Ready to get started with video ads on LinkedIn? Here are 9 things you need to know:

Key learnings from our Beta programme to help drive more value from your video content

June 7, 2018

Key learnings from LInkedIn's Beta programme to help drive more value from your video content

Before LinkedIn launched Video for Sponsored Content, we ran a Beta programme with over 700 advertisers experimenting with video content in the LinkedIn feed. We wanted to know how video works best to engage professional audiences. What is the role of video in B2B marketing? How should you measure success? And what tactics and techniques persuade audiences to engage?

Engagement with video content on LinkedIn has been increasing exponentially ever since we launched our Beta programme, which means that the insights from that programme have been coming thick and fast as well. These are insights that can guide anyone looking to get started on leveraging B2B video in the LinkedIn feed.

Last month, I presented a LinkedIn Masterclass Webinar on Getting Started with Video Ads on LinkedIn. It was an opportunity to share what I’d learned about delivering video on LinkedIn – and it turned out to be an opportunity to keep learning as well. We received great questions – and lots of feedback on marketers’ priorities for B2B video going forward.

If you missed our Getting Started with Video Ads on LinkedIn webinar, you can now watch it on-demand, and I’d encourage that for anyone exploring their options for B2B video. Here are nine key insights from the session that should guide your approach to leveraging video effectively on LinkedIn:

1. Get more value from your video by delivering it in the feed
The view rates and completion rates that our Beta advertisers achieved were really impressive. KLM, for example, achieved an average view rate of over 33%, which dropped the cost per view for the brand’s video content to $0.06. This isn’t at all surprising since Nielsen research shows that native video in the feed delivers engagement and view rates that are 82% higher than pre-roll video ads. Native video content works, which is why spend on in-feed video has been doubling year-on-year according to research from PwC and IAB UK.

Delivering video content in the LinkedIn feed is as straightforward as running other types of Sponsored Content campaign. You can use the Campaign Manager interface to upload your video content, create your headline and intro copy, and then target your campaign using LinkedIn profile data and audience personas.

2.    Choose your objective to buy video ads more efficiently
Just as with other forms of Sponsored Content, you can choose to buy video advertising on LinkedIn in the way that best fits your campaign objectives. Through Campaign Manager you can set your objective in terms of views, leads or visits to your website and set your bid on the most appropriate basis for each.

3. Use video to increase your earned media reach on LinkedIn
Our data shows that video is now being shared 20 times more often than other content formats on LinkedIn. This drove significant uplifts in earned media reach for the advertisers on our Beta programme: 66% of earned media reach for Philips HealthSystems France was generated by its video content in the LinkedIn feed.

4. Give B2B video a role throughout the funnel
Heading into the Beta programme, I expected that the majority of the B2B video content would be focused on upper-funnel objectives, leaving lead generation to tried-and-tested formats like white papers, webinars or eBooks. In fact, I found a real appetite for exploring the contribution that video can make throughout the funnel. How-to videos and product demonstrations were very popular video content formats, and advertisers maximised their value by integrating clear calls-to-action and LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms through the Campaign Manager interface. Don’t assume that B2B video is just for driving broad awareness and engagement. It can do a lot more than that.

5. Pay close attention to the value exchange to drive engagement
The most successful video content in our Beta programme tended to have one thing in common: a clear focus on audience needs. The value exchange becomes even more significant with video because this is a format that demands concerted attention. When advertisers targeted a specific audience, tailored video content to that audience, and called out what they were doing in headlines and copy, they delivered significantly higher engagement.

6.    Think like a silent film director
The vast majority (80%) of video views on LinkedIn take place with the sound off. It’s hardly surprising therefore that video content designed for silent viewing is 70% more likely to be watched all the way through to the end. But what does designing a video for silent viewing really involve? Subtitles are essential for effective B2B video content, but they’re just the start when it comes to enhancing the experience of watching with the sound off. Highly engaging video content usually goes further, with strong visual storytelling that engages emotionally, and interesting camera angles to capture people’s interest.

7.    Don’t settle for standard measures of success
How should you measure the success of your B2B video content? It’s one of the questions that I hear marketers asking most often – and my advice is to be demanding when it comes to finding the answer that best suits your objectives.

Video on LinkedIn gives you far more meaningful metrics to play with than just standard impressions and views. Pay attention to completion rates and full-screen plays to get a sense of the type of engagement you’re achieving. If you’re focusing lower down the funnel, you can track the number of leads you generate by integrating LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms, and use conversion tracking to assess the quality of those leads and the value they are ultimately delivering. You can also keep a close eye on who’s watching with view rate demographics.

Remember, not all metrics are equally significant to every campaign. If people don’t need to watch your video in full before being motivated to take an action, then completion rate becomes less significant. Triangulate those other metrics to assess whether the right people are watching for long enough. LinkedIn shows completion rates by quartile, so it’s easier to get a sense of whether you’re generating the depth of engagement that you really need.

8.    Take the time you need to tell your story
The average length of video uploaded to our Beta programme was 45 seconds – but that average masked some big variations in length. I saw videos of up to 5 minutes generating significant levels of engagement, and videos that were 10 seconds long doing the same.

It goes without saying that completion rates tend to be higher for shorter videos – but that doesn’t mean that longer videos are never watched in full, or that they aren’t watched for long enough to have a meaningful impact. B2B marketers often have to communicate complex propositions that are oversimplified when you distil them down to a few seconds. Don’t be afraid to take the time you need to tell your story – and then keep an eye on the relevant metrics to check that enough of the story is getting across.

9.    Run AB tests – and not just on the video itself
LinkedIn research shows that your headline and intro copy have a big impact on the level of engagement for video content. You can set up different campaigns to test variations of these content elements – and then optimise around the approach that works best.

As part of the Getting Started with LinkedIn Video Ads webinar, you’ll find a walk-through of the process of setting up a Video for Sponsored Content campaign, applying your targeting, and adding features like LinkedIn Lead Gen Forms to help maximise impact throughout the funnel. You can access the on-demand recording of the webinar right now, and start exploring what B2B video can do for you.