Bringing more innovation to the social media arena, professional social networking site LinkedIn has introduced video ads on its self-serve platform, LinkedIn Ads.
The LinkedIn Ads platform allows members to reach out to specific audiences through customised parameters like job title, job function, industry, geography, gender, age and company name and size. Furthermore, they can leverage a particular LinkedIn group and choose the most relevant and prominent page to place their ads.
This new addition to the gamut of advertising solutions by LinkedIn will allow members to promote their product or service to LinkedIn's user base of 175 million professionals.
The video ads will appear in standard 300x250 ad units across the LinkedIn site and will compete for impressions, similar to traditional text and image ad formats.
When a LinkedIn member is engaged and clicks a video ad, the video will take over the entire 300x250 ad unit and play a 30-second video. Once the video is played, users will still be able to click through to the landing page or the website of the advertiser.
With the video ads working seamlessly with YouTube, advertisers can also leverage their existing YouTube presence and promote the same videos on LinkedIn. Advertisers will still be able to grow and capture the same YouTube stats they are used to.
Nimesh Shah, head maven, Windchimes Communications is of the view that this roll-out will give advertisers the opportunity to be more creative. "The key development is that instead of an image ad, an entire video will be played. Video always offers more flexibility. LinkedIn has allowed advertisers to be more creative. The ball is in the advertisers' court,"says Shah.
"The worry is that advertisers must not use this opportunity just to upload television commercials. This must be treated as an additional platform on social media. HR and corporate communications people must wake up. Companies could come up with communication that is exciting that will make LinkedIn viewers of the video want to work for them," he adds.
Unny Radhakrishnan, head, digital, South Asia, Maxus thinks that the idea will find acceptance.
"People are getting increasingly comfortable with online video. The audio-video communication will always be powerful. On LinkedIn, there is no clutter. There is minimal advertising. And instead of a banner, if there is a video ad, I see no problem with that. Fundamentally, there will be takers for this. How good would be the response is something to wait and watch out for," Radhakrishnan says.
According to independent digital consultant Shubho Sengupta, the idea is not new and has been tried before but now is the right time for the model to take off.
"In India, some niche websites have tried this model. It did not take off for various reasons, particularly bandwidth issues. Now that things are much better, it is the right time for something like this to work," he says.
Sengupta remarks that there will always be the worry of brands pushing their TVCs even on a platform such as this. "In India, everything is TVC! LinkedIn too has barely moved beyond the resume-posting platform here. User-generated content has not arrived in India yet. We have not really cracked social media here in spite of screaming from the rooftops about it. But that is a debate for another day," says Sengupta.