We streamed our website to Facebook and it drove a ton of traffic.

As we started to plan the Boston Globe’s social media efforts for election night, we gave ourselves three requirements…

  1. Be useful
  2. Be interesting
  3. Drive traffic to Globe.com

We examined the obvious “social” ideas such as a Facebook Live Stream hosted by one of our political reporters, or constantly uploading new graphics to the site with calls to visit Globe.com. These ideas just felt… wrong.

A Facebook Live event with one of our political reporters would just put us in competition with every broadcast network, making us a relatively useless and uninteresting 2nd screen experience. While the idea of dropping new jpegs on Facebook every couple of minutes would not lend itself well to being all that interesting, because they’d become stale as soon as new results rolled in.

So, we took a simple approach, we streamed our website live on Facebook.

Our stream on Facebook. It cost is nothing, totally free using OBS broadcaster.

It allowed us to meet our three goals of being useful, interesting and driving traffic to Globe.com

  • It was useful because it was something you could keep up live on your phone, while listening t0 and doing other things.
  • It was interesting in the sense that we had thousands of people watching and commenting in real time, so as the results changed, the conversation changed along with it. It reminded me of an old school chatroom or modern day slack conversation. It felt like Twitter, but for people without Twitter.
  • It drove traffic to Globe.com, in a big way. Our main worry was that people would just tune into the live stream and not feel the need to visit Globe.com. We found that those who watch the live stream almost consumed it like an appetizer and moved onto Globe.com for the “full meal”
  • Generated 65,000 direct clicks over to our website, a decent percentage of the total traffic that night
  • Had over 580,000 unique live viewers over 3 hours
  • Almost 3,000 people shared it
  • Acted as a hub for conversation with over 8,800 comments

Our most active demographic was people located right here in Massachusetts, the perfect audience to convert to Globe subscribers.

We will probably be trying another effort like this in the future. Perhaps live sports would be a good candidate? I would love to know what you think!



2018 Nieman Fellow @ Harvard. I make things happen on the internet for The Boston Globe & Boston.com

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Matt Karolian

2018 Nieman Fellow @ Harvard. I make things happen on the internet for The Boston Globe & Boston.com