LinkedIn is set to roll out a function for natively uploading videos onto the social network via its mobile app, Marketing Landreports.
Users will soon be able to take and upload videos with LinkedIn’s updated in-app camera or upload clips from their phone’s camera roll. The native video feature is currently being tested in the US with a batch of users and publishers, and LinkedIn plans to bring the functionality worldwide in the coming months.
Video creators will have access to viewership analytics, including one unique business-minded metric. In addition to the standard analytics suite of views, likes, and shares, LinkedIn is also giving details about specific viewers, with information on where they work and their roles. However, these job-related insights won’t be provided for every person who watched a video, just a selection of the top viewers.
These videos can last up to 10 minutes, though LinkedIn recommends a shorter length ranging between 30 seconds and five minutes. As with LinkedIn’s pre-existing in-feed videos, user-uploaded clips will play automatically with sound off, and it will be possible to turn off auto-playing in account settings. Like Facebook and Twitter, LinkedIn counts a video view after three seconds of play time.
Native LinkedIn videos, with unique analytics and an emphasis on short-form content, could prove a revelation in several domains:
- Networking and sales. Analytics about where video viewers work and what they do present substantial opportunities for networking, recruiting, generating sales leads, and so on. For example, executives can announce a new product or service and then dive into their audience analytics to build up a list of prospects; opinion leaders discussing a pressing trend will have more tools for growing their followers; job-seekers can post videos with an eye on courting recruiters or a company’s attention, or vice versa. All these scenarios pave the way for LinkedIn to upgrade free members onto premium tiers, where more advanced customer relationship management (CRM) tools are available.
- Media distribution. Influencers and media companies can use the new video-sharing option to distribute content and develop their audiences directly on LinkedIn. This is especially pertinent for creators of business-focused content. Previously, users had to create embedded YouTube videos to share clips on LinkedIn — a slightly circuitous route. And aside from removing friction in this process, LinkedIn’s native video feature also wrestles a degree of influence away from rival platforms. For the future, LinkedIn may be aiming to nurture a network of industry influencers, similar to YouTube’s roster of homegrown stars.
- User engagement. LinkedIn has a user retention problem. The Microsoft-owned site has over 500 million members, but only a fraction of them (23% in Q3 2016) use the platform on a monthly basis. Moreover, they average just two minutes a day on-site (compared with 30 minutes and 50 minutes a day by Snapchat and Facebook users, respectively). Video has seen explosive growth on social platforms like Facebook and Snapchat, and could similarly benefit LinkedIn by capturing user attention, and driving up time spent as well as repeat visits to the site. Meanwhile, for creators, the opportunity to build a professional brand and network through video also provides a compelling reason to post, stay and return to LinkedIn.
- Advertising revenue. LinkedIn doesn’t currently serve video ads on its platform, according to a spokesperson cited in Marketing Land, though it used to in 2012 on embedded YouTube videos via a revenue-share agreement with Google. Yet it seems inevitable that LinkedIn will eventually, and probably soon, serve video ads again. The new video-sharing feature is a big step in this direction by making the platform more video-centric. Once LinkedIn is sufficiently populated with clips, it will be able to adjust its algorithms to prioritize videos in its feed, like Facebook has in recent years. When this happens, LinkedIn should be in a strong position to attract video ad budgets from brands across industries