Beacons debuts a ‘link in bio’ mobile website builder that helps creators make money not just list links
Many website builders are available nowadays for artists who wish to direct people to a specific landing page from their social media presence. You’ve probably seen one of these condensed “link in bio”-style websites, like ones run by Linktree, if you’ve spent any time on TikTok or Instagram. Beacons, a brand-new firm, is currently competing in this industry with the aim of enhancing the effectiveness of “link in bio” websites. With the help of its website builder, artists may monetize their communities in a variety of ways, such as via contributions, sales, sponsored requests, affiliate marketing, and more.
Beacons leads the user through a number of questions once they sign up for the service, many of which may be answered with a simple “yes” or “no.” For instance, Beacons may question the user if they want to take contributions or gather email addresses from followers, whether they produce movies for TikTok or YouTube, and which category their material falls under.
Using this data, their Beacons landing page is configured with the appropriate content “blocks,” as Beacons likes to term its content sections. Around a dozen of these programmable blocks are available in Beacons’ initial offering, including email and SMS collection modules, video embed blocks for TikTok or YouTube creators, music embed blocks for embedding a track or album, a Twitter embed block for embedding a tweet or Twitter profile, and link blocks akin to Linktree.
Even a “friends” section exists, which resembles the Myspace Top 8 of the present. You may use this to connect with your pals on Beacons, Instagram, Twitter, or TikTok.
Beacons, however, sets itself apart from other “link in bio” website builders with its collection of “monetization” elements. For creators who wish to monetize their internet presence, it now offers four methods. One of them is comparable to Cameo in that it enables the maker to build up a menu of choices for taking fan requests for customized material. For instance, followers may pay for a fitness influencer to provide their workout advice or to answer their most pressing queries. Then, the author may either publicly or privately respond to each individual.
Creators may take contributions or make money by selling digital downloads, such as e-books or premium video content, using other monetization restrictions.
TikTok retail is the fourth and maybe most intriguing monetization block. On their Beacons website, producers may embed TikTok videos in which they provide product recommendations. From this point, they may add affiliate links to the products in question, enabling them to profit immediately when customers buy the goods they’ve highlighted.
This specific feature comes at a good moment. TikTok is still just starting to formalise its e-commerce strategies. TikTok recently talked about its ambitions to provide new online purchasing options that would enable businesses to more directly contact TikTok’s younger audience during a presentation to advertisers. Additionally, TikTok has collaborated with Shopify on social commerce and has tried live video shopping, notably at a Walmart-hosted Christmas event.
However, TikTok’s creators have already been responsible for influencing shopping trends in a variety of industries, including fashion, beauty, home decor, household goods, toys, and much more. As a result, the phrase “TikTok made me buy it” is now frequently used to justify impulsive purchases brought on by the app’s viral content. The natural next step is to enable artists to more directly and financially benefit from these trends.
Neal Jean, Jesse Zhang, Greg Luppescu, and David Zeng are the co-founders of Beacons. Neal, Jesse, and David met while enrolled in Stanford’s PhD programme and doing research in various fields, such as machine learning and artificial intelligence. Greg, on the other hand, completed his Master’s degree at Stanford before joining the Apple Watch team.
Beacons was created by Neal, Jesse, and David. The team iterated on concepts and changed the product numerous times when they participated in the Y Combinator Summer 2019 class. Some of those early ideas could come back in the future, such as a Shopify connection that would link artists with companies who sell on Shopify.
But, according to Neal, the main objective has always been to support the financial success of artists.
We were particularly focused on trying to assist artists address monetization even before our present platform, he says. “We considered creating features that can assist artists actually make cash when we sort of did this mini-pivot into the more Linktree-like product, which I don’t believe Linktree or any of the other incumbents in the sector were doing. Even now, Linktree doesn’t truly allow you to generate any money, the author observes.
Of all, Linktree is only one of the several “link in bio” websites available today, so Beacons still has a lot of competition. Some more competitors include bio.fm, url.bio, link.bio, shorby, tap.bio, and feedlink.io, link in profile, milkshake, campsite, and biolincs.me.
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In contrast to some of its rivals, Beacons provides its tools without charge and instead makes money via a premium ($10/mo) plan that enables authors to utilise their own unique domain. Additionally, it generates revenue by keeping a cut of sales from requests and sales blocks, which is 9% on the free plan and 5% on the subscription plan. Only “hundreds” of dollars are now generated through this rev share, but the team is certain that this will increase as the business expands and attracts a sizable user base.
According to Neal, “Our objective is to keep expanding more of these various income sources for artists.” And when we accomplish that, I believe that the proportion of transactional income will increase in comparison to the revenue from subscriptions.
Beacons saw 90,000 sign-ups since its private beta debut in September of last year, and it currently has over 20,000 users that are deemed active. The majority of these users joined the service in the last few months as the service started to roll out some of its more recent features. Around 77% of new users come to Beacons because they noticed it on someone else’s profile, therefore Beacons hasn’t yet engaged in any paid advertising.
A tiny post-YC angel round of around $600,000 was obtained by the team, but they want to continue fundraising.