Sharing videos on LinkedIn could be a revelation

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LinkedIn is set to roll out a feature to natively upload videos to the social network through its mobile app, reports Marketing Land.

Users will soon be able to take and upload videos with LinkedIn’s updated built-in camera or upload clips from their phone’s camera roll. The native video feature is currently being tested in the US with a batch of users and editors, and LinkedIn plans to bring the feature globally in the coming months.

Video creators will have access to audience analytics, including a unique business-focused metric. Along with the standard analytics suite of views, likes, and shares, LinkedIn also gives details about specific viewers, with information about where they work and their roles. However, this employment-related information will not be provided for every person who watched a video, but only for a selection of top viewers.

These videos can be up to 10 minutes long, although LinkedIn recommends a shorter length of between 30 seconds and five minutes. Similar to LinkedIn’s pre-existing embedded videos, user-uploaded clips will autoplay with the sound off, and it will be possible to disable autoplay in account settings. Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn counts a video view after three seconds of playback.

LinkedIn native videos, with unique analytics and a focus on short content, could prove to be a revelation in several areas:

  • Networking and sales. Analytics on where viewers work and what they do present substantial opportunities for networking, recruiting, lead generation, and more. For example, executives can announce a new product or service, then dive into their audience analytics to build a list of prospects; thought leaders discussing an urgent trend will have more tools to grow their following; job seekers may post videos with a view to wooing recruiters or a company’s attention, or vice versa. All of these scenarios pave the way for LinkedIn to upgrade free members to premium tiers, where more advanced customer relationship management (CRM) tools are available.
  • Media broadcast. Influencers and media companies can use the new video sharing option to distribute content and grow their audiences directly on LinkedIn. This is especially relevant for business-oriented content creators. Previously, users had to create embedded YouTube videos to share clips on LinkedIn – a slightly circuitous route. And in addition to removing friction in this process, LinkedIn’s native video feature also struggles with some influence from competing platforms. Looking ahead, perhaps LinkedIn aims to nurture a network of industry influencers, similar to YouTube’s list of local stars.
  • User engagement. LinkedIn has a user retention problem. The Microsoft-owned site has more than 500 million members, but only a fraction of them (23% in Q3 2016) use the platform on a monthly basis. Plus, they only spend an average of two minutes a day on-site (compared to 30 minutes and 50 minutes a day for Snapchat and Facebook users, respectively). Video has seen explosive growth on social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, and could also benefit LinkedIn by capturing users’ attention and increasing time spent and repeat visits to the site. Meanwhile, for creators, the ability to build a professional brand and network through video also provides a compelling reason to post, stay, and come back on LinkedIn.
  • Advertising revenue. LinkedIn currently does not run video ads on its platform, according to a spokesperson quoted in Marketing Land, although it did in 2012 on embedded YouTube videos through a revenue-sharing agreement with Google. Still, it seems inevitable that LinkedIn will eventually, and likely soon, run video ads again. The new video sharing feature is a big step in that direction by making the platform more video-centric. When LinkedIn is sufficiently populated with clips, it can adjust its algorithms to prioritize videos in its feed, as Facebook has done for the past few years. Once that happens, LinkedIn should be in a strong position to attract video ad budgets from brands across all industries.

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Shirley K. Rosa