LinkedIn is finally selling autoplay video ads

LinkedIn came up with a new way to make money — it’s going to sell video advertising.

The professional network, which is now owned by Microsoft, is finally pushing into video ads. The ads will look like other LinkedIn videos that users can watch in their feed, and will autoplay without sound.

LinkedIn’s thinking is easy to follow: The company claims that video performs better on its service than other kinds of content — LinkedIn said video posts are shared 20 times more frequently than other types of posts. Plus, video ads are usually more expensive than other types of ads, which means companies can make more by selling them.

LinkedIn has been slow to push into video. It only started letting users upload their own videos in August, something other social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat have been doing for years. As a result, LinkedIn is also late to the game when it comes to selling video ads.

But LinkedIn also has a different business than those others networks. While they rely almost exclusively on advertising for revenue, LinkedIn also makes money from selling subscriptions and special features for recruiters. Advertising was just 18 percent of LinkedIn’s business before it was acquired by Microsoft.

Still, to compete in today’s digital advertising market, video ads have become a necessity.

“We know that viewers, when they watch video, the message is much more likely received when compared to just text,” said Sudeep Cherian, head of product marketing for LinkedIn’s ads business. “It’s not a nice-to-have, it’s a must-have.”

Cherian says LinkedIn will start selling the video ads to a test group made up of a couple hundred marketers, but the plan is to eventually bring them to all LinkedIn’s advertisers.

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