LinkedIn has announced a new product it calls “LinkedIn Network Display” which lets advertisers show their ads to LinkedIn users on websites other than LinkedIn.
In other words: if you have a LinkedIn account, LinkedIn will now follow you everywhere you go online, not just when you're actually on LinkedIn.
BusinessInsider said that LinkedIn Network Display will be selling ads on 2,500 other “business-focused websites” in addition to LinkedIn's.
From an advertisers' perspective, the benefit is that ads can be targeted to extremely specific groups, such as (for example) financial-industry managers who work in Manhattan. Of course, LinkedIn says that those advertisers will not get any individual's identifying information; the advertiser will know that his ad is being seen by Manhattan financial professionals, but isn't supposed to know exactly which ones.
According to AdAge, LinkedIn's new program will allow marketers to target groups as small as 1,000 people (out of the 347 million who currently have a LinkedIn account).
Is it possible for people with LinkedIn accounts to opt out of this web-wide tracking? It's certainly possible to try.
If you have a LinkedIn account, log in, go to your “Account Settings” drop-down box, and then select “Privacy and Settings” from the offered options. Another page will come up; scroll down to the bottom, click on the “Account” tab, select “Manage Advertising Preferences,” and you'll see a pop-up window appear on your screen.
There's also a little box to the left of that message, and chances are you'll see a check in that box – meaning you have allowed LinkedIn to use those “cookies and similar technologies” to track you.
If you uncheck that little box, and then click the “Save changes” button at the bottom of the pop-up window, that will (at least in theory) turn off LinkedIn's web-wide tracking of you.