It’s Time to Get Emotional With LinkedIn Video Ads

Best Practices: Leveraging emotions in B2B marketing [Infographic]

August 15, 2018

LinkedIn Video Ads

Key Takeaways

  • B2B buyers are 50% more likely to make a purchase if they identify emotional value in a product or service (as opposed to functional value)

  • B2B customers are 20% more likely to make a purchase after engaging with video content and social media channels

  • Studies have seen emotive ads generate twice as much profit vs. rational, logic-based ads

  • Internal research suggests LinkedIn’s top-performing B2B video ads feature at least one of three emotional drivers: compelling music, brand-reinforcing colors, or emotive storytelling

The Backstory: Emotive vs. Rational Marketing

While B2C advertisers have always embraced emotive marketing tactics to influence consumer purchase behavior, B2B marketers have yet to tug at their customers’ heartstrings in the same way. Yet recent research suggests that they should. Keep reading to learn why it’s time to introduce emotions in B2B marketing, and how to use LinkedIn video ads to do it best.

First of all, what’s the difference? Whereas rational marketing appeals more to the functional, logical value of a product or service, emotive marketing targets personal value, aiming to elicit emotionally-driven purchase behavior in the prospective buyer. And in terms of effectiveness, a 2016 Nielsen Report favors the latter: when evaluating between brands, an individual’s purchase behavior is most directly driven by emotional impulses, rather than by rational considerations. This explains the 23% lift in sales volume and twice the profit generated by emotive ads over rational ones, as observed in a recent IPA study.

Nonetheless, for too long, marketers have viewed B2C and B2B marketing tactics through a mutually-exclusive lense: emotions have always belonged in B2C, while hard logic has traditionally driven B2B. But what this deeply-rooted outlook ignores is the fact that B2B customers are human too; the only difference from a marketer’s standpoint is appealing to the emotions of an entire board of B2B decision makers, instead of a single B2C consumer. And according to Forbes, video may be the best medium to win them over with: B2B buyers are twice as likely to become customers after engaging with video content. With LinkedIn’s recent addition of the video ad format and 40 million B2B decision makers active on the platform, there’s no better way or place to connect with them on an emotional level. See for yourself by visiting this accompanying infographic.

The Research: Three Key Emotional Drivers in B2B Video Ads

So it’s time to get emotional with B2B content, but how exactly? What elements of a video ad actually elicit an emotive response in B2B customers and drive them to the point of conversion?

To find out, I started by analyzing an archive of video ads recently flagged by LinkedIn’s Product Marketing team as the 75 most-compelling spots run since the launch of video ads in May. Examining this collection for any evident patterns, three key emotional drivers soon emerged: 1) use of music to drive the ad and stimulate specific feelings; 2) use of color to reinforce a brand’s identity and the emotions associated with it; and 3) use of emotive storytelling to showcase company stories. Watch best practice examples of each below:

1) Music: BMW syncs repetitive lyrics with the dashboard’s needle movement to elicit feelings of responsiveness, opportunity, and control.

2) Color: Pinterest for Business implants brand-reinforcing red throughout the ad, giving viewers a variety of activities and correlating emotions to associate with the company (red water bottle = active, red baking pin = creative, red paint = imaginative).

3) Storytelling: General Electric employs long-form, emotive narrative to showcase an inspiring employee story and elicit feelings of safety, trust, and security in its viewership.

To more objectively verify the above trends, I pulled a random sample of 100 LinkedIn video ads and compared them against the original archive. Sure enough, the patterns held. Of the sample ads exhibiting the highest average quartile-stop, 92% exhibited one or more of the three key emotional drivers identified. Of those with the highest social click-through rate, 83% demonstrated the same. And finally, so did 75% of those garnering the highest view count. My findings suggest that leveraging these emotional drivers in B2B marketing works. And with video ads already thriving on LinkedIn, the platform provides the perfect environment to try them for yourself.

The Pitch: Why You Should Try Emotive Marketing With LinkedIn Video Ads

Consider a recent study run by Google, Motista, and CEB’s Marketing Leadership Council. After surveying over 3,000 B2B buyers, 70 marketers, and consultants across seven different B2B industries, and comparing against existing B2C baseline data, here’s what they found:

  • While B2C brands established emotional connections with only 10-40% of their consumers, B2B brands established emotional connections with 50% of their customers or more.

  • B2B buyers are 50% more likely to make a purchase when they’ve identified personal, emotional value (as opposed to functional value) in the prospective product or service.

  • When personal, emotional value is present in a product or service, B2B purchasers are 8X more likely to pay premium-level prices.

In summary, “B2B customers are significantly more emotionally connected to the brand they purchased than B2C consumers are.” With emotive marketing strategies outperforming rational tactics and driving an increasing number of B2B decisions, video ads have emerged as the optimal medium for leveraging the emotional drivers that have been shown to directly influence customer purchase behavior. Through a compelling soundtrack, brand-reinforcing colors, and/or an inspiring story told, marketers are beginning to redefine the B2B space. And emotive LinkedIn video ads are helping them do it.

To get started with LinkedIn video ads, go to To learn more about general best practices we’ve compiled, visit our video ad tips page.