When Facebook introduced live video a year ago we knew that TV-like branded content was sure to follow. In the subsequent months, Facebook opened up the branded content API and analytics to companies like Delmondo, enabling publishers to monetize these highly captive audiences unlike ever before.
Brand sponsorship or co-creation of live programming isn’t exactly new—advertisers have been funding content for years—but we believe that sponsored Facebook live streams offer marketers and media companies a unique opportunity to come together and create engaging video content that can serve many purposes.
For advertisers, partnering with a publisher to create a Facebook Live stream offers a lot of very clear benefits they couldn’t get by simply running a Facebook Live stream on their own account:
- The brand becomes the star of highly custom co-created live content, with the co-sign of a trusted media brand the audience actually wants to hear from.
- Thanks to the branded video tag, the sponsoring brand is not only able to reach a desirable, niche consumer in an engaging live stream, but they can also use the data from the video and publishing partner to amplify that content to an even more targeted audiences during and after the broadcast.
- Sponsoring brands can glean highly specific and detailed publisher audience data around live viewers and replay viewers, providing invaluable insights insights for future marketing on Facebook.
While brands are generally excited to partner with media companies on co-branded live streams, many publishers still struggle to internally price, package and otherwise make sense of selling Live Video, and to turn around and sell that value to their advertisers.
Fortunately, I have faith. We are starting to see many publishers discover the benefits—beyond simply increased revenue opportunities—that can come from making a greater effort to sell branded live video.
As a Facebook Media Solutions partner, while Delmondo has been measuring sponsored live video executions with our live analytics dashboard and creating recap reports for our clients, we have found that there are even more hidden benefits in selling live than publishers may have originally thought:
- Sponsored Live Streams provide additional revenue to the media company while giving them the opportunity to test new creative formats and experimental ideas
- On average, we see a significant uptick in new followers on a publisher’s Facebook page after a live stream, meaning Sponsored Live Streams also create audience growth opportunities for publishers who sell them
- Sponsored Live Streams do double duty. They can be used as a bargaining chip inside of a rate card to secure larger, more custom cross-platform advertising deals, but they can also serve as a lightweight entry-level native ad product as a pilot or proof of concept to bring in new advertisers.
“Publishers have done a great job of using branded content to monetize their owned properties, so it’s a natural extension that they begin to use tools like Facebook live to monetize their collected audience on other platforms,” said Melanie Deziel, branded content consultant and founder of The Overlap League native ad newsletter. “Live video presents its own challenges for brands, as they have to be willing to trust the publisher to make on-the-spot decisions but it comes with the fantastic opportunity to engage with a publishers audience in a more dynamic and realtime way.”
So who’s doing the best Sponsored Facebook Live streams? We picked a few of our favorite examples to give you a better idea of the types of creative executions that brands and publishers are creating together:
Bravo TV and Lay’s – “Top Chef Quickfire Live”
What Was Live: Leading up to the series finale of Top Chef, Bravo teamed up with Lay’s to create Top Chef’s first ever Live Quickfire Challenge. Viewers were able to participate by voting on ingredients as part of Lay’s “Do Us a Flavor” campaign. The stream featured two contestants facing off for a $10,000 prize.
How Was the Brand Integrated: Lay’s chips lined the background of the set. Lay’s logo was beside the countdown clock.
BuzzFeed Animals and Subaru – “Make a Dog’s Day”
What Was Live: Japanese automaker Subaru sponsored an hour long Facebook live stream on October 21st entitled ‘Make a Dog’s Day.’ The stream featured happy puppies doing everything that makes dogs happy of course, which is generally just hanging out being cute on overload.
How Was the Brand Integrated: Pop up slides describing what puppy event was up next featured the Subaru logo and the live video included a link to a dedicated landing page on Subaru.com (pro tip: include some landing page in your sponsored live social activation and you can track conversions from the live video back to your web environment, it also helps to build your remarketing audience of folks who tuned into your live stream to later serve ads to).
USA Today’s For The Win and Chase’s United MileagePlus Cards – “Morning Win”
What Was Live: USA Today’s popular sports brand, For the Win, recently hosted a March Madness themed Facebook Live show sponsored by Chase’s United MileagePlus Cards.
How Was the Brand Integrated: the sponsor’s logo was on display whenever the stream used lower third titles.
ESPN and Acura – “Acura Bracket Performance”
What Was Live: Jay Williams and Seth Greenberg discuss March Madness, in partnership with Acura, at the ESPN headquarters.
How Was the Brand Integrated: repeated mentioning of “Acura Bracket Performance” and Acura graphics in the upper-right corner.
CNBC and HP – “AOL Founder Steve Case Live @ SXSW”
3-second Views: 1.1m
What Was Live: Hewlett Packard Enterprise recently sponsored a CNBC interview with AOL co-founder Steve Case from SXSW featuring CNBC’s top tech personality Julia Boorstin.
How Was the Brand Integrated: Upper right corner layover that read “Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise”
ABC 7 and Aquafina – “Oscars Red Carpet Recap”
What Was Live: Think sponsored live is only for the big boys? Nope, local news can do this too! See Los Angeles’ ABC7 who hosted an Aquafina sponsored Academy Awards after show on Facebook Live. Their 5-person panel discussed the 89th Academy Awards winners, trends and more.
How Was the Brand Integrated: Aquafina’s logo was the focal point of a 3-minute slate leading into the actual live feed. Aquafina products were featured on the desks in front of the hosts as well as on the video boards in the background.
Bleacher Report and Buick – “NCAA Tourney Talk”
What Was Live: Buick recently sponsored Bleacher Report’s Tourney Talk on Facebook Live. Tourney Talk is BR’s comprehensive rundown of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.
How Was the Brand Integrated: Buick’s logo was a constant fixture on the background of the sleek, modern set. Their logo was featured in the transition graphics as well.