Whatnot Launches Ads With Boosted Livestreams

Liz Morton
Liz Morton


Whatnot has launched their first seller paid advertising product with Boosted Livestreams.

Sellers will be able to bid on ad auctions, with the winner's livestream getting a featured top spot in their category feed for 15 minute increments.

Building Whatnot’s First Ads Product — Boosted Livestreams
To help sellers increase visibility and amplify special moments, we developed boosted livestreams.

With boosted livestreams, a seller may purchase position one within their specific category feed in 15-minute increments. This allows sellers to drive a higher-than-usual amount of traffic to their shows. This is especially useful when a seller is trying to grow their audience using tools like giveaways or auctioning one-of-a-kind or high-value products. Sellers can simply open up a screen in the app while streaming and decide to boost their show — it is that easy!

After a show is completed, a seller can see their overall success metrics in our Seller Analytics Dashboard, including key metrics like spend, impressions, and click-throughs.

How does a Boosted Livestream work? Whatnot gave the following example:

To illustrate, we’ll use an example from a fictional seller, Rayna (Seller), who let’s say recently had a Monday Madness Singles show where they created a boosted livestream.

The process looks like:

  • Rayna (Seller) opens up the promote screen while performing a livestream, telling us how much they wanted to promote their show.
  • We show other sellers currently bidding in their category and suggest a price range that changes dynamically based on how much other sellers are bidding.
  • Once Rayna (Seller) enters their offer they will participate in an auction in our Ads services
  • Rayna (Seller) will receive a notification mid-stream to be alerted that they won the auction
  • When buyers such as Jessie (Buyer) navigate to the basketball cards category, they’ll see Rayna (Seller)’s show in position one. In this case, Jessie (Buyer) has never seen a show from Rayna (Seller) because the basketball cards category typically has hundreds of livestreams. Jessie (Buyer) joins because they are curious about what Rayna (Seller) is selling. Of course, Jessie (Buyer) buys some rare basketball card singles!
  • After Rayna (Seller) finishes their livestream they jump into their analytics dashboard where they can see exactly how many sales and followers they received because of their boost.

Competing against other sellers in an ad auction at the same time you are trying to run your own livestream sales seems like a lot to juggle all at once. It will be interesting to see seller feedback and adoption rates as this new ad product rolls out.

Whatnot says the tool can be particularly effective when timed to bring more viewers into the livestream for special or high-value items and touts a ~30% ROI for sellers using Boost.

And their not stopping there - Whatnot also says they have plans to expand into other areas of advertising as well.

Boosted livestream has helped sellers build stronger and deeper connections with their buyer community by improving their discoverability. We will be expanding to include impression-based ad products whereby every request from the client will enter an auction process.

We’re also building out a more complete ad stack including foundational components, and ad quality services, which will leverage the latest artificial intelligence techniques and system architectures to serve real-time relevant ads to our buyers.

If you sell on Whatnot and have tried using Boosted Livestream ads, we'd love to hear about your experience in the comments below!


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Liz Morton is a seasoned ecommerce pro with 17 years of online marketplace sales experience, providing commentary, analysis & news about eBay, Etsy, Amazon, Shopify & more at Value Added Resource!

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