Sometimes something new is a home run, and sometimes it’s a mixed bag. LinkedIn’s new native video definitely falls into that second category. There are reasons to get excited about it, but those reasons are all about its potential. Right now is too soon for businesses to expand their video production budget and develop a LInkedIn video strategy.
With over 500 million users in 200 countries, and each one of those users specifically on LinkedIn for business, LinkedIn is a B2B marketer’s dream. That dream hasn’t been fully realized yet, as LinkedIn has lagged way, way behind other social media platforms in providing video opportunities for businesses.
Native video has the potential to change that. Rolled out in August 2017, LinkedIn claimes native videos are already being shared 20 times more than any other content.
Combine the business-focused user group with the power of video to increase shares as well as engagement and conversion, and you can see why native video on LinkedIn is so exciting.
Video on LinkedIn is not new. Marketers can already add videos to their LinkedIn feeds via YouTube and other hosting platforms. Analytics for these videos are pretty basic: impressions, engagement, clicks, and social action.
With native LinkedIn videos, the analytics are much more relevant. Currently, they include companies, titles and locations of viewers. [link to this] If you consider the robust analytics Facebook delivers with its videos, it’s safe to assume LinkedIn will be rolling out even deeper analytics to help marketers understand performance, and refine videos to increase engagement and relevance.
On Facebook, marketers can customize the audiences for their video ads, selecting gender, age group, location and interests. Imagine if LinkedIn video ads could be targeted to particular companies and specific job titles in addition to gender, age group, etc. It would be a B2B marketer’s bonanza, and there’s no reason to think LinkedIn won’t deliver those capabilities.
LinkedIn recently hired a product manager from Facebook Live to head up its video product management. With the spectacular success Facebook has had with live video – with three times more viewers for live video than other video content, and ten times the comments in live video - the question is how soon LinkedIn will roll out its version of live video.
When it does, businesses will be able to engage even more deeply with their audiences through live streamed presentations, live video chats, live interviews, live product demos, live testimonials, live anything and everything. The sky really is the limit for how businesses will use LinkedIn live.
But all those reasons to get excited are in the future. LinkedIn has always been mostly images and text, and the new native video hasn't changed that. We looked at 270 posts in one user’s LinkedIn feed over three separate periods, and found an average of 11% video posts - but 5% of those were YouTube videos. Just 4% were LinkedIn video.
The same user's Facebook feed had an average of 21% video posts, all of which were Facebook native video.
While video has the potential to change your LinkedIn feed to make it more like Facebook's, that’s still not happening.
The question is whether LinkedIn is too late to the party. Are users so set in their images-and-text ways that they aren't able to change their habits and get their minds around LinkedIn video?
Possibly. It’s more likely that the restrictions on LinkedIn video make it too difficult for many users to actually upload video to LinkedIn.
Right now, video can only be posted to LinkedIn through a new mobile app that makes uploading videos you just filmed with your phone very easy. Unfortunately, uploading other types of video is much more difficult, as the app is currently the only way to get native video onto LinkedIn. To upload video files, including videos you’ve specifically created for LinkedIn, you have to get them onto your phone first. It’s inconvenient and irritating.
Ideally, you’d be able to add videos from whatever device you’re on – including and especially the desktops or laptops marketers use at work, from which they manage their social media accounts and their video files.
Maybe this is why LinkedIn native video is so sparse – because it’s effectively shut out pre-produced videos, which businesses depend on for the majority of their social media postings.
What to expect going forward
Owned by Microsoft,LinkedIn’s revenue (nearly $1 billion for Q1 2017) currently comes from premium subscriptions, targeted pay-per-click ads, paid access to its database of users and resumes, and paid online courses.
If it can figure out native video, there are many ways to increase revenue, and we can expect to see all of them: stand-alone video ads, video ads inserted into longer video content, premium live streaming, video interviews, paid video chat.
The question is how long it's going to take LinkedIn to roll out these new capabilities. First, it'll have to figure out that restricting video uploading to a mobile app can't work for a platform that caters to businesses.
So keep an eye on LinkedIn video. It has the potential to provide businesses with a very exciting set of opportunities for engaging highly targeted audiences with video.
But right now, it's all potential.
DigiNovations specializes in Boston video production. Call us at 978-429-8692