Video has become an increasingly critical component of advertising strategies on major digital platforms. However, many marketers struggle to leverage video effectively on a platform like LinkedIn, which has traditionally been more text and image-focused. According to AJ Wilcox, host of the LinkedIn Ads Show podcast, video is the ideal place to start when running LinkedIn campaigns.
As AJ explained on “Marketing, Demystified,” “My absolute ideal funnel starts with video. It starts with video that makes an emotional connection.”
Emotion is key – if people connect with your story and understand your “why,” they are far more likely to engage with your brand and remember you later on. As Jenn Mancusi, CEO and co-founder of Growgetter, notes, “People buy things from people that they like, they connect with, and they have empathy with.”
In this article, we cover the following:
- Focusing on the “why,” and just the “what”
- How authenticity resonates
- Building brand awareness with video
- Testing to succeed
Focus on the “Why”, not just the “What”
Too often, brands focus exclusively on touting the features and functionalities of their product or service. But as AJ emphasizes, this causes you to blend into the background: “If people don’t understand the why, they’re just going to compare you to your competitors or ignore you completely.” Think about iconic brands like Harley Davidson – people tattoo their logo on their bodies because Harley has forged such a tribal, emotional connection rooted in ideals of freedom and rebellion.
As AJ advises, “I would be saying, this bike has this much horsepower and torque and costs this much if that’s how you’re marketing. They are going to compare you to everything else…when they know your ‘why,’ that when you buy a Harley, you are a part of the community. You get to live out your dreams; you get to experience freedom. That’s the stuff that makes people tattoo your brand on their freakin body.”
Telling your unique origin story and conveying the meaning behind your company allows potential customers to really relate to your mission on a deeper level. Videos often provide an ideal format for communicating and storytelling in an impactful, memorable way.
In today’s oversaturated media landscape, audiences crave authenticity. Highly polished, generic video ads tend to fade into the background or can come off as inauthentic. As Jenn highlights, “There was a time maybe not even that long ago, maybe five years ago, where if it weren’t really polished and well-produced, it wouldn’t perform. And that is so not true anymore.” AJ agrees that “people care more about their time not being wasted than the video looking polished.”
Short, raw smartphone videos often resonate more than slick commercial-style production these days. AJ advises taking advantage of this shift: “Video is cheap or free. Like you have your own phone with an amazing camera that you can just point at yourself, or ask your CEO to point at his or herself and talk – share the company story.” Basic editing software even allows you to clean up and enhance this self-recorded footage easily.
Lead with Video to Build Brand Awareness and Trust
Rather than immediately asking audiences to convert or purchase through your video ads on LinkedIn, focus first on brand building and developing trust. As AJ puts it, “In B2B, it takes 17 touches on average with a brand before a purchase occurs. So we know if we have to have 17 interactions with someone, I want to have meaningful interactions; I want to have interactions that make an emotional connection.”
Video ads on LinkedIn are ideal for those initial brand awareness touchpoints, allowing you to introduce yourself memorably to cold audiences. Once individuals have engaged with 3-4 of your videos, they will start to know and trust you far more than if they simply read the same amount of written content. When they eventually reach the conversion phase days or weeks later, your brand will already seem familiar and authentic.
AJ notes that once you grab attention with branded video content, you can re-target those viewers through lower-cost ad placements.
Test Extensively to Uncover the Formula for Success
Don’t expect overnight success or assume you intuitively know the “right” video creative for your LinkedIn advertising. Be prepared to continually test and optimize different elements of your video approach over time. As Jenn asks about changing up ads to prevent saturation, AJ responds “we’ve actually done quite a few of these of these tests, where we call it a saturation test, we’re seeing how long can we run our ads before they stopped being effective. And what we found is it’s anywhere between about 27 to 33 days.”
So plan to measure engagement over the initial month of an ad’s lifespan and swap in something fresh around the one-month mark.
You can also A/B test different versions of ads simultaneously, comparing elements like “this intro to that intro,” as AJ explains. However, he cautions that limited budgets often can’t support too many permutations at once.
If you try to do it with a small budget or for short periods, you’re getting data that isn’t statistically significant. And you’re gonna get burned out. Carefully balance the number of variables based on your targeting scale. For example, as AJ outlines, “if your budget is over, like, let’s say 30 or 40k a month, I think it makes sense to run multivariate tests. But if you’re under that, I’ve run like very straight specific A/B tests on everything you do.”
Learn over time what resonates best with your audiences on LinkedIn’s unique platform through continual experimentation. Don’t be afraid to jump in and start testing video ads on LinkedIn today – you may uncover unexpected opportunities.