Goal sells Fifa 22 on TikTok livestream: James Lamon shares social commerce tactics
Goal, part of the FootballCo group, became the first sports publisher in the UK to use TikTok’s shopping function. James Lamon, senior vice president of content and creative, explains how the publisher used a two-hour influencer-run livestream to sell copies of Fifa 22 and PlayStation 5.
The football publisher, who already has 1.8 million fans on TikTok across multiple accounts, has taken on Fifa esports launcher and streamer Brandon Smith to showcase his skills at the game – as well as sell it, four PS5 consoles and a bunch of gaming accessories such as charging cables and controllers.
James Lamon, senior vice president of content and creative at Goal, who was previously at BuzzFeed for seven years and rose to the top of content Europe, has long pondered the issue of publisher revenue diversification. BuzzFeed was notoriously keen to experiment with new models of branded and commerce content that buyers and the platforms they use seem to be more suited to. At Goal, he explains that the role of publishers in social commerce is yet to be discovered – but in this case, he’s found a model he’s happy to replicate.
He says, “TikTok provides a seamless payment experience for its users. [thanks to its Shopify partnership], the Maplin business partner provides the stock, and we bring an audience of football fans, especially into the Fifa play space. We have the authenticity to speak to users in a social media entertainment context in a way that a retailer really can’t.
He explains that this formed a triangle between the product, the platform and the publisher. From there, he considers it “great content for our audience with a reward for listening.” The still rare PS5 is expected to draw some of Goal’s audience into the livestream – if not, a Fifa 22 discount should. PS5s will appear for sale whenever streamer Smith hits a milestone in Fifa 22 during the broadcast.
Lamon believes the partnership represents an “interesting exchange of value,” but will closely monitor the results to investigate the feasibility of replicating the electronic communications efforts. If Goal can’t transfer a decent amount of Fifa 22 units (a space they’ve devoted countless editorial resources to for years), what are the odds of other publishers? At this point he is testing the buying function and has not taken on any major responsibility (like buying tons of stock that he has to sell). He will receive a discount on each shared unit, as we have seen in affiliate marketing.
@goalglobal Tune in to the Goal live stream on Thursday from 1pm UK time for FIFA 22 games, PS5 consoles and more – with @Brandon Smith ♬ original sound – Goal
The publisher started working with TikTok in March 2021 to make noise around its 2021 NXGN pricing. This included creating a custom homepage on the platform, but as Lamon explains, it has “Researched new ways to partner with TikTok”.
“We’re always on the lookout for new innovations in social media in general and we want to be the first there and lead the conversation for publishers and football media. It appeared that TikTok had already planned a Fifa 22 streaming launch. This fits the Goal audience perfectly, so the publisher has joined us in spreading the word.
Lamon thinks we’ll see a lot more of these partnerships. It has been at the forefront of social commerce for almost as long as it has been around. “It’s an idea that has been around for a long time, whether it’s ‘bio link’ or influencers giving gifts. But what we are seeing happening in the market for the first time is that Western social platforms are embracing this and creating real functionality that makes the process much more transparent and useful for users.
[How TikTok, Facebook, Snap, Pinterest and Twitch are exploring social commerce]
Goal’s shift to social commerce begins in South Korea, when he opened a fashion boutique in the virtual environment of Fifa 21’s Volta Football mode. He’ll be reviewing this TikTok deal with a half-eye on selling his. own product down the line.
But most importantly for Lamon, Goal is not doing anything he has never done before. He often broadcasts live Fifa broadcasts to his TikTok audience, whether watching or covering matches. This time around, the show is purchasable, with some high-demand items serving to generate more interest.
“It’s something that we know our audience really loves. But good social commerce execution isn’t just about selling a product to the user, it’s about entertaining them. If they buy, so much the better, and if they don’t, they come away feeling like they had great content and [an] social media experience.
Looking ahead, he explains that “there is no known model yet for how media publishers can work with influencers in the social commerce space… but this is an exciting opportunity to try to understand that ”.
Expect investment if this test works. Below is what the storefront looks like in the TikTok app.