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A guide to video advertising on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is now rolling out video ads for select brands. The clips are shown as standalone posts, rather than pre-roll or mid-roll ads. Video ads on LinkedIn are labeled as “Promoted.” They have a muted auto-play feature. The ads are also currently being screened for mobile use.

A hand-picked group of marketers is part of this soft launch. But the social networking service plans to offer video ads to everyone in the first quarter of 2018. The brand-new ad structure aims to boost marketing revenue as the company takes advantage of the increasing hunger of consumers for video content.

LinkedIn’s Brand of Video Ads

Marketers can post videos through Campaign Manager, Company Page or Showcase Page. They can also market the ads via a Sponsored Content campaign. Options like audience targeting and matched audiences are also available. Some ad metrics will be provided to marketers participating in the beta test.

LinkedIn’s video ad was released not long after the launch of native video uploading. The company just introduced an option for video sharing on handheld devices. The feature, referred to as “native video uploading,” will enable videos to auto-play without sound. It’s very much like the video feature Facebook users see on the social networking giant. At the same time, pre- and mid-roll ads are also up for grabs for marketers.

This is the company’s second attempt to carry out video ads. LinkedIn launched support for video ads in 2012, but YouTube had to host the videos. Also, they didn’t have auto-play. Now, thanks to Microsoft, LinkedIn is now in a better position to relaunch video ads support. Furthermore, the social network is also enjoying a stronger mobile presence.

Foreseeable Impact of Video Ads on LinkedIn

Here are two reasons video ads can deliver positive effects on LinkedIn:

• There is an increasing demand for video content on the site. This isn’t a surprise since there’s a general demand for videos on all social media channels. LinkedIn users, on average, share videos 20 times more often than other content. By rolling out video ads, the company positions itself to generate income from its 500+ million registered users.

• In using LinkedIn’s user data, video ads can boost brand awareness. Through the LinkedIn Audience Network, marketers can even target users beyond the site. The company’s user demographics are appealing to marketers given that LinkedIn is the hub for working adults in the US. The percentage of employed registered users is much higher than on Twitter and Instagram.

The Future of LinkedIn Video Ads

Based on in-house reports, LinkedIn has over 500 million users. But the company didn’t disclose the figures and percentage of its daily active users. It also didn’t reveal how many of those users are paying customers. The social network provides basic services for free. That makes it great for startups and small- and medium-sized businesses. But, it charges users in sales, advertising, and human resources for advanced features and capabilities.

Microsoft bought LinkedIn last year for a cool $26.2 billion. As such, there are certain pressures at work to get some pay off from this investment. Video ads could tremendously help in that account. In fact, Pete Davies, a LinkedIn group product manager, stated that the company is looking into other styles of video ads. Live stream videos, in particular, is an appealing possibility down the road. Marketers on the site can work with that since live streams add different context dimensions.

Microsoft is also considering linking LinkedIn and its millions of user data to its Dynamics software. That way, an MS software user can locate leads for marketing campaigns straight from LinkedIn. They don’t need to leave the program to do so.

LinkedIn has several big competitors on different fronts, not just in terms of video ads. Facebook is a specific thorn. In the last couple of years, Facebook has incorporated several business features on the site. This is predominantly LinkedIn’s niche. As such, LinkedIn must appeal to its paying consumers. But they shouldn’t alienate registered users who publish their contact details on the site.