Publisher trend inception: Facebook Live meets commerce strategies
Lifestyle publishers Brit + Co and Mindbodygreen see an opportunity in using Facebook Live to mesh with their commerce businesses.
Last month, Brit + Co pushed out a 30-minute Facebook Live video starring expert handletterrer Brittany Luiz, who took requests from commenters for artsy signs of what people were thankful for. Viewership was modest, with 17,000 views and more than 380 comments. The video was an experiment for Brit + Co to see if it could use Facebook Live to drive registrations for its online class on bounce lettering.
“What if we turned this learning experience into a piece of content that can spread more broadly to the Facebook audience?” said Cecelia Cox, vp of marketing for Brit + Co. “The audience could see the skill they would learn in the class, which could be very valuable in driving people to register.”
Brit + Co said the live broadcast drove 180 pre-registrations (where viewers submit their emails to be notified when a class is available for purchase). That was four times the average number of pre-registrations Brit + Co sees for its online classes in a similar time period. Overall, Brit + Co has more than 31,000 people enrolled in 74 courses, with class-based revenue growing 350 percent year-over-year.
In 2017, the lifestyle publisher plans to grow that by doing more Facebook Live promotional broadcasts — for roughly half of the two to four new classes it opens up every month.
“We are always looking for ways to bring our media and commerce businesses closer together into a single experience for our audience,” said Cox. “This is a great way to do that. Pretty simply, for someone to get excited about a new class or skill, they first need to understand what that skill is.”
Brit + Co is not the only lifestyle publisher experimenting with Facebook Live to drive off-platform sales. Health and wellness media company Mindbodygreen, which sells 75 video-based courses for everything from yoga to meditation, has been experimenting with Facebook Live for the past nine months. Similar to Brit + Co’s experiment, Mindbodygreen sets up hosted Facebook Live sessions with instructors, during which viewers can see some of the things they’ll learn during the course and asks questions directly.
This is hardly a business maker. Email remains the biggest driver of conversions for Mindbodygreen’s video courses, and Mindbodygreen CEO Jason Wachob describes conversions as “decent — enough for it to be something we pay more attention to in 2017.”
Class-based revenue now accounts for 20 percent of Mindbodygreen’s annual business, growing by 70 percent year-over-year.
“Any time you’re over-dependent on a single source of revenue, that source owns you,” said Wachob. “It’s a fine line in this age of platforms, which you have to embrace and be on while also ensuring that you have a strong brand presence there.”
“This solves the pain point of how we can monetize [Facebook Live] — it checks that box,” Wachob added. “There’s a difference between investing in something you think you can monetize versus something you’re hoping someday someone else will let you monetize — [the latter is] a gamble we’re not willing to make.”
‘We’re all making it up as we go along’: Dazed CEO Jefferson Hack on what comes next for media
Anyone sitting back seeing how it plays out is part of the problem rather than the solution. I only want to work with people who are part of the solution.
Member ExclusiveFountain of youth: Meet 7 young founders transforming media
Media isn’t for the faint of heart, especially these days. But don’t tell that to these seven young founders.
‘Opening the paywall is not an option’: Schibsted sees subscriptions mini-boom
The Nordic publisher sold twice as many subscriptions the past two weeks compared to the period's previous two weeks.
SponsoredAs cookies vanish, publishers are using new authentication strategies
Up to 40 percent of browser inventory is already cookieless, giving publishers, marketers and their technology partners an opportunity to build a new and better digital ecosystem.
‘Everyone feels the pain’: Major digital publishers enact pay and benefits cuts to stanch the bleeding
Several publishers have begun announcing their pay cuts and furlough plans as ad revenue continues drying up. Seeing patterns from previous recessions, former media execs explain why these cost controls are only temporary fixes.
Complex’s Rich Antoniello’s recipe for media in crisis: ‘Brand plus brains plus balance sheet’
For publishing companies to survive a global crisis like the one we're in, Rich Antoniello's formula is 'brand, plus brains, plus balance sheet." He would know, having stewarded Complex through the 2008 financial crisis as CEO, the role he still holds now. But compared to that, the downturn brought about by the coronavirus pandemic is "infinitely more difficult," Antoniello said on the Digiday Podcast.