Microsoft Pushes LinkedIn Further Into the Connected Economy


LinkedIn has long been a fundamental part of the B2B economy, now topping 1 billion users. Now it’s showing signs of stepping further into the connected economy.

Those signs come in two forms: Reports in late March showed that the B2B social platform — which booked $4 billion in advertising in 2023 — had added TikTok-like short-form videos accessible through its navigation bar. Then today (April 4) the Microsoft-owned platform announced a connected TV program, offered through several partners including NBCUniversal.

The announcement was part of several new advertising solutions from LinkedIn Connected TV (CTV) Ads, including LinkedIn Premiere (in collaboration with NBCUniversal) and Live Event Ads unveiled at the company’s B2Believe event in New York. According to LinkedIn, the driver for the expanded ad solutions came from its research showing that at any given moment, only about 5% of potential buyers are actively seeking new purchases. According to LinkedIn Vice President of Engineering Sanjay Dubey, the CTV solution will be powered by data from the company’s user behavior and AI algorithms to connect advertisers with the right audience through streaming television content. “From our initial tests, customers have reported seeing significant improvement in brand lift, as well as lower funnel outcomes for audiences exposed to CTV campaigns,” he said.

But back to that 5% figure. The pitch from LinkedIn says that it “necessitates continuous, imaginative engagement across diverse channels — spanning video to live events — to embed brand presence in the consciousness of prospective buyers.” With nearly 90% of U.S. households adopting Connected TV in 2023 and an equal percentage of marketers affirming its efficacy in reaching B2B buyers, LinkedIn’s introduction of CTV Ads represents a strategic move to build upon the success of LinkedIn’s In-stream Video Ads, which it says has significantly boosted video completion rates among viewers.

Read more: Recent Big Tech Moves Highlight Role of B2B Pricing Strategies

To Dance in the Connected B2B Landscape, You’ll Need a Partner

Connected TV, of course, requires partnerships. LinkedIn came out of the gate with several, including Paramount, Roku and Samsung Ads. It also announced a partnership with NBCUniversal to launch LinkedIn Premiere.

Calling it a “managed service” the partnership will targets U.S. decision-makers through NBCUniversal’s premium CTV content, giving an in-stream option for advertisers new to CTV campaigns and offering precise audience targeting.

The company also covered its measurement aspects. The process for initiating a LinkedIn CTV campaign is streamlined through the Campaign Manager, where advertisers can set objectives, define their target audience, budget, and schedule before launching their campaigns. Recognizing the challenges in gauging campaign effectiveness, LinkedIn collaborates with iSpot for advanced audience measurement and Kantar for in-depth brand lift studies, facilitating a holistic understanding of campaign reach and impact on brand metrics.

“The moment you slice the world through the lens of historical transactional behavior, you can then leverage a predictive GenAI framework and say something about the likelihood of those future transactions,” Pecan CEO and Co-founder Zohar Bronfman told PYMNTS. “It’s evolutionary in terms of how businesses can operate.”

See also: The Power of Precision: Driving Revenue From B2B Customer Data

In addition to LinkedIn CTV, the platform introduced Live Event Ads to boost event visibility and engagement. With a 34% increase in professional event viewership on LinkedIn, the company is aiming this format to drive event participation, dynamically adjusting ad frequency to the event timeline.

The new ad units are not the only usage of AI from LinkedIn. COO Daniel Shapero announced in early March that more than 70% of the platform’s Premium subscribers have adopted AI powered writing suggestions and profile recommendations, or both, to help them attract more views and opportunities. Early tests also show 90% of subscribers with access to the AI-powered job experience found it useful.

As PYMNTS covered recently, the rise of digital B2B marketplaces, and the ongoing digitization of the B2B ecosystem more broadly, has created an environment where innovative tactics for B2B growth campaigns can potentially have an outsize return on investment (ROI) when benchmarked against traditional strategies.

Discussing B2B marketing approaches, Sujatha Mamidibathula, head of SMB at TikTok, told PYMNTS it is a mistake to focus on virality alone, advising, “My suggestion is for SMBs to focus on community. Focus on building that and virality will come to you.”