Staying on top of your paid social content marketing strategy often means rolling with the changes. For B2B lead generation marketers on LinkedIn, that means taking a look at LinkedIn’s newly announced video ads opportunity.
LinkedIn Debuts Autoplay Mobile Video Ads
The professional social network announced earlier this month that it would begin closed beta testing with autoplay mobile video ad units as Sponsored Content. Video ads are set to roll out to all advertisers by the first half of 2018. For now, Marketing Land says the feature is limited to beta testers such as Prudential Financial and Microsoft Canada.
The ads will autoplay, but with the volume muted, as LinkedIn users scroll through the mobile app version of LinkedIn. The content will appear as standalone content posts in users’ feeds and will be marked as “Promoted” to distinguish them as paid posts.
LinkedIn says advertisers will be able to upload videos through their LinkedIn Campaign Manager dashboard, Company Page, or Showcase Page. Brands then select the video for a Sponsored Content campaign promotion and proceed as normal through ad setup. This should make the new ads easy to adopt for brands familiar with the social network, with LinkedIn saying audience targeting, including Matched Audiences options, will be the same for video ads as for other LinkedIn ads.
How Video Came to LinkedIn
As Engadget notes, LinkedIn was late to the video content marketing party, debuting Influencer videos about a year ago. But there, only 500 or so top professionals could record 30-second promotional clips.
Then, just two months ago, LinkedIn rolled out native video to its whole network. For context, Twitter and Facebook were ironing out the details of their native video products in early 2015.
On the other hand, Marketing Land reminds us that LinkedIn did try out video all the way back in 2012. This was in the form of platform support for a brand’s YouTube-hosted videos, which could then be promoted. But these were still YouTube clips, which didn’t play automatically and weren’t native elements within the social feed. It was also years before video hit its stride and before mobile overtook desktop usage.
What Video Ads Mean for LinkedIn Advertisers
Video continues to gain acceptance as a valuable content marketing strategy for advertisers. That will be true of LinkedIn’s ads as it is for video advertisers on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and elsewhere.
Reassuringly, LinkedIn seems to get this. “We know that viewers, when they watch video, the message is much more likely received when compared to just text,” Sudeep Cherian, head of product marketing for LinkedIn’s ads business, told Recode about the new feature. “It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.”
Video ads allow marketers to grab a user’s attention with striking visuals, animated captions that make use of strong copywriting, and more. Video ads can convey a marketing message quickly and strongly, which is part of the reason they’ve taken off on other platforms.
To boot, LinkedIn advertising comes with valuable targeting options for B2B advertisers, and will reportedly be adding more specialized metrics and data points to the dashboard for video ad campaigns in the coming months. Then there is LinkedIn’s unique position as an advertising platform to reach new talent, top decision-makers, industry colleagues and more.
For video advertisers on other platforms, LinkedIn may prove to be a great opportunity for expansion. For brands who haven’t yet invested in video advertising, LinkedIn’s foray might finally make the format worth exploring, especially if your audience is active on the platform.