It’s about five years overdue, but news is spreading that LinkedIn’s 500 million users will soon be able to upload a video and share it. Yes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and, of course, YouTube have had this functionality for years, so it’s not particularly newsworthy on its face, but this is LinkedIn we’re talking about.
Let’s breakdown the reported features first.
- You’ll be able to record a video or upload an existing video file.
- Videos will start automatically without sound; users opt to un-mute.
- Videos will be sharable and likable. No word if they’ll be embeddable.
- Analytics. LinkedIn will share details about specific viewers, such as employer and job roles. (Insights won’t be provided for every person who watched a video, just a selection of the top viewers.)
- Count metrics won’t start till after three seconds of viewing.
- Videos can be up to 10 minutes in length.
Here’s why this matters, right now.
- Recruiting. Employers will now be able to post videos and get data that actually supports recruiting. Imagine a company promoting a job opportunity and then being able to check out their audience analytics in order build up a list of potential candidates, as well as retarget them.
- Candidates. Job seekers can now upload video (resumes) to a platform that’s focused on business. This should also make searching LinkedIn a lot more engaging.
- Engagement. LinkedIn has a problem with stickiness. Only about a quarter of its members use the site each month, and when they do, it registers as minutes instead of hours, a metric the likes of Facebook and Snapchat enjoy. Video should relieve this issue.
- Advertising. Posting jobs is currently a very transactional relationship between prospects and employers. Video helps put a face to a company and the jobs they’re hoping to fill. Employer brand folks should be rejoicing.
- Vendors. Anyone who sells stuff to hiring companies is doing jumping jacks and somersaults right about now. See above bullet points to understand why, but this should inject some new life for those looking for an excuse to leave Facebook and start advertising on LinkedIn, or at least take a second look.
Finally, here’s why it might really matter in the future.
- Upgrades. Many recruiters are already premium members of LinkedIn, but video should push a lot more users and companies into the monthly subscriber category. LinkedIn can build analytics and features into a video offering that move people to bust out the corporate American Express. More money, more power.
- Video interviewing. LinkedIn could own the video interviewing space if it wanted to. Upgrading its messaging system and introducing video to users is a step in that direction.
- Artificial intelligence and Microsoft’s resources. The good news for LinkedIn is Microsoft didn’t drop $26 billion to do nothing with the platform; quite the opposite, looking at recent feature updates and launches. Thinking about what Microsoft could start doing with video activity, facial recognition, and deep learning starts to get a little mind boggling, but no less powerful.
Compared to competing platforms, people really trust LinkedIn. A recent Business Insider survey said 55 percent of users trust LinkedIn to keep their data private. The next highest percent was 15 percent. The same percentage trust LinkedIn to protect them from scams and deceptive content, while 43 percent feel safe posting on LinkedIn versus 21 percent for the next highest, Facebook. Additionally, users aren’t annoyed with LinkedIn advertising compared to others.
Throw in the fact that heavyweights like Google, Facebook, and potentially Amazon are getting into the workforce game, and the introduction of native video becomes that much more important for the company. The arms race is on, and it’s starting to look like it might actually be televised this time.