in Analytics, Marketing

Exploiting LinkedIn to Understand Your Site’s Audience

Here’s a cool idea about how you could potentially use LinkedIn to get audience data for your website…

Disclaimer: I do not condone using this exploit on your website, as it is in violation of LinkedIn’s service agreement.

What you can do…

  1. Use your existing account OR create a new LinkedIn account (violation of LinkedIn’s ToS in itself). If you create a new account, the data you collect won’t conflict with data in your personal LinkedIn profile. It may also make sense use a phony name and a made-up job so that no one will find the profile organically.
  2. You can sign the account up for a free LinkedIn Premium trial account to gain access to a larger set of data.
  3. Add the profile to your website via an iframe and set to be 1px by 1px:

<iframe src="https://www.linkedin.com/profile/view?id=<em>profileid</em>" width="1px" height="1px">

This way the iframe will be invisible to the naked eye but every time someone visits your website, the LinkedIn profile will load.

Note: If you were to do this, not all user information will pass through the iframe.

You wouldn’t see actual names of visitors, but rather a semi-vague descriptor of what the visitor does or what industry he/she works in.

People that have their LinkedIn profile set to be seen as anonymous, will still be anonymous.

Example: “Journalist in the Public Relations and Communications industry from Milan Area, Italy”

Even without having access to actual names, I think this information would be VERY useful, especially if it’s paired with other information like Audience and Interests in Google Analytics…

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…and Survey data.

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Another obvious hypothetical application of this would be using this data for ad targeting on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Playing with the data

If you were to do this, you would need to navigate to the “Who’s Viewed Your Profile Tab” after collecting your data…

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Then you would scroll all the way to the bottom until all of the data populates…

It would populate new data as you scroll to the bottom of the page…

Once you’ve reached the bottom of your list, you could use something like the Scrape Extension for Google Chrome to get everything into a spreadsheet.

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Pretty cool!

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Then if you like you can dump this information a service like TagCrowd and generate a nifty word cloud:

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Just in case you were wondering, this guy (using a similar method) found that 35% of users who visited his blog were logged into LinkedIn.

The moral of this story…

You might want to log out of LinkedIn if you don’t want some creepy marketers collecting data about you.

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