LinkedIn needs no introduction as it’s one of the largest social networks for the business world. It has nearly 600 million users globally and that number is only going to grow. Video is the fastest-growing format on LinkedIn along with original written work, shared news and other content.
Considering that fact, LinkedIn has taken a serious step forward in video. They have launched LinkedIn Live video which gives people and organisations the ability to broadcast videos in real-time to select groups or to the entire LinkedIn world.
Initially, LinkedIn Live will be on an invite-only basis where they will first launch a beta version in America. In the next couple of weeks, LinkedIn will post a contact form for anyone who would like to gain access to this feature. At the moment, though it is not clear whether LinkedIn Live will be made available to everyone but it might be a possibility.
LinkedIn Live Video Content
Live content that LinkedIn hopes to broadcast will match the kind of subject matter already on LinkedIn news feed. They plan to cover conferences, new product launches, Q&As, award ceremonies, earnings calls and other events. The videos won’t be the traditional user-generated content but more like video streams that fit in with LinkedIn’s wider ethos.
To show LinkedIn’s determination to develop this, especially in the first phase, they have selected several third-party developers of live broadcasting streaming services. Creators will be able to work with them to create and post much more polished live videos on LinkedIn. They include Wirecast, Switcher Studio, Wowza Media Systems, Socialive and Brandlive while more will follow according to LinkedIn.
A crucial element to its impending success is Microsoft Azure Media Services, part of its cloud division, responsible for coding. While Microsoft acquired LinkedIn in 2016, they have been on the side lines in terms of product development between the two, so this is certainly an exception. Contrary to what some may think, Skype will not be a part of this live video effort.
Facing Stiff Competition
Compared to the likes of Twitter and Facebook, LinkedIn may have been a few steps behind as they introduced their first native video features in 2017. However, don’t let that detract from the real possibilities that Linked Live now present. Since launching non-live video features more than a year ago, LinkedIn has seen a major boost in traffic and revenues.
According to Pete Davies, the director of product management at LinkedIn: “Video is the fastest growing format on our platform right now, and the one most likely to get people talking.” While Davies and LinkedIn did not give specific figures, they noted that “millions” of LinkedIn members have used the feature.
It is no surprise that live video has been a big request considering it’s prominence in other social platforms.
“Live has been the most requested feature. These other social platforms are serving as a template of sorts: as with these other platforms, users can “like” videos as they are being broadcast, with the likes floating along the screen. Viewers can ask questions or make suggestions in the comments in real time. Hosts can moderate those comments in real time, too, to remove harassing or other messages.”
Pete Davies, Director of Product Management
What About Monetising LinkedIn Live Video?
While LinkedIn Live may be the result of user requests, there may be another reason why they are expanding video. Fact is, video can be a powerful platform for engagement and revenue growth.
With that said, the only monetisation LinkedIn has introduced thus far has been for video advertising. As expected, Microsoft has not revealed how much advertising revenue LinkedIn brings in let alone video advertising. Microsoft’s last quarterly earnings indicate that LinkedIn revenues were up 29% specifically referencing their ads business. It stated that, “with record levels of engagement highlighted by LinkedIn sessions growth of 30 percent.”
According to LinkedIn, video ads earn 30% more comments per impression than non-video ads. Additionally, LinkedIn members spend almost three times more time watching video ads than static Sponsored Content.
Live Video Brings New Opportunities
If the business social network taps into unique content with LinkedIn Live, they have an incredible opportunity to explore other ways of monetising content beyond advertising. For example, they could charge potential viewers for unique experiences like conferences. Or, they can make certain live events part of LinkedIn’s paid subscription tier to attract and convince more premium subscribers.
There is an opportunity for broadcasters to offer fee-based services providing a platform to broadcast specific content . LinkedIn declined to comment on future monetisation plans and will not put video ads into LinkedIn Live videos for the time being. According to Peter Roybal, head of video product management at LinkedIn: “That will come down the road, but for right now we are focused on awesome use cases. This could even be a way to try out some new ideas.”
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