LinkedIn have launched video advertising on their self-serve platform, LinkedIn Ads. As LinkedIn has no video content of its own for in-stream advertising, the ads will feature alongside the text and image ads that you now see on LinkedIn, where you have three ads within a 300×250 (MPU) box. Then if the user clicks on the video ad, the video player will expand to take up the entire MPU. Advertisers will be able to decide between pay per view and pay per click, and will be able to stop campaigns mid-flight.
The entrance of LinkedIn opens up a significant amount of highly targetable B2B inventory – LinkedIn now has 150 million members. The B2B market is traditionally an under-represented area of video advertising, partly because it’s notoriously difficult to scale and partly because few B2B advertisers have TV ads they can repurpose for use online.
However, it seems LinkedIn recognise that advertiser access to creatives could be a barrier, so they’ve opened up the idea of advertisers using the video assets that many companies might already have on YouTube. Will Hambly, Online Marketing Manager at LinkedIn, wrote in a blog post:
LinkedIn self-serve video ads work seamlessly with YouTube so you can instantly leverage your brand’s existing YouTube presence and promote same videos on LinkedIn. You’ll still be able to grow and capture the same YouTube stats you’re used to.
It’s going to be interesting to see if LinkedIn can make B2B video advertising work. While LinkedIn could be regarded as a reasonably premium environment, particularly as far as social networks go, click to play ads don’t quite have the same premium feel as in-stream ads that are placed against top-quality content.
LinkedIn could do better and should be looking at acquiring syndicated video content that could appear alongside the articles they recommend to users from third-party sites. That way they could be commanding significantly higher rates by serving in-stream ads into top-tier inventory. LinkedIn wouldn’t have to get its hands dirty with video production, revenue would be split with the publisher, and both the publisher and the advertiser would gain access to targeted valuable business audiences at scale.