Time Inc. Weaves Brands Into Facebook Live

facebook-live-time-incInStyle fans tuning into Facebook Live earlier this year watched a La Mer expert conduct a skin consultation with an InStyle editor. The editorial video with brand integration became one of the first examples of Time Inc.’s Social Now ad product.

“We are providing very authentic and transparent ways for advertisers to play [with Facebook Live],” said Ben Kaplan, executive director of ad products and operations.

Time Inc. didn’t want to wait for Facebook to come out with its own solution to monetize Live.

“We look around at the industry and see a lot of publishers waiting to see what will be rolled out from a platform perspective,” Kaplan said, “whether it be mid-roll or something else.”

Brands who want to integrate with Time’s Facebook Live experience buy a package from Time Inc. with a guarantee of performance. In the case of La Mer, Time worked the skincare brand into existing coverage planned around tips for a “big night out.”

When the La Mer campaign wrapped, it posted an average view time 170% higher than an organic InStyle video, with 40% more live viewers. Social actions, including comments, shares and likes, were 278% higher than with regular InStyle posts.

Benchmarking performance of Social Now posts against editorial posts is the “natural comparison,” Kaplan said. “We want to treat these executions as high-quality content.”

At the time of the La Mer post, Facebook Live videos couldn’t be tagged with a brand. Time Inc. now tags brands in the posts, consistent with Facebook’s guidelines for branded content, but tagging “doesn’t seem to detract from user response,” Kaplain observed, nor does it impact a post’s reach.

Time can also boost Facebook Live posts, something that wasn’t possible before with Live.

But it does most of the promotion organically. Before the live stream with La Mer, Time Inc. created posts to tease the live event. After, it created short clips to sustain the attention. As Time Inc. continues to do more Facebook Live posts, it’s learning more about the “cadence of pre-promotion, live stream and post-promotion, and the timing between them,” Kaplan said.

The La Mer campaign focused on branding goals, and Kaplan said the format is “fantastic for familiarity and association.” Over time, he sees brands using it for a broader array of marketing goals. “I would love to see us get to a place where we are using it for direct response and it’s a transactional solution.”

Time Inc. expects continued support from Facebook as it brings on more advertising partners to its Social Now ad product. “They want to create the best experience for the user, and if it comes from high-quality publications like us, they are going to encourage that,” Kaplan said.

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