Create successful LinkedIn video ads

Business Benefits

Improve your video viewing and engagement rates on LinkedIn.


Plan out a video that is high-quality and brand-related, with a simple structure.

Some basics would include:

  • Quality = attention span. As Seinfeld said, “There is no such thing as an attention span. There is only the quality of what you are viewing.”
  • Stay on brand. Don’t copy the style of a popular video, especially a viral one, if you’re trying to drive home your unique value proposition or establish your brand.
  • Plan it out. A one-minute video needs only about 150 words. It would be best if you had a straight to the point script and an agreed-upon storyboard for the accompanying shots.

Some of the best video ad research comes from other platforms as there’s more data, so consider that. For instance, for YouTube pre-roll ads, Google recommends segmenting video ad campaigns into three phases:

  1. Tease. A 6-second video to seed the idea.
  2. Amplify. 15 and 30-second versions to grow reach and impact.
  3. Echo. A return to 6-second ads to reinforce the past message.

The strategy, according to Google, has shown to improve ad recall and revenues on YouTube. While its format isn’t directly applicable to LinkedIn, you can mimic the practice. So for example, one way is to break video messaging into chunks of shorter and longer videos. Use the shorter ones to target busy scrollers on the newsfeed, and use the longer ones to engage those who for example click on your company page.

For video ads, Blitzmetrics CEO Dennis Yu outlines a four-step structure:

  1. Hook. Capture attention within the first 3 seconds.
  2. Ignite Pain/Pleasure. Identify problem or opportunity in 3–15 seconds range.
  3. Describe Solution. Explain what you offer and why it will help viewers from 15–50 seconds.
  4. Call to Action. Leave them with an actionable next step in the final 10 seconds.

LinkedIn reports that viewer attention drops after 10 seconds. That means you have less than that amount of time to hook a viewer. The internal report also notes that “videos under 30 seconds reported a 200% lift in view completion rates.” However, according to the study, sometimes longer videos can drive an equal number of clicks as shorter ones.

Use Direct Sponsored Content LinkedIn campaigns to publish original video ads with a specific message, and aim like sharing testimonials, introducing a new product feature, or collecting feedback.

These types of ads have better chances to perform well on LinkedIn. Use several video versions to target a segment of your customer base or as part of an account-based marketing strategy. Alternatively, you can use boost content campaign from content that is simply posted to your Company page, but since this is not exclusive to the platform, according to Nielsen research, it can be less effective in driving branding consideration. See these examples:

Business intelligence company MicroStrategy published a LinkedIn video ad for their annual conference where they blend humor into a customer testimonial, making use of two tactics while also being entertaining:

  • Blended conference features with a testimonial of the experience.
  • Included a discount in the copy to aid attribution.

Networking hardware company Silver Peak, ran LinkedIn video ads for their SD-WAN platform. The spot was clever. Poking fun at 1980s styles likely resonated with the age demographic for their target audience. It also ended with a call to action to visit a microsite for the campaign.

In addition, positing video ads on LinkedIn can also be used to collect feedback from the target audience. Likes and comments offer qualitative feedback on the video content, which you can use as a passive way to conduct market research on social media. That information might prove valuable if the video is also used for YouTube pre-roll or TV spots, where it’s harder to get clean user feedback.

Create a video ad that meets LinkedIn’s technical specs, and consider hard-coding subtitles to get your message across without the audio.

Just as LinkedIn videos perform differently than YouTube pre-roll clips, they have unique technical and targeting requirements, too. Here are some more highlights from the tech specs list:

  • Video length can range from 3 seconds to 30 minutes.
  • File size must be between 75KB and 200 MB.
  • File format must be MP4.
  • Videos must have a horizontal layout.
  • Frame rate must be less than 30 frames per second.

As an example, Philips’ video ad campaign on LinkedIn highlighted how their technology helps deliver medical care at a children’s hospital. It used dual-language captions. They showcased their product and the positive impact of the brand to wider audiences.

Use LinkedIn’s targeting to show your video ad to the exact people you want to reach, including specific job titles or companies.

LinkedIn’s targeting capabilities are a big reason why LinkedIn has become a popular platform for B2B advertisers. The platform’s targeting for video ads is no different from targeting for other Sponsored Content, however. Combinations (multiple characteristics) and exclusions (without certain characteristics) are both possible. See below for reference:

For example, LinkedIn offers the chance to connect with customers or potential employees. Its targeting allows recruiters to go after specific job titles or companies that are a potential match. One limitation of LinkedIn video ads is the inability to retarget video viewers. As Wilcox laments:

“Part of the reason why advertisers haven’t embraced it yet is we don’t have the ability to retarget video viewers yet. Once LinkedIn releases this functionality, I think it will be much easier to make the case for video ads on the platform.”

The inability to retarget video viewers doesn’t make lead generation impossible. You can use LinkedIn’s Lead Gen forms for launching Sponsored Content, which removes the need for visitors to go to a separate landing page.

For example, BambooHR ran LinkedIn ads explicitly targeting those who, perhaps, felt burnt out at their current startup. The ad infused additional aspects of company culture into their promise of 40-hour work weeks and work-life balance.

Learn how to use LinkedIn’s video ad metrics, which are specific more so than other metrics to get an idea if your campaigns are successful and if you are engaging users.

Compared to the B2C world, B2B attribution faces two challenges:

  • Sales often take place offline.
  • The sales cycle may last for months or more than a year.

Both are limitations on how much video metrics can tell you. You’ll almost certainly endure gaps between LinkedIn behavior and the close of sales. That said, here are the core metrics for LinkedIn video ads:

  • An impression includes 1 second of video play.
  • A paid view is 2 seconds of video play, with 50% of ad unit in view or a click on the CTA, whichever comes first. An organic view of Sponsored video content is 3 seconds.
  • LinkedIn records the number of views as well as the percentage of the video watched at intervals of 25%, 50%, 75%, and complete, which is at least 97%.
  • The completion rate, completions divided by views, multiplied by 100.
  • Average cost per view.
  • Number of clicks to view the video in full-screen mode.

Test your advertising on other platforms, then once you’ve refined your strategy, move the ad to LinkedIn.

LinkedIn advertising isn’t cheap. In case studies, LinkedIn touts cost-per-view metrics as low as $0.06, but Facebook cost-per-view metrics, for example, average around $0.02. A difference of $0.04 is a 3X price increase.

The biggest mistake with LinkedIn video ads is testing video on LinkedIn first. The costs are 3–6X higher than video views on Facebook, so the most efficient use of your money is to test your creative on Facebook or YouTube first, and then bring over the piece that performed best. When you test video ads on other platforms, the key is to ensure that the pricey views on LinkedIn will be worth it:

  • Test your creative.
  • Know exactly who you want to reach.
  • Know what you want those viewers to do.

If you hit those targets, you’re more likely to get a strong return on ad spend, whether your goal is brand awareness, product trials, or another use case.

For example, customer service software Zendesk has done a series of creative band spots that hit on their core message, which is that they make software for improving the relationship between businesses and their customers since “relationships are complicated.” Using YouTube as a useful and largely free testing ground for videos, their video had over 216,000 views, enough to suggest that an investment on LinkedIn would be worth it.

Great guide! If I’m not mistaken, you can create a custom audience of video viewers now and then retarget them in a different campaign:

1 Like

Hi @tim

Really appreciate you taking time to join the community and leave some feedback.

Its really important we keep adding small details like this to keep the library fresh and relevant.

Would it be ok if edit this into the playbook and you as a contributor in the byline?

If you want to, you can provide a bio and a backlink then other users can find your other work.

Check this playbook out as an example.

1 Like