The following is a Quora post answering the question, “Does LinkedIn Sell Your Info?”
This is likely to fall into a semantics question. If data is employed in the aggregate and your personally identifiable information is not disclosed, then I would argue that your information is not sold. Likewise, if you are presented an ad because your LinkedIn profile conforms with a target audience definition, your data is also not being sold.
I can’t answer for LinkedIn Recruiter, but can answer in the Sales and Marketing context.
LinkedIn offers a sales product called Sales Navigator. Users can view company and contact information on Navigator just as they can on the free service. It even supports viewing this data within third-party SNAP products. However, Navigator and SNAP are view only. Sales reps cannot download your profile or sync it with any of their partner platforms. They also restrict display of your email and phone information to your direct connects as well as other content you flag as restricted.
LinkedIn Marketing sells advertising on LinkedIn and Bing based upon your profile attributes. Advertisers define their target audience across a broad set of firmographic, career, and location variables, but these segments are not provided directly to the marketer. Instead, they are used for advertising display. Thus, your data isn’t sold, just your eyeballs.
LinkedIn treats its member’s data with respect. Microsoft, its parent company, has called for a US version of GDPR, the European data privacy standard. CEO Satya Nadella stated that “privacy is a fundamental human right” on an April 2018 earnings call and said that the firm has implemented an “end-to-end privacy architecture” which is GDPR compliant.
As part of their Q1 2019 release, LinkedIn rolled out a set of new SNAP (Sales Navigator Application Platform) partners including Altify, Drift, G2 Crowd, and Mixmax.
The Drift partnership allows sales reps to “continue website conversations” after a prospect drops off of a Drift chat: “sometimes people leave your conversation abruptly – it happens. But as an SDR, that’s a potential meeting walking out the door. So what do you do? Well now you can send a connection request or follow up message with InMail right from within Drift.”
integration also displays contact and company intelligence including shared
connections while a sales rep is chatting with a prospect visiting her website
(see image on right).
the days of toggling back and forth between LinkedIn and your ongoing sales
conversation,” said Drift Product Marketer Daniel Murphy. “Say goodbye to
awkward lags in conversations. Prospects will never again have to wait for a
response while SDRs search LinkedIn Sales Navigator or Salesforce to determine
if they’re a good fit. Now they can research a prospect’s company, see
mutual connections, and grab other insights and conversation starters – all in
gathers intent data from 24 million technology searchers. Intent data is
collected from G2 profile and category views along with competitor comparisons.
Sales reps are notified when followed accounts are researching on G2
based on contact connections, sales preferences, search histories, and profile
“People don’t buy today as a result of cold calls and emails. The power is in the hands of the buyers doing more research than ever before. As sales teams, we need to focus on accepting the modern buyer journey and connecting to the right buyers at the right time. We’ve always been aligned with LinkedIn on this vision, and this integration helps us make it a reality.”
G2 Chief Revenue Officer Matt Gorniak
SNAP integration supports InMail and Connection requests and profile views from
org-chart software now displays insights and helps users identify key buyers
across an organization.
also noted that it will be available within the Salesforce Winter 2019 release.
Salesforce admins can install the application from the Lightning Setup
Console instead of the AppExchange.
One problem that
has long dogged sales intelligence vendors is ongoing training and product
exploration. To encourage exploration, Sales Navigator added a coaching
feature to extend product knowledge. Sales Navigator Coach is a new
dashboard that “suggests actions for customers to take and links to short
learning videos.” Actions are associated with core workflows. The
videos run thirty to forty seconds.
Finally, GDPR opt-outs are being added to PointDrive presentations. PointDrive recipients will be able to revoke viewer tracking permission, effectively anonymizing their viewing data from sales reps.
While the change is pro-privacy and consistent with GDPR, TechCrunch took a negative view of the new setting.
A win for privacy on LinkedIn could be a big loss for businesses, recruiters and anyone else expecting to be able to export the email addresses of their connections.…[The new option] could prevent some spam, and protect users who didn’t realize anyone who they’re connected to could download their email address into a giant spreadsheet. But the launch of this new setting without warning or even a formal announcement could piss off users who’d invested tons of time into the professional networking site in hopes of contacting their connections outside of it…
On a social network like Facebook, barring email exports makes more sense. But on LinkedIn’s professional network, where people are purposefully connecting with those they don’t know, and where exporting has always been allowed, making the change silently seems surreptitious. Perhaps LinkedIn didn’t want to bring attention to the fact it was allowing your email address to be slurped up by anyone you’re connected with, given the current media climate of intense scrutiny regarding privacy in social tech. But trying to hide a change that’s massively impactful to businesses that rely on LinkedIn could erode the trust of its core users.
TechCrunch overstates the loss. Member control their data, not LinkedIn or LinkedIn connections. Second, there are multiple ways to reach users from within LinkedIn including InMail, messaging, and PointDrive. Unless the email is blocked on the profile, connections still have access to emails from within LinkedIn. Finally, most emails in LinkedIn are personal emails, not business emails (an issue they should address by allowing both and setting privacy and messaging rules around multiple emails), so reaching out to individuals on their emails only makes sense for friends, family, and recruiters on LinkedIn, not businesspeople networking with colleagues and clients.
While LinkedIn wasn’t transparent about the privacy change, it enhanced the privacy of its members. As such, looking for nefarious reasons for the enhancement is a reach.
Speaking at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners (ICDPPC), Apple CEO Tim Cook forcefully called for expanded global privacy protections akin to GDPR:
Our own information — from the everyday to the deeply personal — is being weaponized against us with military efficiency. These scraps of data, each one harmless enough on its own, are carefully assembled, synthesized, traded and sold. Taken to the extreme this process creates an enduring digital profile and lets companies know you better than you may know yourself. Your profile is a bunch of algorithms that serve up increasingly extreme content, pounding our harmless preferences into harm…
We shouldn’t sugarcoat the consequences. This is surveillance…
We should celebrate the transformative work of the European institutions tasked with the successful implementation of the GDPR. We also celebrate the new steps taken, not only here in Europe but around the world — in Singapore, Japan, Brazil, New Zealand. In many more nations regulators are asking tough questions — and crafting effective reform.
It is time for the rest of the world, including my home country, to follow your lead.
We see vividly, painfully how technology can harm, rather than help. [Some platforms] magnify our worst human tendencies… deepen divisions, incite violence and even undermine our shared sense or what is true or false.
This crisis is real. Those of us who believe in technology’s potential for good must not shrink from this moment…
They may say to you our companies can never achieve technology’s true potential if there were strengthened privacy regulations. But this notion isn’t just wrong it is destructive — technology’s potential is and always must be rooted in the faith people have in it. In the optimism and the creativity that stirs the hearts of individuals. In its promise and capacity to make the world a better place.
It’s time to face facts. We will never achieve technology’s true potential without the full faith and confidence of the people who use it.
He also warned about the dangers of AI which fails to protect privacy:
Artificial intelligence is one area I think a lot about. At its core this technology promises to learn from people individually to benefit us all. But advancing AI by collecting huge personal profiles is laziness, not efficiency.
For artificial intelligence to be truly smart it must respect human values — including privacy. If we get this wrong, the dangers are profound. We can achieve both great artificial intelligence and great privacy standards. It is not only a possibility — it is a responsibility…
Yesterday, Cook tweeted that privacy is a human right
based upon four principals:
Data Minimization – Personal data collection should be minimized or de-identified.
Transparency – Individuals have the right to know what is being collected and for what purpose.
Right to Access – “data belongs to users” with personal data available to individuals for copying, correcting, and deleting.
Right to security – “security is foundational to trust and all other privacy rights”
Last month Sales Navigator began rolling out its Q3 release. Amongst the features are a Pipeline Review and Buyers Circle (discussed last Friday), improved Search, and additional SNAP integrations.
Sales Navigator Account and Lead Search have been redesigned for speed and ease. The Account and Lead Search functions and results (see 1 below) are more prominent, offer streamlined search filters (see 2), and deliver simplified save search and alerting processes. Other enhancements include hover cards (see 3) which display company intelligence when mousing over a company name. Hover cards include a Save as Account button.
LinkedIn originally designed their mobile app to complement the desktop service but is working to make mobile a “full-featured Sales Navigator experience.” Last quarter, they focused on Account enhancements and this quarter they brought the mobile Lead experience to parity with the desktop service.
“We will continue to narrow the gap between our mobile and desktop experiences in upcoming releases, and take advantage of the unique characteristics of mobile as well.”
Doug Camplejohn, VP of Product Management at LinkedIn Sales Solutions.
LinkedIn continues to invest in its SNAP partner program. This quarter, Adobe Sign was added as a partner and three partners (Salesforce, MS Dynamics, and SalesLoft) took advantage of their version two capabilities. SFDC and MSD now broadly embed LinkedIn intelligence in Lead, Account, and Opportunity pages. Users may also send InMails from within the CRM.
The next generation SNAP integrations are modular, providing greater flexibility around where content is displayed. New modular features include InMail support and the handling of Potential Profile Matches.
LinkedIn has taken a “Switzerland approach” to its partnerships, working with both Microsoft and its competitors.
The firm reiterated its commitment to data security and GDPR compliance. “LinkedIn maintains ISO 27001 & ISO 27018 certifications, as well as a SSAE-18 certification, SOC 2 Type I report,” noted the firm in its briefing to Admins.
Finally, LinkedIn added an Ideas site to its Sales Navigator Community portal where admins can “submit, vote on, comment on and track status of ideas for how to improve Sales Navigator.”
One of the concerns raised by GDPR is fear of draconian fines, but that should not be a concern in the UK, at least for those who act in good faith. “I have no intention of changing our proportionate and pragmatic approach, said ICO Information Commissioner Liz Denham. “Hefty fines will be reserved for those organisations that persistently, deliberately, or negligently flout the law.”
And while many have complained that GDPR is a major hindrance to traditional marketing, it redirects efforts towards better targeted accounts and prospects. “B2B direct marketing is alive and well, and is explicitly envisaged in the GDPR legislation,” said Kevin Savage, Rhetorik’s Chief Revenue Officer. “You can do B2B marketing, and you should because compliance requirements are really a blessing in disguise. Relying on Legitimate Interest requires you to be more mindful and selective about the personal data you keep and use. This selectivity enables you to be more targeted in your messaging, to cut through the noise and engage prospects more effectively.”
Please find the underlying statutes for major European countries, courtesy of Rhetorik:
Yesterday, I presented a discussion of Legitimate Interest as the basis of GDPR communications. For B2B companies in the UK, the 2003 PECR (The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003) law is often applicable when assessing GDPR and Data Privacy:
GDPR and Data Privacy under UK PECR and Non-PECR scenarios (Source: Rhetorik)
The PECR discusses soft opt-ins for individuals, sole traders and some partnerships, but not B2B. The ICO states that “the term ‘soft opt-in’ is sometimes used to describe the rule about existing customers. The idea is that if an individual bought something from you recently, gave you their details, and did not opt out of marketing messages, they are probably happy to receive marketing from you about similar products or services even if they haven’t specifically consented. However, you must have given them a clear chance to opt out – both when you first collected their details, and in every message you send. The soft opt-in rule means you may be able to email or text your own customers, but it does not apply to prospective customers or new contacts.”
Legitimate Interest also applies to data licensing relationships and marketing partnerships. If personal data interest is maintained for a specific purpose (e.g. Technology Sales), data licensing and sharing needs to be kept within the original scope.
Legitimate Interest and Consent also apply within a company. Data maintained for one product line may not be usable for others, particularly if the firm spans multiple sectors.
The UK Direct Marketing Association published guidance on the subject of Legitimate Interest helping make sense of Article 6.1.f:
“Processing is necessary for the purposes of the legitimate interests pursued by the controller or by a third party, except where such interests are overridden by the interests or fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject which require protection of personal data, in particular where the data subject is a child.”
And Recital 47:
“The legitimate interests of a controller, including those of a controller to which the Personal Data may be disclosed, or of a third party, may provide a legal basis for processing, provided that the interests or the fundamental rights and freedoms of the data subject are not overriding, taking into consideration the reasonable expectations of data subjects based on their relationship with the controller.”
Once the basis of holding personal data is met, companies have additional conditions to meet around transparency (notification and the right to object), data minimization (Is there a legitimate interest in collecting all of the fields? How long is data retained?), and reasonable expectation (limited impact to personal and private life; ensuring data accuracy).
For individuals who opt out, firms must retain suppression lists to prevent the re-collection of personal information. The suppression list should be the minimal information required to ensure the individual is not added back into the marketing database at a later date. With B2B, the list may simply be name and email.
The GDPR also sets out expectations which are relationship specific:
I’ve been looking for a good description of what GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) means to B2B marketers and finally came across a session given by UK technology profiler Rhetorik. There have been a number of issues that have muddied the waters, making it difficult to provide much more than general rules. Amongst the issues are a focus on the implications to consumer marketers, the lack of a general law that spans the EU, and an emphasis on rumors and fears about what will happen to firms that fail to comply with the regulation.
Rhetorik Data Protection Officer Samantha Magee noted that GDPR covers how and why companies hold and protect data. It is focused on internal processes rather than external communications, and is channel agnostic.
In around 18 months, the EU will pass uniform ePrivacy legislation which covers external communications in member countries. Until then, rules will remain fragmentary. For example, Opt-in or Opt-out protocols differ by country with the UK amongst the more liberal countries:
For the moment, GDPR has given teeth to local regulations. In the UK, the PECR (The Privacy and Electronic Communications Regulations of 2003), overseen by the Information Commissioners Office (ICO), remains the applicable regulation for consumer, single trader, and small partnership communications. It was drafted after the European Directive 2002/58/EC, otherwise known as the or ‘e-privacy Directive’, was implemented in 2002.
There are six bases for communicating with clients and prospects, all of which have equal weight: Consent, Contract, Legal Obligation, Vital Interest, Public Task, and Legitimate Interest. Of these, Consent (e.g. opt-in) and Legitimate Interest are the most common for B2B marketers. Support and service departments would most likely be covered under contractual relationships.
“Legitimate Interest aims to provide a solid and lawful basis upon which commercial communication can occur, allowing marketers to promote their products and services to a targeted and well defined audience,” said Magee. “At its heart, is the desire to ensure that commercial practices and communications are relevant to the individual, offering the assurance that high standards of care are applied and that their essential privacy” rights are considered of the utmost importance.”
Part II continues with a discussion of the UK PECR law and additional details on Legitimate Interest.
Technology media and intent purchasing firm TechTarget announced a set of enhancements to its Priority Engine service “that vastly improve ABM performance, increase sales productivity and maximize demand generation success for enterprise B2B technology organizations.” Amongst the enhancements are improvements to the user experience, a new Salesforce widget, persistent URLs, list assignments, user roles, and improved topic filtering.
Priority Engine combines executive intelligence with purchaser specific demand signals spanning 10,000 IT Topics across its technology research sites. The service marries HG Data technology intent intelligence with DiscoverOrg contacts, Owler firmographics, and TechTarget intent data and prospects. Priority Engine assists sales and marketing professionals by “expanding access to total buying teams at active accounts and showcasing rich purchase details such as installed technologies, vendor shortlists and specific, relevant topical interests.”
Priority Engine is GDPR compliant across its 18 million professional profiles who have opted into TechTarget partner marketing programs. Furthermore, because TechTarget has opted-in user profiles, it is able to provide intent data at the individual level. This contrasts with other intent networks which gather anonymous intent information at the company level.
User Experience enhancements include a left-side navigation menu and search bar. The navigation bar provides account list management, export functionality, and export monitoring. The search bar provides a type-ahead company list to expedite account searching.
Account profiles contain Owler headquarters information along with a business description, logo, sizing data, and social media links. Also displayed in the business summary are an account interest gauge, Buying Team counts, Vendor Interests based upon downloaded vendor content, and Top Interests. The account Interest gauge evaluates site readership (number of readers, type of content, scope of vendor interest) to determine whether the prospect is Evaluating Vendors, Ramping Up, or Not Active in the segment.
TechTarget also offers a set of intent signals based upon readership patterns: Widespread, Sustained, Late Stage, Stakeholder, and Cross-Vendor. According to the firm, “the more blue dots that are lit up, the more focus sales should commit to the account.”
At the top of each Account Profile are the licensed segments. Sales reps can click on any of the segments and the profile is filtered for the segment across TechTarget Buying Teams, DiscoverOrg Contacts, HG Data products, and the business summary. TechTarget offers 300 technology market segments with over 200 available for North America.
Priority Engine users are now assigned to one of three roles: Administrators, List Builders, and Read-Only. Administrators have full system functionality along with account management responsibilities. Both Administrators and List Builders can build and assign account lists to other users. Only Administrators can export records. Priority Engine suggests that Administrators are usually marketers and that List Builders are typically Sales Managers. View only users would be inside sales reps that would be working account lists but not building them.
Account List Building was redesigned with reorganized and expanded filters displayed on a single page. Filters have been separated into common and advanced screens with common filters spanning firmographic, technographic, and intent variables. Advanced filters include Last Touch, Purchase Signals, and HQ location. Within any filter, users may select Includes Any (OR), Include All (AND), and Exclude (NOT) Boolean logic.
Users can also rank results by market segment. Most Priority Engine subscribers have between one and five licensed segments. Except for the largest technology firms that operate in many segments, the firm contends that focusing on key segments provides better results than including adjacent technology segments.
Previously defined lists are available for both suppression or sub-list targeting.
TechTarget Priority Engine List Building
Lists are ranked according to intent signal strength for a market segment. Clicking on a different segment results in a different set of priorities.
The new Ranked Accounts list view includes the navigation bar along with company logos, the top areas of interest, and the company most influencing the account over the past 90 days (based upon TechTarget content viewing patterns). Clicking on any account takes the user to the account profile.
The persistent URL provides a direct link between sales and marketing platforms to the Priority Engine Dashboard. “The sales-to-marketing handoff can be one of the most challenging aspects of implementing modern marketing strategies, especially ABM. To properly inform and empower salespeople, you must be able to pass along valuable account-level insights with each lead — and few systems or workflows support this,” said Michael Cotoia, CEO, TechTarget. “Priority Engine addresses this challenge by providing a persistent and portable account link that can be embedded within any existing sales or marketing systems.”
Please continue to Part II which discusses the Priority Engine Salesforce connector, product repackaging, and market momentum.
LinkedIn is now the number two social media platform by usage, advertising spend, ROI and analytics tools. Facebook remains number one. “While LinkedIn is often considered a hub for job hunters and corporate recruiters, the platform has also shifted to position itself as a marketing engine in recent years,” said Jerry Ascierto, executive editor of The Social Shake-Up Show. “The recent updates to its ad platform and UI seem to be encouraging brands to increase spend. As a result, more companies are experiencing better ROI from this network than others considered more popular and ‘fun,’ such as Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.”
LinkedIn has benefited from a native video feature that was launched last year and was recently extended to company pages.
LinkedIn’s last official member count was 546 million global professional profiles.
Microsoft Chairman John Thompson said that the LinkedIn acquisition has been “wildly successful” and that Microsoft would be “all in” on a similar deal. Of particular interest are firms that would help connect users to the Microsoft cloud.
Thomson was critical of firms that share or sell user data. “Many of them make money off ads and they have used that as kind of a leverage point,” Thomson told Bloomberg. “At Microsoft, we don’t believe in that.”
While Facebook has taken a series of hits on its sharing of member data, LinkedIn has long protected member data (for example, Sales Navigator does not permit the uploading of member information to CRMs but makes it available for display). What’s more, Microsoft has built GDPR compliance into its product line and set it as a global standard.
LinkedIn celebrated its 15th anniversary last month. “15 years ago, we launched LinkedIn in Reid Hoffman’s living room with the tagline ‘relationships matter’,” said VP of Product Strategy Allen Blue. “I’m proud to say that this mantra still rings true today in both the halls of LinkedIn and on the platform. While the world of work has evolved immensely — be it the tools and products we use, the ways we communicate, and even the jobs themselves — our need to connect with one another to be productive in our careers remains at the core of all we do.”