIn could only tell you, for example, that 30% of views for a certain page came from people at Coca Cola, which can be a significantly different measure, particularly if you're not seeing a heap of page views.
And another key element - because the system is reliant on the LinkedIn Insight tag, Website Demographics can only track desktop usage data. That's particularly relevant when you consider the rising amount of mobile usage (as a related aside, the majority of LinkedIn users now access the site on mobile), but still, any additional data is better than nothing, and despite the various limitations, there's still a lot of potential there.
So what will LinkedIn's Website Demographics show you? You'll be able to get a better idea of wider trends, as opposed to granular data - you'll be able to see, for example, whether you're reaching the people you need to, which will have varying levels of value based on your offering. If you sell IT solutions, you want to be reaching the relevant decision makers - you'll be able to get a better idea of that through these new data points. If you're focused on a specific location with your campaign, a certain industry, the overall trends will help. And as LinkedIn notes, maybe you'll identify opportunities you weren't necessarily aware of.
Basically, it's not the all-encompassing data goldmine it may seem at first glance, but it could still provide a heap of value, and add to your wider audience understanding.
As noted, this is the latest in LinkedIn's expanding efforts to better utilize their vast professional data set. Thus far, LinkedIn's been very cautious about how they utilize their data, limiting access to their expanded graph, but since the Microsoft acquisition last June, the company's shown signs that they are working towards new solutions which capitalize on the unique knowledge base.
And that could be a huge step - while other social platforms can all provide similar audience insights based on usage trends and profile data, LinkedIn's dataset is unique, which puts them in a position to own the HR and recruitment space, specifically, and to also create more focused marketing options not possible through any other means. There's still some way to go before they reach that next level, but LinkedIn could one day become the essential job seeker companion, you might need to use LinkedIn to get matched to the right career.
It'll take time and development, but with the backing of Microsoft's resources, LinkedIn only looks set to become more dominant in this field. Website Demographics provides another insight into the data they have available, and will further add to their data pool as more businesses use it, strengthening LinkedIn's position.
Website Demographics is free, and is being rolled out over the next few weeks.