LinkedIn video: How is it different, and what can you use it for?

October 5, 2017

Written by NewsWhip

With native video on LinkedIn now available for all users, we look at how the format differs from videos on other social media platforms.

In August, LinkedIn made native video uploads available to general users, making the platform the latest to compete for social media video attention.

There are some signs that videos on LinkedIn are already popular with users. One business-oriented native publisher, Cheddar, reported over 12 million views in September. 

When we reviewed a month’s worth of the most shared links on LinkedIn late last year, we found that half of the top ten were YouTube videos, mainly from publishers like Business Insider.

So far, the platform still enables auto-play for external video. Perhaps because native video is still such a relatively new format on the platform, many pages create custom-made YouTube videos to share.

One thing that LinkedIn makes available to video uploaders is the ability to see the top companies and titles of your viewers, as well as their location. For recruiters and marketers, this could be very valuable information.

So, how are publishers and brands using video on LinkedIn, and does it differ significantly from native video on other platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat?

1. Length: Aiming for more nuance, higher time caps.

LinkedIn has provided some best practices on how to share videos using its new upload feature, suggesting that most videos be kept ‘between 30 seconds and five minutes long’. That’s a bit different to the most successful clips our data has recorded on Facebook and Instagram, where short, sharp, and surprising footage routinely performs very strongly.

So, the videos are intended to be fairly short, but there’s plenty of room to outline the core messages. At up to five minutes, the maximum length is far longer than Instagram and Twitter.

The Google Cloud page uses longer YouTube videos to present complex concepts from staff members, in ways that couldn’t fit into 20 or 30 second clips.

That’s not the say that you shouldn’t still be aiming for succinct messaging. One example of a page that prefers shorter clips is Amazon. The page uses videos that are usually under 60 seconds to showcase different employees’ experiences of working at the company, in an engaging way. 

2. Content: get across a ‘serious’ message more effectively

A lot of weighty content gets posted on LinkedIn, such as company blog posts, lengthy reports and updates, and links to industry publications. While the information is usually interesting and relevant to most followers of a particular page, the message is often lost in the medium. Ultimately, LinkedIn users are social media browsers too, and unless they’re searching for specific content (like job offers), they have the same propensity to skim through their feed unless there’s a particular reason for them to pay attention.

Despite that, LinkedIn is a great platform to engage browsers who can be persuaded that what you have to say is relevant to their job. As noted in a blogpost about the effectiveness of LinkedIn video for marketing professionals:

“When on the LinkedIn platform, however, members are in a professional mindset, which makes them more receptive to business messaging — especially in video format.”

LinkedIn also provides some insight into the type of use cases for video on the platform in the guide. The preferred approach is much different to viral content on other platforms. The guide suggests that video uploaders might be interested in showcasing technology, sharing proceedings from conferences and industry events, sharing learnings from professional experience, and so on.

The challenge then is to distill some of the interesting content your company has been producing into clips that will engage social media users, and potentially encourage them to click through for full information. Social video can be an excellent medium for this use case.

A good example of this in action comes from HP’s busy LinkedIn page. The page posts many clips from areas that the company is active in. A recent example shows a short animated video about their efforts to promote diversity in the workplace, with different voices getting across the message in a social friendly format.

Many brands see LinkedIn as a way of promoting their brand, and consequently, the video content on the platform follows a similar pattern. But just like any other form of content marketing, there’s a clear line where it becomes too promotional. There’s a reason why taking a light touch on the self-promo works.

3. It’s unclear if the videos have algorithmic advantage.

As we’ve seen on Facebook in particular, native videos are prevalent in the news feed.

LinkedIn itself does have quite an active news feed algorithm, which sees Pulse posts from influencers such as Richard Branson and Bill Gates get huge numbers of views and shares, sometimes for long after publication. However, it remains to be seen if LinkedIn will be giving any algorithmic preference to their native videos.

Interestingly, LinkedIn have been quite open about the process by which content in its feed can go viral. The system combines machine learning with human editors to try to ensure that spam and low quality content does not go viral in the feed. According to LinkedIn, the actual format of the post isn’t necessarily taken into account as much as the actual content that it contains.

According to LinkedIn: “We continuously predict whether a share is likely to go viral… we monitor the network reach of the original poster, members interacting with the content, and the temporal signals like the velocity of likes, shares, and comments.”

Below is a graphic representation of the man-machine system that LinkedIn employs to determine which posts go viral on the platform. As you can see, the criteria for content format is not explicitly a factor.

This is something for brands and publishers that see LinkedIn as a significant engagement channel to remember. If investing in video, they shouldn’t necessarily assume that the same rules will apply to the format that do on other platforms. It may be that native video won’t get that much additional exposure. The only way to be sure is by reviewing your analytics carefully and regularly.

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