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LinkedIn partners with YouTube to offer easier B2B video ads

LinkedIn occupies a strange place in social media. It’s never been a particularly “hot” site, nor is it one that’s often considered during discussions of social media sites that are particularly well-traveled, but nonetheless, it’s become a successful niche destination for professional networking; a day doesn’t go by without getting some form of request for connection, endorsement or some other form of interaction, suggesting a high level of participation from members. And now, the site is planning to offer yet another way in which users can be touched by companies and corporations on the site: Video ads.

According to a post on SocialTimes, LinkedIn is partnering with YouTube to replace the existing 300 x 250 video ads on the site with new videos from YouTube that will be reformatted to work on the site. The new ads will play for 30 seconds, before offering viewers the opportunity to click through to a website to learn more about the company, and are said to be ad spaces to promote “a complex B2B [business to business] service [or communicate] an inspiring brand message,” according to the site.

The new video ads appear to be a response to the drop in marketing revenue made by LinkedIn so far in 2012, compared with the previous year (Marketing revenue amounted for 28 percent of total Q2 revenue for the company, compared with 32 percent for the same period in 2011). Explaining the drop on an investor call earlier this year, SVP and Chief Financial Officer for the company, Steve Sordello said that the “self-serve LinkedIn Ads platform continued to outpace overall site page views, although revenue declined slightly versus the first quarter as field sales absorbed more of the available inventory.” He added, however, that “Click-through rates and CPCs steadily improved versus last year and in addition to working to drive further engagement on the site, we continue to look for new ways to add inventory for our self-serve channel.”

That last point is where these new video ads come in, apparently. When asked about the origin of the new system, a LinkedIn spokesperson responded by saying that the company is “always exploring new ways to drive engagement, and bringing new products like video ads is part of our larger plan to do so.”

With a recent report from the Content Marketing Institute announcing that LinkedIn is the number one resource for business to business content marketing online – An impressive 83 percent of B2B marketers apparently use LinkedIn to distribute content, compared with 80 percent using Facebook or Twitter – it’s possible that these “do it yourself” video opportunities will be exactly what LinkedIn needed to raise its marketing bottom line. The question may be: When will regular users get a chance to add their own YouTube content to their profiles?

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