LinkedIn on Thursday will announce the introduction of Video For Sponsored Content following a beta test with more than 700 customers, along with the ability for brands to include videos on their company pages.
Goldman Sachs, GE and Microsoft Canada were among the firms who have been trying Video For Sponsored Content since last October, the company told B2B News Network in advance of the announcement. Besides merely including the clips in users’ main feed, LinkedIn will provide B2B brands access to its Matched Audience service to target users by things like title or industry, as well as Lead Gen Forms to have videos end with a strong call to action. Conversion Tracking will let them monitor the success of campaigns and improve on future efforts.
Video ads are intended to solve for challenges commonly faced by B2B marketers who find it more difficult than ever to capture their audience’s attention, according to Diana Luu, head of marketing at LinkedIn Canada.
“Marketers struggle to find the quality environment where they can reach these audiences,” she said in an e-mail. “The goal here is to empower marketers to showcase relevant, engaging content to targeted audiences while also maintaining a great experience for LinkedIn members.”
While Video For Sponsored Content clips will autoplay, for example, they are muted by default and appear directly in the feed to ensure the integrity of the member experience, Luu said, and they will be labelled to distinguish them from organic video content. Brands can also repurpose existing video assets they may have hosted on their own sites or on third-party video streaming services.
LinkedIn is coming out with Video For Sponsored Content at a time when YouTube has been mired in concerns about brand safety and Facebook has been making it more difficult for brands to deliver organic reach on its platform. According to the Content Marketing Institute’s B2B and B2C research for 2017, meanwhile, 60 per cent of both B2B and B2C marketers use video for marketing, and 30 per cent of B2B marketers say video will be key to content marketing success.
Luu said Microsoft Canada has been using video ads to create customer story videos that are locally relevant to Canadian audiences, which have so far generated a 28 per cent view rate, and a 20 per cent video completion rate. There has been success with B2C firms too such as KLM, which has seen a 34 per cent average view rates and an average cost-per-view of 63 per cent below benchmark for clips aimed at business travellers.
B2B brands who are new to video should start by thinking about their overall objective, Luu said. While some might look at LinkedIn as a place to generate demand, others might use Video For Sponsored Content as a means to attract talent. While these are still early days, she said shorter videos get better completion rates, but longer videos perform equally well when trying to tell a complex story. Brands should also bear in mind the creative experience when videos are autoplaying on mute.
“Think like a silent film director,” she suggested.
Marketers will be able to upload Videos For Sponsored Content via the platform’s Campaign Manager.