How publishers are monetizing their Facebook groups
When Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg indicated that Facebook Groups were a new priority, publishers dutifully created a bunch of them. To monetize them, they have gotten creative, selling sponsorships to brands, using their members for focus groups and eyeing members as potential subscribers.
Groups are small in size, often reaching just a few thousand people, compared to the reach publishers can get through their Facebook news feed pages. Outside Magazine’s primary Facebook page, for example, has over 761,000 likes, while its largest Facebook group, Outside Beyond Books Club, has 4,800 members. Outside’s Facebook groups collectively have just over 10,000 members.
Groups require persistent tending and attention, not just from junior audience development staffers but from high-level editors and other people who represent the face of a publisher’s brand. Groups also risk being ephemeral, like a lot of things Facebook does.
But groups do give brands a chance to connect directly with people, which has made them an intriguing monetization prospect for publishers.
In April, Outside Magazine will launch a Facebook group it created with an advertiser as part of a multimedia buy, a first for the publisher; Outside declined to share the advertiser’s name ahead of the campaign launch. The group will include a pinned post directing readers to a piece of branded content explaining the brand’s involvement, and the brand will share moderating duties with Outside editorial staffers. The brand also will help draft the group’s welcome messaging, and where appropriate, be allowed to run giveaways in the group.
Sponsorship of Outside’s groups is typically sold as part of larger buys. In addition to sponsorship of the group, an advertiser will get editorial mentions as well as some display advertising across its sites.
“On Facebook, reach is difficult, and some of the problems with it are becoming clear,” said Scott Rosenfield, digital general manager of Outside. “For groups, our pitch has been, ‘This is a great way for you to try something that’s really focused on engagement.'”
Other publishers monetize their groups by tapping group members for market research. Clique Media doesn’t run any groups that are explicitly tied to its core brands, and it doesn’t put links or advertising into the groups, in order “to preserve the ‘safe space’ nature of the environment,” said Michelle Plantan, Clique’s executive director of creative strategy. But the beauty- and wellness-focused publisher surveys its readers about products at the behest of its largest advertisers. Plantan said the moderators tell readers when those discussions will be shared with brands.
Because group members tend to be highly engaged readers, publishers also see groups as a subscription driver as well. The Times of London sees Facebook groups as a place to cultivate subscribers, something it plans to start testing later this year.
With Marquee, Jellysmack looks to turn non-digital natives into a new generation of internet stars
Jellysmack, one of the largest creators of social video on the internet, is trying to use its insights to make real-life celebs more internet-famous.
Member ExclusiveMedia Briefing: Publishers grapple with an existential crisis as they prepare for post-cookie landscape
This week's Media Briefing looks at why some publishers would prefer to completely reset the online ad market amid the third-party cookie's demise rather than repeat the problems the cookie introduced.
Axios schedules its largest in-person event for April (for now)
Axios' first hybrid event of 2022 will be a two-day summit tied to its What's Next newsletter, and it is not allowing brands to buy virtual-only sponsorships.
SponsoredHow the relationship between live events and mobile devices is evolving in 2022
Sponsored by AdColony The pandemic has accelerated changes in the way people consume content — and live events are part of that transformation. For advertisers, the questions are the kind on which campaign success depends: In what ways (and numbers) have people returned to watching sports, e-sports and events such as the Grammys? Are they […]
Member ExclusiveDigiday+ Research: Where publishers see revenue growth in 2022
Publishers with diversified businesses are less optimistic about ads growth than those focused purely on advertising.
Why media unions are demanding to participate in management’s return-to-office planning
Media unions demand management come to the bargaining table over RTO plans and are fighting back against office return mandates and dates.