BuzzFeed focuses on reader engagement, sharing

By Western iMedia



Scott Lamb, vice president of international at BuzzFeed, talked to the 84th INMA World Congress Monday about generating social traffic through a variety of posts, including quizzes and lists.

When BuzzFeed began, the company had not been thinking specifically about different types of social media, and were even questioned up until 2012 about whether what it was doing could be considered journalism, Lamb said. The company has since moved its focus to reader engagement.

“We are focused on media that people share,” he said 

This includes considering where people will be viewing their content and how they will be interacting with it: “If we are not publishing on mobile, we are losing a lot of people.”

Google came up with a better way for people to interact with the Web by using an index, where people can search for something that interests them, Lamb said. If someone searches “golf,” Google will track down helpful resources that apply to that person’s search.

With this type of approach, people have become accustomed to making social media the first thing they check when they wake up in the morning. This has led to different groups of people logging into social media whenever they have free time, interacting with posts they find interesting. 

“Everyone now is a publisher and they have a need for a certain amount of content,” he said.

Publishers’ posts can become popular in groups that are bored at work, bored in line, and bored at home. Facebook’s model allows people connect with one another and share posts, often with the intention to brighten someone’s mood.   

“It’s going to make you feel better about your day,” he said. “It’s going to make you feel better about the world.”

With a population of people wanting to express themselves, Lamb said it is important to target different groups of people, including people who are left-handed and people with red hair. This allows people to post about items that pertain to themselves or share it with a friend whom it may represent.

“We are focusing on very different identities,” he said.

Lamb discussed the change in media. It used to be that media could either write a story or show a photo, being limited to those skills. Now, progress has made it possible to share on a variety of platforms: “We now have so many different tools at our disposal.”

By using these tools, people can tell others about themselves or can even reveal themselves and who they are from their answers on something such as a quiz posted by BuzzFeed about what state you actually belong in.

“By sharing that you got California, you are saying a lot more than you just took a BuzzFeed quiz,” Lamb said.

Lamb showed how BuzzFeed uses analytics to show user feedback, including which posts are generating the most traffic from their users. This allows them to give better time optimisation to posts that are generating a lot of buzz and less to those which may have not been viewed as much.

BuzzFeed has worked with groups including GE, Virgin Mobile, and HBO to generate content such as quizzes that will be shared and used by the following BuzzFeed has attained.

Moving forward, BuzzFeed is working on the future of social publishing. Since 2012, the company has taken an approach to supply more serious reporting and long-form content to go hand-in-hand with its usual posts that are popularly shared across the Internet through social media.

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