Car Throttle, the community site for petrol heads, makes 80 percent of its revenue from branded content, up from 60 percent last year. Increasingly, these brands are asking for more live video.
“Now almost 100 percent of our content-creation campaigns include using this medium to communicate with consumers, with very little questioning of its worth to brands,” said Adnan Ebrahim, founder and CEO of the car enthusiast platform, which has run campaigns for Shell, Ford and Michelin.
“Companies want to create campaigns around specific events or launches. Live video is instantaneous; it has that immediacy,” added Ebrahim. A campaign by drag-race venue Santa Pod, for instance, was promoting an event at the venue. Car Throttle ran lo-fi teasers on Snapchat, plus a high-spec YouTube video after the event. The publisher charges up to six figures for these packages, and Ebrahim claims that brand funded campaigns perform as well as straight editorially led content, although it offers no performance guarantees to brands.
Snapchat has been part of Car Throttle’s arsenal for two years. Daily snaps of behind-the-scenes features, car launches, expert opinions and events or rallies, can hit 40,000 views a day, across, on average, 30 snaps. With Snapchat, the purpose is to give fans access to what’s going on in the car world 24 hours of the day, said Ebrahim. It has five people with access to the Snapchat account coordinating on Slack from wherever they are in the world, each contributing snaps.
“Cars are an audio-visual experience,” he added. “When we review a car on Snapchat, we always show the ignition sequence, revving the engine, and enough pretty pictures of cars, like one with one hundred speakers. We want interactions, and people love screenshotting images.” Car Throttle’s fans take up to 5,000 screenshots daily. It also plays with emojis and adds interactions, like asking viewers to click to hear the engine rev.
With the launch of Snapchat Memories, which lets people store photos and videos, branded content has a longer shelf life, and so Car Throttle can charge more. “It’s another point of monetization; that’s what brands and publishers are always looking for,” he said.
On Facebook Live, over the last four months Car Throttle has published around 13 live videos, around 20 minutes in length, covering similar content areas of events and, additionally, reviews. One live stream paid for by a brand, drag-race track Santa Pod, has had up to 26,000 peak viewers and 90,000 views. Others are more likely to get around 8,000 peak viewers, according to Ebrahim. By way of labeling, a presenter either announces at the beginning of the ad who the video is sponsored by, or displays it in the information.
Recently, it ran a live review video of the BMW i8 with Rory Reid, co-presenter of Top Gear, which has had 120,000 views. News organizations get much lower numbers, around the 50,000 mark, but for other specialist publishers, like Bauer-owned Motorcycle News, this goes up to around 150,000 for access to the expert and exclusive content.
Across Car Throttle’s 20 Facebook pages, staffed by three team members, it has around 5 million followers. With this following, there still a big opportunity for Car Throttle, and brands, to reach more viewers.
“Facebook Live leans into the ‘moment marketing’ trend of harnessing and exploiting the right message to the right eyeballs at the right moment, in the right mindset,” points out Darryl Newton, managing director of Factory Media. “The ingredients of successful viral content in the male space often include adrenaline, wit and awe fused together. And the thrill of revving a powerful engine and its latent force combined with the will-they-won’t-they, anything-could-happen hit of live broadcast is a grabbing combination.”
As its ambitions grow, Car Throttle is working to hire dedicated staff for Snapchat and Facebook Live, in part to keep up with responding to commenters, a logistical problem for all publishers, particularly when broadcasting from live events, where it gets up to 10 snaps sent to its account each minute.
Images: Courtesy of Car Throttle via Facebook.