B2C Content Marketing on LinkedIn: What Younger Members Want

July 21, 2014

LinkedIn-B2C-Content-Marketing-Topics-July2014Some 47% of young LinkedIn members read news or information from consumer brands on LinkedIn at least once a month, and roughly half trust information about consumer products they see on LinkedIn, according to results from a LinkedIn survey [download page] of 1,841 of its members aged 18-45 from the US, Canada, Brazil, Australia, and the UK. The study finds that the youngest members – aged 18-24 – seek out the most content about B2C brands, and are particularly interested in upcoming innovations from companies.

Indeed, two-thirds of respondents aged 18-24 cite upcoming innovations from a company as a topic of interest, compared to 55% of 25-34-year-olds and 54% of 35-45-year-olds. The next-most desired topics are news about the company (55% overall) and news articles about the industry (54%), with interest in the former highest among the 18-24 bracket and desire for the latter highest among 25-34-year-olds.

While survey respondents as a whole are also interested in information about new products or services (50%) and general company information (46%), the youngest respondents are also interested in promotions and special offers (46%) and commentary from industry experts (also 46%).

The study paints a picture of a dedicated audience that is unique to the platform and carries influence with its peers. Respondents were more than twice as likely to say they trust information from publishers on LinkedIn (51%) as on Twitter (23%) or Facebook (14%), and also more likely to say their personal purchases are influenced by the information published by these sources on LinkedIn (31%) than on Twitter (25%) and Facebook (20%).

One-quarter of respondents claim to seek out product information from their LinkedIn Network for personal purchases, per the study, although that figure isn’t put in context against other social networks. Nevertheless, one-quarter also say their Network is sharing more information about consumer brands than a year earlier, and almost 6 in 10 say that they would be more interested in a product if someone on LinkedIn shared an update about it.

Survey respondents themselves are an attractive audience, says LinkedIn, noting that 86% stick to brands they like and about 8 in 10 are typically willing to pay more for high-quality items. Few respondents cited price (14%) as their most important purchase factor, instead pointing to factors such as quality (28%) and having their needs fulfilled (45%).

The study also touts LinkedIn’s wide – and unique – reach among publishers. For example, it notes that more than three-quarters of LinkedIn users aged 18-44 do not visit NYTimes.com, and an even greater proportion don’t visit other “key business sites” such as Forbes.com, WSJ.com, and Cnet.com. While that does suggest that there’s a unique audience on LinkedIn for B2C publishers, it also seems to work against the notion that young LinkedIn members are avid content consumers.

The study certainly seems to be a content marketing effort on LinkedIn’s behalf aimed at attracting more B2C content marketers. And research from the Content Marketing Institute and MarketingProfs appears to show that LinkedIn does have some catching up to do in the B2C content marketing space. According to studies released late last year, LinkedIn is the social network most widely used by B2B content marketers in North America to distribute content, with 91% doing so. But among B2C content marketers, a relatively smaller 71% use LinkedIn, which places it behind Facebook (89%), Twitter (80%) and YouTube (72%).

About the Data: Survey respondents were equally male and female; all were manager and below in terms of seniority.

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