Informed social media managers will be aware that New York startup BuzzFeed announced a record profit back in August. And the trend appears to be continuing – the company has recently forecast revenues of around $120m for 2014, double the figure for 2013.3
Even the most battle-hardened social media managers would concede that under the stewardship of its founder and CEO, Jonah Peretti (the same Jonah Peretti who co-founded the Huff Post), BuzzFeed’s progress has been impressive.
An advertising magnet?
The projection for 2014 is reportedly dependent on the number of advertising deals the startup manages to secure during the year; but in August, a NewsWhip study revealed that the vanguard online publisher had accrued 15.9 million likes, shares and comments on Facebook alone in a single month. Advertisers won’t need much persuading that BuzzFeed is a pretty safe bet for reaching audiences. Big names like Toyota Motor Corp and GEC are already on board.
Publishing appealing and engaging news content, quizzes and lists online that are designed for sharing on social media, BuzzFeed has fast become one of New York’s hottest social media startups. People just love sharing its content – and with lists like “The 29 Most Important Twerking Moments Of 2013”, who wouldn’t?
It attracted over 130 million unique visitors in November – the startup’s biggest ever traffic volume for a single month (more than it attracted in its first four years in fact). Ok, this was helped by an alteration in Facebook’s algorithm which now highlights more BuzzFeed stories in user news, but it’s also a sign of the startup’s rising success.
Peretti has taken a highly intelligent approach to native advertising, eschewing banner ads (unlike most traditional news sites) in favor of sponsored versions of its content designed for advertisers, like the recently added GIF feed which promotes Google+ Photos or features that promote the state lottery’s seasonal holiday scratch-off games (most recently, winter attractions in New York).
Pretty much all social media managers would agree that Peretti’s primary aim for BuzzFeed – that it functions as an engine for viral content – has been admirably realized. The earlier use of algorithms to choose stories has given way to a human editorial team as the company has grown (it now employs 300 people) and it’s branched out to include video as well as text content.