I love buzzfeed. I go to buzzfeed at least once a day. I am not alone.
The articles/posts on the site are what people want to read/laugh it/gain info from/share with others. They’re also tailored for the increasing number of people with decreasing attention span.
The key though, is that the site offers information (be it entertainment/news/pictures of cats) that readers are interested in and have a high probability of sharing. Admittedly, this isn’t very difficult. People like seeing pictures of puppies and read articles like “25 problems that desperately need to be solved”. This key is an invaluable tool to advertisers on the site. I’m not talking banner ads, I’ve talking the digital version of the print advertorial. Just as the goal of a print advertorial is to blend somewhat seamlessly in a publication, the sponsored content on buzzfeed aims to blend seamlessly with the content of the site.
For example, headlines for articles of interest would include “The 42 Best Moments Ever on Maury“, “21 Shirts That Shouldn’t Exist in Kid’s Sizes‘”, and “38 Things to Drink Instead of Booze“. These would all be articles written by buzzfeed staff and bloggers for your entertainment. There could also be another article of interest with the headline “20 reasons to remember to log out” or “19 Mindblowing Historical Doppelgangers“. These two articles provide entertainment (or day wasting) to individuals. Actual content that individuals would click on and read (and maybe even share). Both are sponsored by Virgin Mobile.
These two articles are just sponsored by Virgin Mobile (you can join the conversation at the provide hastag #breakfree, but there is no explicit offer for a product or service. Other sponsors will have interesting content geared toward a product or service. Some sponsors aren’t so good with the interesting content aspect.
So, there are advantages to using this platform of social advertising.
1) Your branded content is among content that readers will be interested in.
2) Ad advertiser can tailor their content.
3) High probability of being shared online.
Anyways, according to this article on Adweek by Lucia Moses, this type of advertising is growing and is bad news for ad agencies. I must say, I wholeheartedly disagree. This is the type of advertising that ad agencies should be getting in front of and becoming the masters as (instead of the online publishers).