Illustration of a video ad interface

Launching an online ad campaign without a clearly defined audience makes it difficult to determine if the campaign was successful. Video advertising is no exception. However, with the proper targeting and ad creative, video ads can outperform many other online formats.

In this guide, readers will learn the key benefits of using highly targeted video ads. We’ll also explain how to create and optimize them using research and insights from targeted platforms to reach, engage, inform, and convert prospective clients.

What are the key benefits of video ads?

Video ads often have higher conversion rates and perform better for brand recall and engagement than static ads because moving imagery and sound can elicit heightened emotions and convey more information than a simple banner or text ad.


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Step 1- Clearly define the target audience

Start by researching and clearly defining the intended target audience and their needs through surveys, third-party research reports, and web analytics data. The target audience’s buyer persona (or ideal customer profile) and online behaviors will ultimately drive the video ad media buying strategy, messaging, and creative formats. 

Be sure to list their key demographics (e.g., age and gender) and psychographics (e.g., interests and specialized skills) before creating a brief to share with those who will develop the campaign creative and media plan.

Illustration representing audience demographic examples

Audience demographic examples

The most common demographic details are:

  • Age
  • Gender
  • Education
  • Geographic location

B2B marketers can target video ad campaigns specifically to a city or metropolitan area or go broader with a state or country. If the campaign will run in multiple countries, the video ads may need to be recorded or dubbed in several languages.

Illustration representing audience attributes

Audience attributes and psychographic examples

Some common audience attributes and psychographic targeting options include:

  • Company industry or category, growth rate, revenue, size, and more
  • Job function, seniority, or title
  • Member skills and years of experience
  • Member groups, special interests, and traits

If brands already have an advertising account with a platform like LinkedIn, they can review ad targeting capabilities to see what’s possible on the platform.

Doing audience research early helps businesses understand the potential reach of an ad to decide whether they need to go broader or narrow their video ad audience targeting. The platform targeting options can also influence the content of a video ad script at the point of conception.

We recommend being as specific as possible in video ad targeting. Select the location and two other targeting facets to start, then learn from test campaigns. Watch below to learn more about selecting audience targeting for LinkedIn video ads.

Other helpful audience research tools

Some B2B marketers also use real-time, first-party LinkedIn Sales Navigator data to further inform what the content of the ad itself can be. Sales and marketing teams can look at Insights about their specified target audience or buyer personas to see what kind of content they share or interact with on LinkedIn, what questions they ask of their peers, any comments they share about products and services, and what are their specific interests or hobbies. Then, create ads according to their needs and pain points.


Step 2 - Select your campaign objective

Next, understand the fundamental business problem driving the need for a campaign. Does the business need to:

Grow brand awareness and loyalty?

LinkedIn research has found that “Video ads earn 30% more comments per impression than static images in the LinkedIn newsfeed,” which helps boost brand awareness and positive conversations online, demonstrating customer preferences and loyalty.

Whatever the brand awareness campaign strategy is to share a short history of the company or provide an animated explainer video or product demo, brands can showcase their personality and add value using video ads.

Drive purchase consideration?

Video ads that feature customer testimonials, case studies or success stories, or shared insights from a company CEO can pique a prospective customer’s interest and persuade them to click through to learn more about a brand, product, or service.

Using short and snappy copy above or below the video, with three lines of text or shorter, is a good best practice for driving purchase consideration. Get straight to the point, then add a call to action (CTA) button that says, “sign up,” “register,” or “learn more” to drive traffic to the branded website or landing page.

Increase conversions and leads?

When a campaign aims to drive leads and actions like event signups or ticket purchases via a website, video ads can drive higher conversions and generate more leads than static ads. Many B2B marketers will create video ads that tease content covered in an upcoming webinar or live event or share insights from a new downloadable research report to collect contact information.

Ads with a time-sensitive offer, promotion, or deal have been shown to drive 1.2 times the average video completion rate (the percentage of people who watch an ad until the very end) on LinkedIn regardless of the length. Additionally, video ads that provide an offer in the headline have achieved an average 8% higher completion rate on LinkedIn

After selecting the campaign objective, advertisers can set up a Sponsored Content campaign to promote video content on their LinkedIn Page or Showcase Page. B2B businesses can also enable targeting on the LinkedIn Audience Network to expand their target audience reach by up to 20% more.

Additionally, brands can use Direct Sponsored Content to personalize or test video ads created for specific audiences, without publishing on their LinkedIn Page.


Step 3 - Develop the creative concept and script

Next, use the campaign goals and target audience descriptions to develop the creative concept and script. Visit the platforms where the video ads will be placed to learn what creative works well on each one. When developing creative and messaging, keep the following tips from LinkedIn’s internal research data in mind:

Illustration representing creative concepts and scripts
  • Video ads should educate, entertain, or inform B2B audiences so they walk away having enjoyed the ad and learning something about the brand or its core offerings 
  • Product demos that showcase how a product or service works perform well with B2B audiences – driving the highest performance in video completion, engagement, and click-through rates
  • Global audiences respond positively to ads with animation – using motion graphics to tell a brand story as well as demonstrate the product or service
  • Consider capturing content vertically when video ads don’t require a full landscape format, so audiences don’t need to twist their phones to watch it
  • Almost 80% of LinkedIn users are watching desktop and mobile video ads with the sound off, so captions are critical to make sure the message is properly conveyed to all users
  • User attention spans are short, and videos under a minute have the highest click-through and engagement rates with LinkedIn, as well as high completion rates
  • Be creative and funny to create an element of surprise and stand out since senior executives will engage with the LinkedIn feed outside office hours
  • Executives are more likely to respond to something that intrigues them or makes them laugh – driving engagement via shares, likes, and comments
  • GIFs were the lowest performers in LinkedIn’s research, and micro video stories (even just six seconds long) can evoke more emotion than a GIF

We recommend creating four to five ads for a campaign to gain more exposure and optimize for the highest campaign performance. For creative inspiration, review the LinkedIn video ads best practices guide.


Step 4 - Select targeted video ad formats

It’s important to understand the distinctions between different online video advertising formats when planning a targeted campaign.

Pay-per-click (PPC) video ads

PPC video ads are designed to quickly grab a user's attention and drive traffic or conversions via clicks to an ecommerce or lead generation-focused webpage. These ads are typically bought on a cost-per-click (CPC) basis rather than paying for every thousand impressions (CPM) delivered to users on a targeted advertising platform.

Whatever the brand awareness campaign strategy is to share a short history of the company or provide an animated explainer video or product demo, brands can showcase their personality and add value using video ads.

Branded video ads or commercials

Branded video ads tend to be short promos (ranging from 5 to 30 seconds) converted from a television format to a digital format. Additionally, they can be exclusively created to build brand awareness online and are tailored to different digital advertising and social media platforms.

Branded video ad formats and campaigns are typically bought on a cost-per-view (CPV) or CPM basis, aiming to entertain, educate, and engage customers to boost brand recognition and recall.

Out-stream and in-stream video ads

The formats outlined above can also be created as in-stream or out-stream video ads. Out-stream video ads appear as standalone ads within the content of a publisher’s webpage or in an audience network. 

For example, LinkedIn’s Audience Network allows video advertisers to extend the reach of their Sponsored Content campaigns by delivering ads beyond the LinkedIn feed to members on third-party apps and sites.

In-stream video ads play within a long-form video on a publisher’s webpage or within an audience network. They are served and treated similarly to TV commercials in between content segments.


Step 5 - Choose the right video ad platforms

Finally, it’s time to buy the media placements and launch video ad campaigns by choosing from platforms that target desired audiences. When creating the ads, it’s important to get specifications about what each platform will accept regarding the video frame rates, file formats, and length. 

LinkedIn’s video ad specs may differ from those on other social media or video platforms, so be sure to share that information with creative teams early to avoid complications when launching a campaign.

Illustration representing choosing the right video ad platforms

Review video performance metrics

Businesses can set up and track video ad performance metrics on each platform based on their campaign goals. When running video ads on LinkedIn, marketers can set it up in Campaign Manager.

It’s also useful to leverage 3rd party tracking platforms, such as Moat. Click here to learn more about third-party tracking of video ad success. 

Some of the most valuable metrics to track video ads on LinkedIn include:

Note that the video completion rate is not always the most important metric to track because results will depend on the campaign strategy. For example, ads focused on building demand and purchase consideration may run longer than short, brand-awareness-focused ads. 

Customers won’t always complete longer ads because they already know they are interested in the product or service. As a result, they may click the surrounding text halfway through a video to visit a landing or webpage and learn more.

Analyze engagement 

Additionally, while the video ad completion rate may indicate that buyers are resonating with the content, the campaign may require social media engagement to drive further consideration and conversions via positive reactions. That’s why it is important to analyze engagement to measure the overall video ad campaign success.

Marketers can track metrics like comments, shares, and likes, as well as click-through rates on links in the copy accompanying the video ad. Review our overview page for a full rundown of key video ad success metrics, including what to measure when a campaign goes viral.

To boost engagement, businesses must show what they want the audience to see (e.g., a logo for branding or a key message) in the first ten seconds. LinkedIn research has found that viewer attention spans tend to drop after that point, and videos under 30 seconds have higher completion rates overall. LinkedIn’s data also reveals that videos with talking heads (e.g., a close up shot of a CEO’s or a customer’s face) tend to get higher engagement rates because they are more personalized. Consider featuring an executive or product lead to put a face to the brand, product, or service.

Table depicting various metrics for optimizing video and their definitions

Optimize and track leads and conversions

To drive leads and conversions, B2B marketers can test longer-form videos that help tell a more complex product or brand story. This strategy is beneficial when creating demo videos or product promos, or teasing insights from webinars or events that require more detail and time to explain and convince audiences of the buying benefits. 

Marketers can install the LinkedIn Insight Tag on their websites to track video ad leads and conversions. They can also use demographic reporting to uncover which audience segments have the highest video view rates and tailor future ads to address audiences that resonate with their lead generation or conversion-based content.

To optimize lead generation and conversions, marketers should create a landing page where audiences can provide their contact info or make a purchase after clicking on a link in the surrounding video ad copy. 

Use clear and short descriptions of the video ad in headlines and surrounding copy, with a clear call-to-action (CTA) so viewers immediately know what they are watching.

Illustration representing maximizing success