In the latest episode of our Industry Spotlight series, Lee, Chris & Jamie sat down to discuss LinkedIn’s new carousel ad format. For more videos like this why not subscribe to the Flaunt Digital YouTube channel?
See below for the full video transcription.
Chris: The next topic is on LinkedIn that are rolling out their new sponsored content carousel ad format. Nothing too exciting with this one really. It’s something that a lot of the other publishers have been doing for a long time now. It’s just up to 10 cards I think that they offer now for you to scroll different ad creative. As you’ll know if you’ve advertised on LinkedIn before, you’ve only been given a single ad format in the feed, which is just a static image that links to a destination URL. So not a massive amount of creative ability there when it comes to LinkedIn.
I can understand why they’ve taken that approach obviously, it’s B2B for the majority of the time, so not really any need to be overly creative and visual across LinkedIn. It’s about getting the message down and obviously talking in a very specific way to a B2B audience. I think what they have noticed is, they’ve probably been looking at the metrics and performance stats across other platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, and seen these carousel ad formats drive better engagement and click through, which is exactly what they’ve evidenced since they’ve launched this. So this is accessible to the public now, every advertiser’s got access to this carousel format. And like I say, I think you can have up to 10 different cards explaining different products, which can obviously have a deep link to a different product. So there’s multiple opportunities to obviously get something across visually and descriptive about your business or your product.
Jamie: Is this exactly like Facebook’s carousel ads then?
Chris: Yeah, it’s very similar, yeah. But like I said, I like the idea of it. I’m not sure it’s an amazing thing for LinkedIn. I think they’re always lightyears behind any other platform, so you can guess whatever Facebook are trying to do now, that could be used in a B2B capacity, they will always do but probably a year, two years later even.
Lee: Does Facebook offer individual impressions and clicks per card on the carousel?
Chris: Yeah, you can get performance data, yeah.
Lee: I thought that were interesting, that LinkedIn are going down that path.
Chris: No, just assume that whatever LinkedIn do, like they’re just doing the very bare-bones of what everybody else does.
Jamie: Is there opportunity here to build like a centralized ad manager that can manage these carousel ads cross-network then?
Chris: Yeah, you can already do that through like an DSP network, or something like that. There’s aggregators where they’ll bring all this data together, yeah. So they’ll have exchanges where they can access LinkedIn inventory, Facebook inventory, display inventory, see that all in a centralized platform. But they’d have to promise to work with the LinkedIn API to make sure it’s…it’ll only be able to pull through the metrics that LinkedIn are prepared to offer.
Jamie: That’s cool, isn’t it? If it’s just a click of a button to distribute your existing inventory across another network, once it’s been scripted in you’re already part of that DSP.
Chris: Yeah, yeah. It’s all right. I think for the B2B community as well, nobody’s ever taken that network too seriously. I don’t think there’s ever been too much push on the creative that gets pushed out across B2B networks, and as well B2B advertisers tend to…in my experience, they tend to be a bit boring in creative formats and stuff like that anyway. They’ve not really got any amazing creative ideas to advertise our shout about, and the LinkedIn platform obviously is the only place for a lot of people socially to engage with that network.
I think one thing that’s a little bit misleading about this is, and it’s always the same when it comes to like multi-creative formats like the carousel or something like that, similar to like canvas ads and things like that, the reporting metrics in a lot of ways are flawed. So like LinkedIn are talking on like an interaction basis it’s a CTR click through rate, improved performance versus like static creative. Which is fine, but you’re going to get a lot of mis-clicks there simply because if somebody sees just one static image in their newsfeed, they’re just going to scroll past it. They’ve seen everything that they need to see. On the carousel ad format, you might be intrigued to see the next one and the next one and the next one. And obviously, there’s going to be people that make mistakes, that click through just by accident when they meant to swipe. So I think you’re always going to see a nice CTR for those kind of ad formats anyway, especially with carousel. I don’t think it necessarily means they’re a better performing or more enticing ad format. I think it just means that people want to swipe right and sometimes they accidentally click.
But yeah, I think I’d be more interested on like conversion metrics and stuff like that when it came to this, and that’s another longstanding problem with LinkedIn. Obviously when you’re reporting on the conversions and things like that, there’s very few event-based stuff or multi-conversion point activities that you can actually tie back to LinkedIn activity, and the attribution, and everything else. It can obviously be used if you’ve got like a tracking tool, or an attribution tool, or even analytics to a certain degree, if everything’s typed up correctly, or you’re tracking the referrer in a very specific way, then that’s fine. But obviously, a lot of smaller advertisers that don’t have the development skills to be able to put that into practice, are only able to use and obviously view the metrics that LinkedIn offers, which are very, very basic. And which I don’t think really tells you to a greater degree about that user’s experience with your ad, or what they do when they get to the website. I mean, we’ve had it quite a few times, haven’t we, where we’ve even just abandoned setting events up for LinkedIn activities or conversion metrics, and just decided to go with like ETM tagging, something like that. Because the reporting back in LinkedIn, it doesn’t support that kind of thing, so yeah. Not getting down on LinkedIn too heavily I don’t think, I just…it would be nice to see them push a little bit faster on different things. Like I say, I understand that it is limited with that viewership and, you know, the following that you do get on LinkedIn. And obviously, it’s nowhere near the following that you would get on Facebook, for example, so that’s going to be, you know, in complete accordance with its viewership and its following. But yeah, it would be nice to see LinkedIn start to do a little bit more on the creative side now.