LinkedIn Is Betting on Video Content to Boost Engagement in B2B Marketing

By Devon Glenn 

Professional networking site LinkedIn recently added self-serve video ads that connect to YouTube to give marketers a way to insert their videos into LinkedIn’s existing ad units.

The videos show up in place of the standard 300 x 250 ad units and play for 30 seconds before giving viewers the option to click through to a website. Rather than pre-roll ads, these are stand-alone YouTube ads that are formatted to work on LinkedIn as well. They can be used to promote a “complex B2B service” or send “an inspiring brand message,” according to the announcement.

While hiring solutions are still the top sources of revenue for LinkedIn, B2B content marketing could prove to be an area of growth. A report published by the Content Marketing Institute found that LinkedIn is the number one resource for B2B content marketing, with 83 percent of B2B content marketers using LinkedIn to distribute their content, compared to the 80 percent who use Facebook and Twitter.

However, marketing revenue made up only 28 percent of LinkedIn’s total revenue in the second quarter of 2012, down from 32 percent in the second quarter of 2011. In a second-quarter earnings call, SVP and CFO Steve Sordello explained to investors, “Our self-serve LinkedIn Ads platform continued to outpace overall site page views, although revenue declined slightly versus the first quarter as field sales absorbed more of the available inventory. Click-through rates and CPCs steadily improved versus last year and in addition to working to drive further engagement on the site, we continue to look for new ways to add inventory for our self-serve channel.”

The video ads appear to fit into this category, as they are on the self-serve platform. A LinkedIn spokesperson told SocialTimes, “We are always exploring new ways to drive engagement and bringing new products like video ads is part of our larger plan to do so.”

The spokesperson also told us that LinkedIn has no plans to put videos in other places, like professional profiles, just yet.