A recent cohort hosted by Metrics for News – Reaching New Audiences – brought together publishers from around the world to look at data-driven strategies to reach new audiences. Below is the result of a successful experiment by Automotive News to use LinkedIn’s live feature to reach a new professional readership.
Automotive News is a Michigan-based business publisher looking to broaden its audience beyond its core readership of auto dealers and people who work for automakers and suppliers. To do this, Automotive News is turning its focus to LinkedIn, the only social platform that offers professional demographic information. Automotive News began experimenting with LinkedIn Live late last year in an effort to connect with the broader personal transportation communities.
Audience Development Insight: LinkedIn offers professional demographic information not available through other social platforms. Visitor demographics can be viewed by job function, location, seniority, and industry.
Automotive News was founded in Detroit in 1925 as a newspaper and still publishes a weekly print edition. Like many business publishers, its audience skews older and the publication is actively working to attract younger readers. Its coverage mandate has evolved as automotive technology has evolved but its audience hasn’t evolved as quickly.
Automotive News set out to do a series of LinkedIn Live video chats with a goal of reaching more readers in automotive adjacent industries.
“We thought live discussions would be a good way to engage with these people we are trying to reach and display our expertise.” — Terry Kodrosky, Audience Engagement and Social Media Editor, Automotive News
Automotive News hosted two 30-minute live video chats on December 15, 2021 and January 7, 2022. Each was designed as a moderated discussion with Automotive News staff members taking audience questions live.
The first event dug into supply chain challenges in the electric vehicle market while the second LinkedIn event covered the biggest reveals and developments from the Consumer Electronics Show.
The first event was a supplement to a series of enterprise stories. The Elements of Electrification series focuses on the entirely new supply chain required for manufacturing electric vehicles. The second was an extension to Automotive News’s existing coverage of the Consumer Electronics Show, which tends to have a heavy automotive industry presence.
Reporters who participated in the live conversation responded to unanswered questions in the chat afterward, but the videos themselves were 30–minutes long, limiting the amount of time a reporter would need to carve out to participate. Meanwhile, participating offered an avenue for sourcing and reflecting the kind of expertise inherent to good beat reporting. And because journalists are subject matter experts, prep work isn’t a heavy lift.
Each discussion was promoted aggressively on LinkedIn and other social platforms and on the Automotive News website. As the live event started, Automotive News sent out email alerts and mobile/desktop alerts with links to the LinkedIn Live event to tell its readers the live discussion was starting. Reporters later went into the comments to answer questions they weren’t able to address during the live video conversation.
“Our followers seemed to really enjoy that. They came away having an experience with us and saw firsthand the expertise of our staff.” — Terry Kodrosky
- Automotive News’ December 15 LinkedIn Live event drew 1,900 live views and another 3,000 views on-demand after the live broadcast. Eighty people attended the live event, which generated a total of 116 comments and 70 reactions.
- The January 7 LinkedIn Live event drew 1,700 live viewers and 2,300 views on-demand after the live broadcast. Just over 100 people attended the event, which generated 83 comments and 64 reactions.
- Visits to the Automotive News LinkedIn page and follower growth hit three-month peaks in line with the broadcasts.
- Before its LinkedIn Live experiments, Automotive News had about 528,000 followers on LinkedIn. Today, Automotive News has 541,000 followers, and growing, on LinkedIn.
- A LinkedIn traffic score captured by Automotive News’ Metrics for News dashboard from December through the end of February was up 23% from the previous three months. Traffic from LinkedIn spiked in line with each event. Metrics for News allows each publisher to create custom blended engagement scores made up of many metrics key to measuring audience engagement from particular groups.
Metrics for News Insight: The Audiences dashboard segments newsroom audiences into smaller communities to help newsrooms better understand who is engaging with content and where they’re coming from. Automotive News has created separate segments to track traffic from specific social platforms —LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook — in addition tracking Social as a broader audience category.
Automotive News is continuing LinkedIn Live chats once a month. It’s also creating weekly LinkedIn polls. On March 1, it held a discussion to guide readers interested in applying for its PACE Award program. Bosch won the award, which honors superior innovation, technological advancement and business performance among auto suppliers, in 2021.
Audience Development Tip: To try your own LinkedIn Live experiment you’ll need to first apply for your brand to become a certified LinkedIn broadcast partner. If you’re a news brand with at least 2,000 followers, you should be optimistic about your approval prospects.
Metrics for News Tip: To build your LinkedIn audience look for content that isn’t working as well with your readers to identify levers you can pull to leverage your content for stronger growth on the platform. Can you bring topics from yellow (average engagement) into the green (above average engagement)?
Resources & Tools to Try This Out
Automotive News is among the many publishers using StreamYard to broadcast live to social platforms. StreamYard does offer a free version, but a $20 Basic subscription is required to add brand logos and overlays.
Streamyard is one of five of LinkedIn’s preferred streaming partners. The others are Restream, sociallive, Switcher Studio and Vimeo.
From LinkedIn: Getting started with LinkedIn Live
From LinkedIn: Best practices for LinkedIn Live
From LinkedIn: A producer’s guide to LinkedIn Live
— This case study was written by Meena Thiruvengadam, one of the lead trainers of the Reaching New Audiences Cohort.