Brands, Content & the LinkedIn Native Content Ad Exchange

I was at the Grow with Hubspot conference in London, where LinkedIn’s Jason Miller (Senior Content Manager and author of this huge guide) and Kipp Bodnar (Hubspot CMO) held a fireside chat about the future of advertising.

After so many years and given their struggle to bring more than 1 out of 4 members per Quarter on the site, you would expect LinkedIn to showcase some sort of innovation. Especially when the revenue growth seems to have slowed down and the past two quarters have been flat.

LinkedIn Native Content Ad Exchange

If you don’t have inventory on your own website, start expanding somewhere else. Like Google did with the Google Display Network, once it realized the potential beyond search engine marketing.

So why doesn’t LinkedIn do the same with content? Their revenue is driven by the Talent Solutions, accounting for 62% of the Net Revenues this last quarter and their Marketing Solutions account for only 19%. There is a huge untapped market here because marketers have a problem:

Millions of pieces of content are published every day, but there are very few trusted ad exchanges where brands can easily place authoritative content that positions them as industry leaders. 

LinkedIn has the brand and the influence to solve this problem as a Marketing Solutions product. Just imagine if you could bid for your content to appear on the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Forbes, FT.com all on the same exchange. LinkedIn would provide the platform for it, share the revenues with the publishers that insert the embedding code and the brands would pay for the exposure.

LinkedIn can build this as an iteration of Pulse or buy one ad exchange / native advertising company, but they need to grow their advertising revenue base because with it, they will grow their brand and with that, the users will return more often.

What do you think about this? Would it be something that a marketing person could benefit from or should we stick to the media agency contacting the media company model?

Later edit: Recent analysis points to the fact that LinkedIn needs to pivot towards diversifying revenue sources to hedge against labor market risks.

Photo via Michael Ruiz

Land Rover UK underperformed with its #CanAndWill campaign

A friend of mine sent me the I can and I will integrated campaign signed by Land Rover UK. Wonderful concept, great video and script execution, but I felt it could have done more on the media exposure side of things. I mean, just look at those videos (new tab, don’t worry), they have huge viral potential if people identify with them.

capture

(screencap from www.canandwill.co.uk)

But in order to do that, people need to see them – on Youtube, in special media projects, through ads and get traction.

Just look at these views numbers:

  1. Land Rover: Can and Will – 182,000 views
  2. Can and Will: Mike Goody – 174,000 views
  3. Carl Hester: A winning performer – 6,100 views
  4. Can and Will: Richard E. Grant – Relentless – 1,700 views
  5. Can and Will: Ellie Simmonds’ spirit of defiance – 1,800 views
  6. Can and Will: Beth Moses – 1,200 views
  7. Can and Will: Gwyn Haslock – 11,700 views
  8. Bude Pool: The resilience of community – 1,100 views
  9. Bear Grylls Can and Will reach the summit – 2,900 views

Total: 382, 500 views for a UK digital video campaign

It’s like they only invested in the first two ads and left the rest up to the internet to decide. I wonder how much they invested in the production of the latter and how much they actually put up for media buying. If you invest in high quality inspirational videos, you might as well promote them to reach at least 1-2 million views, otherwise you have little or no digital impact with them.

Sure, they’re great TV ads, but they could be so much more. All it takes is a bit more strategy. In the mean time, let’s keep an eye out for the Invictus Games, 10-14 September, where Land Rover will be an official sponsor.