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LinkedIn Is All Business With CTV

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LinkedIn isn’t just a convent of buttoned-up office avatars and thinkfluencers.

For years, LinkedIn has been an online advertising platform for B2B marketing, hiring campaigns, audience extensions and more.

On Thursday, LinkedIn announced new connected TV ad placements to help its B2B marketers target audiences off-platform, while they’re streaming shows and movies. Through LinkedIn’s campaign manager, clients can purchase streaming ads from CTV publishers, including Roku, Samsung, Paramount and NBCUniversal.

The nature of LinkedIn and how members use the platform revealed a need to help marketers reach their target LinkedIn members off-platform, Penry Price, VP of marketing solutions, told AdExchanger.

The nature of networking

LinkedIn may not have TikTok’s swagger or YouTube’s omnichannel engagement, but the social network has a personalized feed and a database of information about active users. That information includes general location, media preferences and, in some cases, salary or income.

But unlike typical social media apps, people don’t use LinkedIn out of boredom or to talk to their friends, Price said. LinkedIn users are on the platform more intentionally, such as for networking or job hunting. There’s a limited window of opportunity to reach users while they’re receptive to seeing ads before they close the tab and do something else.

LinkedIn’s expansion into CTV is not a customer acquisition play, Price said. Rather, the point is to help B2B advertisers reach existing LinkedIn members in different parts of the day, he said, such as when they’re at work or back at home on the couch.

Price spoke with AdExchanger about LinkedIn’s CTV strategy.

AdExchanger: Streaming isn’t a shiny new object anymore. Why did LinkedIn decide to dabble in CTV now?

PENRY PRICE: Many brands use streaming to reach general consumers, but that’s not necessarily the case for marketers trying to target business professionals.

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Many B2B advertisers are still unsure about trying CTV, and many are only just getting started. The hesitation is because the specific goals of B2B brands don’t really mesh with the way TV ad buying works.

How so?

B2C brands buy TV ads based on age and gender demographics, programming type and household attributes like annual income. But B2B marketers don’t rely on this information as much; it’s more like a nice-to-have.

What B2B marketers really need to know is where their audience works and what their professional role is. That information determines whether users have the seniority and decision-making power to buy a particular product or service on behalf of their company.

This level of targeting is hard to do on streaming platforms that don’t necessarily have as much information about the professional lives of their viewers.

But through integrations with CTV platforms, we can help B2B companies reach their target audience on streaming apps based on data from real LinkedIn members.

What are some examples of the B2B marketers you work with?

Many of our clients are financial services or tech and software companies with products meant for employees in IT or human resources. Health care is also a growing category for us.

What role can streaming play for B2B marketers?

CTV will help raise brand awareness and consideration earlier on in the purchase journey.

People don’t buy a new office printer or IT software just because they saw an ad online, the way they might for a new sweater or a pair of shoes. These are big purchases that can take months of consideration, similar to buying a new car.

B2B brands need to make sure customers have a favorable opinion of a brand before they see a product ad on LinkedIn. By starting campaigns further up the funnel with CTV, brands can increase the odds of their digital ads actually driving sales.

What data partnerships does LinkedIn need to find its members on streaming apps?

We’re still ironing out the details of partnerships with data providers that will help us match our identifiers with streaming data without revealing the identities of actual LinkedIn members.

But the idea is to match hashed IDs to serve CTV impressions to actual logged-in LinkedIn members on whichever streaming services they’re watching.

Using obfuscated LinkedIn data, B2B companies can start making connections between the types of content their target audience watches and how LinkedIn members respond to B2B ads on other platforms.

How will LinkedIn measure whether these CTV ads are working?

We’ll be looking for higher engagement on LinkedIn – such as whether clicks and video completion rates increase for a brand’s ads on LinkedIn among target audiences who first saw the ad on CTV compared to those who didn’t.

We’ll also rely on measurement and verification partners to deliver core TV metrics like reach and frequency.

For us, the goal of CTV is to help B2B clients move their target customers down the purchase funnel faster.

This interview has been lightly edited and condensed.

For more articles featuring Penry Price, click here.

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