This may make me something of a marketing nerd, but nonetheless, I am unabashedly excited right now. In the last few weeks, Linkedin has finally rolled out support for native in-stream video advertising. (Great job Linkedin, you’re only half a decade behind the other social platforms!)
So what’s the big deal? This means that your video content can be used in paid ads that will autoplay in the newsfeed of target viewers. Basically, when Bob (your ideal customer) logs in to see what is happening on Linkedin, you can have your video show up right in the middle of posts from other professionals he follows. And that video will play without him clicking on it (although the volume will be muted).
This is where things get really interesting for B2B marketing. Linkedin offers extremely granular ad targeting so you can select your audience based on their industry, current job position, years of experience, education, age, and many other factors.
Video content tends to attract relatively high engagement rates compared to other types of posts. So when you combine these two things you get a very powerful tool for reaching professional audiences.
Best Practices For Linkedin Video Ads
Interested in giving video ads a try? Here are some best practices to keep in mind, and a video tutorial on how to set up your very first video ad on Linkedin!
Start by Defining Your Goals
Before you get lost in the weeds of setting up an actual campaign, it is a really good idea to step back and define what you are trying to accomplish. More specifically, answer these questions:
- What is your end goal?
Example: To generate leads.
- Who are you trying to reach?
Example: Mid-level marketing managers at large tech companies.
- What do you want them to do?
Example: Learn more about our service and request a consultation.
- How will you measure success?
Example: Ad click-through-rate and form submissions
Defining these parameters in advance will make it easier to select the right options when we are actually setting up the campaign.
Optimize Your Videos For Linkedin
For the best results, it is important to make sure your videos are optimized specifically for Linkedin. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to create completely new content, but it might be a good idea to modify existing videos before you use them on this platform. Here are some things to keep in mind.
Visual impact: You only have a few seconds to grab attention as viewers skim through their feeds. Make sure the first 10 seconds of your video really stand out.
Captioning: Keep in mind that while video ads will autoplay, they will be muted by default. Assume viewers will not be able to hear your audio at all. Because of this, it is a really good idea to have the narration appear as text at the bottom of the video so viewers can read it. Check out this example:
Runtime: Viewers skim their social feeds. Because of this, it is really important to keep videos short. In fact, according to a study by Linkedin, viewers are 200% more likely to complete videos that are 30 seconds or shorter when compared with longer videos.
- Split Testing: The best way to improve your campaign is to run different versions of the same ad during the same period of time. This will allow you to determine what is more effective. Just make sure to test one thing at a time, or you won’t really know for sure what is causing specific ads to perform better.
Creating Your First Linkedin Video Ad
If you have used Linkedin’s advertising platform before, then creating a video ad will be a familiar process. But don’t worry if this is completely new for you, it is easy to get started.
And don’t feel like everything has to be perfect the first time. I would recommend throwing up a test campaign so you can quickly see what works, and then start improving things from there. Here is a quick video tutorial to get you started:
After running some test video ads on Linkedin for a few weeks, I've noticed a few things that might help you avoid some problems. Here they are:
- When defining your target audience in a campaign, DO NOT enable "audience expansion". This is one of the very last options, and it is turned on by default. Make sure to turn it off. Even though I explicitly limited my ads to show in the USA, most of my clicks came from India until I disabled this option. Basically "audience expansion" could be called "let's burn your budget with irrelevant clicks" because that is exactly what it does.
- The more specific (and therefore smaller) your target audience the higher your cost per click bid will need to be. Because of this, you need to balance being highly targeted with the need to keep the cost per click at a reasonable price point. Just experiment to find a middle ground.
When it comes to online channels, Linkedin is one of the best platforms for reaching professional audiences. If you are in the B2B space, it should already have a place in your marketing strategy. If it doesn’t, you are missing out.
While video ads are not a good fit for every company, they do provide a powerful and visually compelling way to reach and engage target audiences, and you should strongly consider testing their effectiveness for your brand.
Ready to learn more?
Check out this post on targeting specific stages of the buyer journey with different types of video content: What Type of Video Do I Need?