BuzzFeed Pushes Brand Publishers Into Post-Website Era

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Buzzfeed #thedress Twitter traffic

Buzzfeed attracts 200 million people to its site in an average month—and that’s not counting the traffic tsunami that a single story about #TheDress (at 38 million views and counting) brought to its website.

But inspired by the fact that much of that traffic to #TheDress story came from a single tweet, cofounder Jonah Peretti told SXSW this week that he has his eyes on a much bigger prize: the 18.5 billion impressions available through publishing direct to social media. Video, meanwhile, generated more than one billion views last month—and that’s not just on Buzzfeed.com but on YouTube and social media.

That’s why Buzzfeed is taking the bold step to serve up videos, ads and content directly on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other platforms—a distributed content model that’s being closely watched in this brands-as-publishers era. And what does it all mean for the brands creating native advertising for Buzzfeed.com?[more]

“It’s an appealing pitch: Give the people what they want, where they want it,” Peretti told the SXSW audience, as Mashable reports. “Forget trying to get readers to click away from their addictive social media feeds, where they tend to spend hours. Leave them there, and bring the news and entertainment to them.”

After all, Facebook and Twitter are already serving video to millions of viewers in their newsfeeds. And Twitter recently acquired livestreaming video app, Periscope.

It seems the days of media companies surfing free social traffic is dwindling fast. “Revenue-starved media companies need their audiences to justify advertising dollars,” adds Mashable.

For more established media brands, giving social networks more control over their content, which carries their brand name and reputation, is a sticky proposition.

It’s hard to argue with Peretti, arguably the king of viral given his BuzzFeed mastery of traffic-generating, meme-creating success (and his early viral smash, an email showdown with Nike customer service over customizing a pair of sneakers with the word “sweatshop”).

So when he says embrace the social gatekeepers rather than fighting them, brands will listen.

Already, MTV is publishing on Kik with an “I Kik my MTV” campaign inviting users to tell MTV about their music preferences. In return, reports Digiday, they will receive recommendations for similar, lesser-known artists.

For MTV, it’s a way to generate content and direct more traffic to its mobile site. And for Kik, it’s validation that the young platform is more than just a tween-texting utility.