Bro media is big on Facebook, but so is user-generated video content — just ask 65twenty, the publisher behind male-centric humor sites The Lad Bible and The Sport Bible.
The numbers speak for themselves. Since 2012, The Lad Bible has amassed more than 10 million fans on Facebook, while Sport Bible has 6.9 million fans. That following has translated into a large Facebook viewership for 65twenty, with both of its pages netting “around 750 million” views per month combined on the social network, according The Lad Bible’s marketing director Mimi Turner.
A vast majority of these views are happening on videos not created by Lad Bible or Sport Bible but rather by fans who submit clips in the hopes of being featured on their Facebook pages. For instance, a recent video titled “Bronson isn’t the guard dog we hoped for,” which is a quick 21-second clip of an owner quietly entering his home to find his dog sleeping on the couch, has generated more than 6.5 million views since being uploaded on June 29. On average, videos on The Lad Bible’s Facebook page are averaging 5.6 million views, according to Tubular Labs, a provider of social video marketing data.
“Our community sends in over a 1,000 submissions a day in the hope of getting on The Lad Bible and being heroes in front of their mates, whether it is builders doing pranks on each other, a guy jumping through a wall pretending to be The Incredible Hulk, or Sunday League soccer players showing off their sporting skills — or lack of them,” said Turner.
This is not like most publishers, which focus on making their own “premium” videos. But then again 65twenty isn’t like most publishers. For 65twenty, it’s not about making the glossiest videos possible but publishing content that Lad Bible and Sport Bible fans like and want to see — even if it’s a short clip of a dog sleeping. (Eighty percent of video views are happening on mobile devices, which isn’t surprising; a quick scroll through Lad Bible and Sport Bible’s Facebook pages shows most videos are a mobile-friendly minute or less.)
In other words: It’s community management as a video strategy. “It’s a great strategy to have right now,” said Logan Vild, social marketing manager at digital agency Huge. “The user becomes a brand ambassador because they feel like they’re a part of the community.”
It will remain a key part of Lad Bible and Sport Bible’s future, said Turner: “At the moment we don’t have enough people to properly make use of this resource, but the company is growing quickly and this is an area we are very focused on.” (The company is close to hiring its 50th employee.)
Of course, issues could arise if and when Facebook turns on monetization for all creators and publishers, and not just a select few: One question is whether brands will want to run ads against these fan-supplied clips. Based on previous comments from 65twenty founder Solly Solomou to Digiday, they should and they will.
There’s also the matter of content ownership. When asked if 65twenty acquires the videos it selects from users, or if ownership rights remain with the user, Turner said it varies on a “case-by-case” basis. Once ad revenue comes into play, that might change as some users might want to make money off of their videos. “It will be a tricky slope that they will have to navigate down the road,” said Vild.
While still at an “early stage,” the company is already seeing success with its own content, said Turner. “We have taken a strategic decision to create, acquire, partner and produce video for all platforms,” she said. As a result, the company expects daily video views on TheLadBible.com and TheSportBible.com to hit half a million by the end of the year.