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 got 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 4,847 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.