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Facebook Launches Online Paid Events

Facebook Now Offers End-to-end Online Events Solutions 

Facebook has announced a significant upgrade for online events, with the introduction of social payments within Facebook.

Now Page owners can create an online event, set a price, promote the event, collect payment and host the event, all within Facebook.

As if Eventbrite needed more lousy news

Events have long been a feature within Facebook, although until recent times they were somewhat marginal.

However, since 2017/18 with Facebook shifting to favour more “meaningful social interaction” on platform, Events, alongside Groups, have been brought in from the cold to become core features.

During the 2019 Facebook F8 developer conference, Mark Zuckerberg outlined the product roadmap for both, with the latest Facebook redesign FB5 seeing Groups and Events playing a more prominent role.

Facebook Events’ 2020 Pivot

Naturally, the product roadmap for Events didn’t factor in a pandemic, however.

Therefore, since the start of this year, Facebook has been iterating on the Events offering to make it COVID-proof.

Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, April 2020

Livestreaming has become the primary venue for many events, whether that’s the Pope’s weekly mass on Facebook Live or DJs hosting dance parties on Instagram.

Every day more than 800 million daily actives are engaging with live streams, across workout classes, concerts and more.

We pivoted the Facebook events team to help people create online events including enabling people and small businesses to charge people who have joined their events in order to support small businesses that rely on in-person services before.”

The timing for this update couldn’t be better, with Facebook witnessing 100% growth for live broadcasts in June year on year, primarily attributed to broadcasts since March.

Pages can host events on Facebook Live to reach broad audiences, and Facebook is in the process of testing paid events with Messenger Rooms for more personal and interactive gatherings.

The use case for Facebook’s online events is highly varied, yet not everyone will be able to utilise the new paid features.

Fidji Simo Vice President, Head of Facebook App

“In testing, we’ve seen businesses use Facebook to host expert talks, trivia events, podcast recordings, boxing matches, cooking classes, intimate meet-and-greets, fitness classes and more.

Now, Pages in 20 countries around the world that meet our partner monetisation policies can start charging for online events, making it easier for millions of people and small businesses to make money on Facebook.”

One slight sticking point for online paid Events is Apple.

Apple Doing Apple Things: Breaking SMB Hearts

As per Apple’s terms of service, Apple charges a 30% App Store tax for any online payments made via the App Store.

Therefore, event organisers, small businesses and influencers utilising Facebook’s online event payments will have to share 30% of their door with the $2 trillion technology giant.

How good’s a dominent market position?

Meanwhile, the $1.5 trillion sweethearts over in Mountain View seem more open to playing ball via Google Android.

Fidji Simo Vice President, Head of Facebook App

“To support small businesses and creators, Facebook will not collect any fees from paid online events for at least the next year.

For transactions on the web, and on Android in countries where we have rolled out Facebook Pay, small businesses will keep 100% of the revenue they generate from paid online events.

We asked Apple to reduce its 30% App Store tax or allow us to offer Facebook Pay so we could absorb all costs for businesses struggling during COVID-19. Unfortunately, they dismissed both our requests and SMBs will only be paid 70% of their hard-earned revenue.”

Nonetheless, to set up paid online events, your Page and content will need to comply with:

Your Page must also be in a region where paid online events are available.

To check your Page’s eligibility for monetisation, go to Creator Studio > Monetisation and click the View Page Eligibility button in the Status widget at the top of the page.

Facebook’s latest move into the event space is very much in keeping with:

  1. Attempts to incubate revenue streams outside of advertising, as per Facebook Shopping also
  2. Moves to generate more on-platform intent signals for ad targeting, given the longer-term thumbs-down for using off-platform signals, such as remarketing

On this basis, Events, which now joins Shopping, is unlikely to be the last commercial aspect we see introduced into the Facebook ecosystem in 2020.

Viva la social commerce!

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