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I have a friend/client who likes to promote a few LinkedIn groups he manages on his blog and through other social media platforms. He does all this just for fun, so he's not looking to invest much money in a solution, but I told him I'd look into options.

Is there a way for him to track conversions to those groups?

And if so, how might I go about implementing that in a minimally invasive way?

I fully understand that the answer to this might well be "you can't do that." I can accept that, if that's what it is.


The TL;DR version ends here. Everything else I'll say is meant to better-illustrate what we're looking for, so if you get it, there's no need to continue. I include a theoretical implementation in case it clarifies what I'm looking for. The actual implementation, if it exists, may or may not resemble mine.

Scenario

Imagine I manage a group on LinkedIn. I also host a blog and have a Twitter account. I'd like to post an open invitation ("Join this group!" with a link) to that group on my blog and in a Tweet. I'd then like to know how many members of my group came from each source.

I can wrap those invitations in Bitly links, and he already does that, but only around 50% of clicks turn into conversions. Assuming 50% of clicks come from his blog and 50% come from Twitter (not true, but sufficient to illustrate my point), that could mean any number of things:

  • 25% of members come from Twitter, and 25% are from the blog
  • 100% of members come from the blog, and 0% are from Twitter
  • 6% come from the blog, 27% come from Twitter, and the rest are from someone else sharing links
  • ...etc.

I'll get into what a solution might look like (if it even exists) next, but really the goal would be to test whether someone who clicks on one of those Bitly links actually turns into a group member.

Theoretical Implementations

If I were to write LinkedIn with the goal of implementing a system like this, I might create a "join" link with a query parameter-supplied redirect URL. When the user clicks that link, they're brought to a page that says "are you sure you'd like to join this group?" with perhaps a description and brief overview of it. If they say "yes," they're redirected back to the redirect URL with another query, success=1. If they say "no," they're passed with success=0. If they just close the window, obviously, no redirect is performed.

Realistically, I figure such a page would actually improve conversions, since users would be brought immediately to the actionable UI, rather than having to "find" the "Join" button on the page they're brought to. It would also improve user flow through his site, since he could include that link mid-way through an article and users would be redirected right back to reading.

I could write something like this with the LinkedIn API pretty easily, it would probably be one of the easiest things to do with the API, but that would require users to log in to my app, just to join the group. That's way-overkill for what he wants, and it would probably have an adverse effect--I wouldn't want to log into something I wasn't familiar with like that.

Caveats

As I said, this is really just a hobby for him. He has a LinkedIn executive account, but he's not looking to, for example, spend money on advertising. We're good friends, so I'm happy to write free software for him, but again, I don't think there's any way to make that work without requiring a login.

My main concern from a software development perspective, is that this would lead to some privacy concerns for users. He's fine with that, since nothing personal is being collected anyway, but that makes me question whether LinkedIn allows it.

Other uses

I can imagine this sort of thing being useful for giveaways, although I don't know if that's supported by the LinkedIn license agreement. He doesn't care to do that, but I say this as an example in case it strikes someone's imagination for how it might be accomplished. Basically, a site could offer some giveaway to members who join their group via this method.

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