The latest in audience development: Publishers are collaborating on Facebook Live videos in the hopes of getting more people to watch the content.

Last week, The Daily Mail teamed up with Epicurious on National Martini Day to show viewers how to make the perfect martini. The video was live on Daily Mail’s Facebook page with Epicurious tagged in the description. Epicurious also shared the video on its Facebook page. Also last week: The Daily Beast partnered with Food52 to show viewers how to make different Father’s Day-themed cocktails. In this instance, two different cameras were set up and both The Daily Beast and Food52 went live, tagging each other in the description.

It’s the second time Epicurious has done a collaboration live video on Facebook. In April, the publishers partnered with sister brands GQ and Condé Nast Traveler for National Beer Day, with Epicurious and Traveler putting up simultaneous live streams of an office beer tasting. (It was the first time The Daily Beast, which started experimenting with Facebook live video in March, has done a Facebook Live collaboration.)

The idea is fairly simple: the collaborating publications get exposure to new audiences since they’re not direct competitors.

“There is no downside to it,” said Eric Gillin, executive director of Epicurious.com. “Everyone gets more exposure than they would have gotten on their own, and the content gets interesting because of the cross-pollination that happens [with another publisher’s creative team].”

In partnering with The Daily Mail, Epicurious was able to pick up on how the publisher approaches Facebook Live. For instance, The Daily Mail uses a lighting rig and their camera-person doesn’t talk, whereas Epicurious doesn’t and sometimes gets the shooter involved in the action.

“Just watching how someone else does this new thing in and of itself is interesting and can be helpful,” said Gillin.

While new to the world of Facebook Live, collaborations have long been a go-to social media trick for audience development. Before live video became Facebook’s favorite feature, digital publishers like The Daily Dot, Mic and Bustle were striking partnerships to share each other’s articles on their respective Facebook pages. By doing this so-called social syndication, these publishers quickly widened the number of people who might read their articles.

Collaborating on original video is also a strategy that’s long been endorsed by the YouTube community, where video-makers regularly partner with like-minded YouTube channels on content.

“Collaborations give you content that you can post on multiple channels and help drive up views,” said Brian Selander, evp of Whistle Sports. “Because as good as YouTube’s recommendation engine is, nothing is as powerful as someone you trust and follow saying that they trust and enjoy this person or group and you will too.”

For now, Facebook Live collaborations are in the early stages. The videos by The Daily Mail/Epicurious has 30,000 views, while the two Daily Beast/Food52 videos have a combined 21,000 views. In comparison, most Daily Mail live videos get between 20,000 and 60,000 views; Food52’s range between 10,000 and 25,000 views; and The Daily Beast’s hover around 10,000 views.

In other words: these are no exploding watermelons. But as publishers continue to invest time and resources toward Facebook Live, anything that has the potential to get people to watch is going to be fair game.

“By the very nature of sharing into different audiences, collaboration videos will do better,” said Colin Jones, director of social at The Daily Beast.

  • LinkedIn Icon