Whether it’s “19 Photos of Dogs Being Adorable During The Blizzard” or “12 Love Scenes Improved By a Chipotle Burrito,” BuzzFeed’s catchy titles are bound to catch your eye. On an average day on Facebook, I am likely to encounter a BuzzFeed article that is either shared on my news feed, or posted to a friend’s wall by another friend.
An article that BuzzFeed wrote in 2014, “How Technology Is Changing Media”, is what inspired me to write this blog post. Overall, it is an in-depth look at how the company is leading the industry’s trends in social, mobile, and video. BuzzFeed believes, as shown by the graphic below, that there is a shift in how people access content on the web. Social traffic is increasingly the way in which people are heading to Buzzfeed.com, rather than searching themselves. Personally, every time I end up surfing that site (it is a great way to procrastinate doing anything), it is because I came across an article on a social media platform that led me to the site initially. What I find most interesting about the graph below is the relatively short time frame in which the social traffic increased and the search traffic decreased.
It is important that BuzzFeed recognizes how its users are consuming the content on its site, to maximize the possibility of users sharing content from the site with their friends and followers. Being that BuzzFeed’s main focus is on mobile, they realize that people aren’t just reading content on mobile, they are also watching videos.
Although I associate BuzzFeed with news and entertainment in the form of written content, BuzzFeed’s new motion picture division seems like a good strategy that is growing. It has evolved into one of the top video producers on the Internet with billions of monthly views, from short six-second videos to feature-length films.
Viewers are spending more and more time watching digital video than traditional cable networks. According to an article posted by Contently.com, the time that adults spend watching digital video each day has increased from 21 minutes in 2011 to one hour and 16 minutes in 2015. I can see this change in my own daily life, as I am someone who prefers to use Netflix and Hulu at my own convenience, rather than watch TV. BuzzFeed’s decision to invest in this digital video market definitely is a contributing factor to their success. Unlike Netflix and Hulu, BuzzFeed’s production is cheap and fast as videos often tend to take less than a week to make because the staff can write, shoot, produce, and star in their own creations.
What I think makes BuzzFeed so unique is the fact that it is not only a news organization, but also a social news organization. The company thrives on being social and digital, and would not be successful without those attributes. Not only can you share content on social media platforms, but you can join the community of writers to contribute anything. It is true that I rely on social sites for both news and entertainment content. Facebook’s trending stories and Snapchat’s daily updates in the discover section are ways I learn about current events. I find myself using BuzzFeed for more entertainment purposes, but I have explored the news section of the site as well and found it to be very useful.
50% of US millennials read BuzzFeed per month, and I am curious if older generations will begin to use the site as the number of people with smartphones grows. Considering the increasing social traffic of BuzzFeed tied with the digital video aspect of their site, I am starting to understand how digital and social are so interwoven, like Professor Kane discussed during his first class. Do you see a future where a digital company like Netflix becomes social?
To conclude, I’ll leave you with a quote from Chris Dixon, a recent member to BuzzFeed’s board:
“I believe the future of BuzzFeed — and the media industry more generally — will only get brighter as the number of people with Internet-connected smartphones grows, and the Internet solidifies its place as the central communication medium of our time.”
If you have a lot of homework and you are trying to procrastinate, here are some BuzzFeed quizzes: