At this point, I should probably stop calling Livefyre a commenting platform.
Actually, the company has been expanding beyond comments for a while. It launched its StreamHub product, which included more social media widgets, back in 2012. And it acquired social media curation startup Storify last year.
But the company is taking another big step in this direction with the relaunch of its core platform, which it’s now calling Livefyre Studio. The idea, basically, is to allow online publishers (whether they’re news organizations or brand marketers) to gather user generated content from anywhere online, and then to republish it anywhere in turn.
In some ways, it’s similar to what Storify already does, but it sounds like the aim here is to provide that kind of social media curation on a bigger scale, with more automation, and often for more marketing-centric uses. (This could also turn Livefyre into more of a competitor for startups like Chute and Percolate.)
In a quick demo, founder and CEO Jordan Kretchmer showed me how a customer could search for different types of content on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and across the web; hand-select the content or set up rules for automated gathering and filtering; then publish it to a customized media wall on their own site, their mobile apps, or in an ad. (The search part, by the way, is powered by Storify — Kretchmer said it’s the first integration of Storify into the main Livefyre platform.)
Livefyre Studio also includes the ability to ask users for the rights to their content, and analytics capabilities to see how these campaigns are actually performing.
The company has actually been testing the platform for months, Kretchmer said, and it went live for all customers last week. For example, it was used to create Sony’s “Greatness Awaits” page highlighting content from the PlayStation 4 community, as well as Unilever’s sustainability initiative Project Sunlight.
It can be useful for news organizations, too — Fox News took advantage of the ability to include this content in custom apps, creating an election map highlighting related tweets and Instagram photos.
But judging from our conversation, as well as Kretchmer’s blog post announcing Livefyre Studio (which does mention comments, if only very briefly), the emphasis seems to be pretty clearly on the marketing side. In fact, Kretchmer told me that in the past year brands have grown from to 0 to 30 percent of Livefyre’s revenue.
And he argued that all the user generated content posted on social media presents a big opportunity for companies to connect with consumers, both on their own sites and elsewhere, but “brands don’t have internal resources for managing this stuff.”
“We have to make it as easy as humanly possible to let brands access all of these great applications,” he added.