BuzzFeed is a digital platform that delivers news and entertainment to people across the world. Founded in 2006, it has since grown tremendously to a now expansive digital presence that extends far beyond its website; it has well-established itself on multiple digital mediums, including web, mobile apps, and social media. With that being said, its website still remains its most significant digital medium.
Taking a look at BuzzFeed’s website, a few of its defining features are its rich use of imagery in the form of article thumbnails, its very straightforward yet interesting article headlines, and its overarching emphasis on staying up-to-date on the latest trends in popular culture. Understanding that pictures are generally more engaging than text, the abundance of thumbnails on every page naturally captures the audience’s attention. While it may seem overwhelming at first, the heavily visual presentation is laid out in such a way that a variation in thumbnail sizes allows the audience to navigate the page in some relative structure. In addition to its plentiful imagery, the articles have interesting headlines that further grab the audience’s attention. For example, one of its more recent articles is titled “15 Reasons You Need A San Diego Vacation.” This headline not only employs pathos in its direct address to you, the reader, but it’s also relatively blunt in communicating the content of the article. The reader doesn’t get lost in the ambiguity of headlines because they’re intentionally written to be straightforward and engaging.
The articles can generally be categorized as news or entertainment. For those under entertainment, there is a rich variance in the presentation of the content, ranging from quizzes related to current trends in popular culture, humorous articles that seem to speak towards the “daily struggles” of life, or even seemingly random but intriguing content. There was an article published on March 10 titled, “32 Funny Tweets That Are Completely Underrated.” Quite frankly, the content of such an article has no tangible correlation to any specific trend or event happening in the world, however something about its nature still seems intriguing enough to check out. BuzzFeed is most well-known for serving entertainment purposes, therefore I believe its audience is largely a millennial crowd. In fact, the percentage of content between entertainment and news is so heavily in favor of entertainment that I’d say that at times, an actual news piece seems a bit out of place. So while BuzzFeed does deliver news in addition to entertainment content, its audience is most likely a younger people who are seeking lighthearted entertainment and are relatively engaged with the current trends in popular culture.
Aside from its website, BuzzFeed’s social media presence has flourished largely because of the efficacy of its engaging presentation (namely its articles’ vivid thumbnails and catchy headlines) and interesting content. From personal experience, there is rarely a time that I scroll through my FaceBook news feed and fail to come across BuzzFeed quiz or article that has been posted or shared. No matter how silly the content is, the enticing way they’re presented draws you into at least clicking on them and checking them out. Because the quizzes are interactive and provide results, there is usually an inclination on the participant to share it on his/her profile. When one person shares it, the content gains exponential exposure and the likeliness of additional “shares” is significantly increased as well. Therefore, BuzzFeed’s social media strategy has leveraged its engaging presentation and content in such a way that a large portion of their outreach (quantitative audience engagement/exposure) is actually carried out by their audience themselves.