"Zurich is the city with the second most LinkedIn members in the entire DACH region"

LinkedIn is expanding its sponsored content offering to include video ads in the newsfeed. Alexandra Kolleth, Director of Marketing Solutions and member of the Executive Board of LinkedIn Germany, Austria and Switzerland, explains the background in an interview.

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The new offering is designed to meet the demand for video ads in the B2B space, LinkedIn said. A survey conducted by the company among German marketers showed that companies placed a strong focus on B2B video ads in 2017. Sixty-seven percent wanted to use them to increase positive brand awareness, while an equal number wanted to generate sales leads. 45 percent promoted products and services in their videos.

B2B marketers should now benefit from a wide range of target group options. Specifically, they can define exactly which members their video ads should reach based on criteria such as job title, seniority, company name, industry, or skill profile.

Werbewoche: Until now, you had to embed videos via YouTube. With Native, this is now possible directly. Can we expect better values now?

Alexandra Kolleth: Our members have been able to embed videos in their newsfeed or blogposts on LinkedIn since mid-2017. Our core business value is "members first" - in other words, if we don't offer our members exciting products to create engagement on the platform, we won't have any enterprise customers. And since enterprise business accounts for about 90 percent of our revenue, "members first" is a core value for us. Our new offering for marketers - embedding ads in our newsfeed - includes extensive targeting options based on our member data, variable billing models and accurate metrics. Marketers can specify exactly what they want to achieve with the campaign, be it lead generation, number of views or visits to the homepage. Accordingly, billing models are available that are calculated according to costs-per-mille, costs-per-click or costs-per-view values. Detailed engagement data is available for evaluation, helping companies understand their target audience and increase ROI. In addition, conversion tracking from LinkedIn can be used to track the number of leads generated, new signups, website views and other interactions. Recourse to LinkedIn's Lead Gen Forms is also possible. Pre-populated with profile data, the forms provide a seamless user experience and help companies generate high-quality leads quickly.

What formats are possible, such as portrait formats?

LinkedIn supports horizontal video ads in MP4 format.

Are there any restrictions regarding the length?

Video ads on LinkedIn should last between three seconds and 30 minutes. However, it's recommended that you don't push that to the limit. The most successful videos are a maximum of 15 seconds long. The most important thing should be seen in the first ten seconds, because from this point on, the viewer's attention drops. Especially on a business platform like LinkedIn, videos stand out from the crowd and help to visualize corporate messages - this is also confirmed by the social media management of KLM Royal Dutch Airlines.

Is LinkedIn also planning storytelling formats?

Content marketing is extremely effective on LinkedIn. Campaigns that last for years and create a long-term sales funnel are our bread and butter business. The advantages of our platform: The majority of our members provide details such as region, industry, seniority and title. The data is mostly accurate and up-to-date, as our members want to network with others, i.e. be found. Accordingly, the targeting on LinkedIn is very precise. Moreover, members here move in a business context and have a corresponding "mindset." Ads for white papers on Industry 4.0 therefore don't look out of place between cat and vacation pictures.

How many LinkedIn profiles are there in Switzerland

LinkedIn has eleven million members in the German-speaking region and has continued its growth since the beginning of 2015. The reason for the constant growth: LinkedIn invests sustainably in the region and implements the wishes of its members and customers on the platform. For example, LinkedIn launched its new "Career Tips & Mentoring" feature in February 2018. Already in December 2017, the salary comparison was presented, with which members can inform themselves in detail about salary structures based on self-updating data. Switzerland plays a key role in this. Zurich, for example, is the city with the second most LinkedIn members in the entire DACH region. In addition, large Swiss companies such as Credit Suisse, Nestlé, and Swiss Re rely on our recruiting and marketing solutions and work with us worldwide. I would even say that when we started in the German-speaking region in 2011, Switzerland was the most important market. Germany and Austria have only caught up in recent years.

What form of advertising do you recommend to Swiss advertisers?

Video formats are significantly more popular with members than static content. During the beta phase, more than 700 companies tested our video ads, including companies like General Electric and Philips. The result was that LinkedIn members devote almost three times as much time to video ads than to other content. This is also the case in Switzerland - so videos should be integrated into the marketing strategy here as well.

Interview: Beat Hürlimann

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