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The Masters of Content Marketing - Why Buzzfeed is so Powerful for Brands

The old model of marketing relied on interrupting your audience, showing them something that they probably didn’t want in a format that would make them certain they didn’t want whatever you happened to be peddling.

It’s all change now with how platforms like Buzzfeed have reinvented the concept of sponsored articles to where it is almost unrecognisable.

Without much further ado Magnafi will take you into the fun, weird and ever entertaining world of Buzzfeed content marketing.

The old model of marketing relied on interrupting your audience, showing them something that they probably didn’t want in a format that would make them certain they didn’t want whatever you happened to be peddling.

It’s all change now with how platforms like Buzzfeed have reinvented the concept of sponsored articles to where it is almost unrecognisable.

Without much further ado Magnafi will take you into the fun, weird and ever entertaining world of Buzzfeed content marketing.

Less Sponsored, more creative

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Even the best of us have idled away time by consuming content from BuzzFeed. Quizzes, listicles, opinion pieces and funny findings are all part of the make-up of this social news site.

With quizzes ranging from standard personality tests, to the crazy can you speak cat?

It ranges from the seemingly mad to the strategically planned.

The crazy quiz just mentioned was in fact a clever piece of sponsored content from Felineway. The aim was to plug their latest diffusor. The overwhelming reaction to that piece in particular was for commenters to post their answers in response as well as to exclaim how adorable the theme chosen was, in their opinion.

According to Quantcast, Buzzfeed quizzes alone have generated a reach of over 169 million people.

They succeed in catching the imagination of their target audience through hugely engaging, entertaining and unpredictable content that resonates.

The site also bravely tackles serious and contentious issues. As a news platform it is a now respected source in broadcast journalism, telling it exactly like it is and granting a voice to many who may be rendered voiceless through other mainstream platforms. It takes a lot of skill to be able to so seamlessly flit between the high and seemingly lowbrow.

But how can marketers and brands use the BuzzFeed behemoth and its 200+ million monthly unique visitors effectively?

Share and Share alike

It has recently been calculated that the minimum buy-in for a native advertising campaign at BuzzFeed was $100,000 so it is unlikely that many media budgets will stretch quite that far.

This puts many of us as marketers in a place of observation, to take example from some of the best brand partnership successes.

The bulk of their reputation is based on creating highly shareable content as well as their practises of ‘native advertising’ as a way to increase revenue. Their in-house teams work with brands to develop original content.

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Virgin mobile were one of Buzzfeed’s many brand winners with their campaign that resulted in 9.7 Million Total Engagements, 5 Million Earned Content Engagements, and 4.7 Million Paid Content Engagements from 190 pieces of branded content throughout the platform.

The resulting 22x uplift throughout Virgin’s social channels has been attributed solely to Buzzfeed’s efforts.

Upon surveying respondents, they have noticed uplifts in brand favourability of astronomical percentages (235% and 323% respectively).

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But this isn’t the first nor will it be the last gigantic success for the platform as is also illustrated by the statistics behind the partnership with Hidden Valley Ranch.

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The sponsored content created by Hidden Valley for Buzzfeed resulted in 400% social uplift. To accompany the expected social content and articles they also posed the debate of Ranch vs. Ketchup.

With branded reaction buttons created solely for the debate it allowed for unexpected reactions to be recorded in a way most engaging.

Overall Hidden Valley experience a total brand uplift of 99.8% – it is almost too good to believe from merely viewing numbers like these alone!

Through integrating a brand message with entertaining content, the site is able to reach a vast audience that may otherwise ignore the very same messaging through display advertising and paid social.

The sponsored content model is working, with profits booming.

Buzzfeed holds the viral video marketing crown

If there is one thing that we love equally as much as a good digital strategy it is great viral video production. It is a major part of Buzzfeed’s secret to success, it has been a main staple that accompanies their articles on site as well as their presence on Facebook video and of course YouTube.

BuzzFeed have confirmed that with 75% of their site content views being driven by off-site channels, 27% of these come from Facebook video and another 14% from YouTube.

It is surprising to discover as few as 5% of video views come from Buzzfeed.com itself.
In the last 12 months with an average of just over 50 videos uploaded per week totalling 2,760 uploads to YouTube, they have generated a combined view count of 6.5 billion with 100 million engagements measured.

A pivotal part of this huge success is the push towards videos as an integral part of social media communication. These best practices as announced by Jonathan Perelman count the following tips as being the essential ingredients in the platform’s “magic formula”.

  1. To be social
  2. To express how they are feeling about a particular topic
  3. To show off, or humble-brag
  4. To prove they were the first ones to find something
  5. To make friends and colleagues laugh

Outside of the perspective of Brands and potential clients Buzzfeed also have a very strong base of community driven content that makes many feel as though they are personally invested in making viral sensations.

This gives the impression of accessibility – a trait that many other outlets not half as large and influential would take the risk in doing.

Their hyper-localized content also serves this requirement of easy access. They have never shied away from translating popular content into multiple languages to really make the most out of a particularly relatable piece.

Contact Magnafi today for all your video production and digital marketing needs.

Laura Vrcek
Laura Vrcek

That Geico + Buzzfeed video is the best thing I've seen all week.

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