Buzzfeed gets a lot of content views, but not generating a lot of revenue
- Fortune took a closer look at BuzzFeed's financial health and reports that the digital publisher may have fallen short of hitting certain targets, but only because it has been so quick to make moves.
- The Financial Times reported that BuzzFeed missed last year’s revenue targets by 30% and has cut this year’s targets by half, although that was disputed by Ken Lerer, the chairman of BuzzFeed’s board.
- Lerer told Re/code the digital media company is on track to meet or beat this year’s expectations, stating, “Anyone who thinks that this isn’t a terrific time to be in digital content is dead wrong.”
- In terms of content views, BuzzFeed is doing very well with more than five billion a month, although it’s not earning a lot of revenue from those views across a variety of platforms including Facebook and Snapchat -- two venues that BuzzFeed creates content specifically for those followers.
BuzzFeed takes a different approach than most publishers with its distributed content strategy, such as the content specifically created for Facebook and Snapchat. Where most publishers earn revenue from website ads, 75% of BuzzFeed’s content never appears on its website.
In order to address this issue, the publisher in March announced a new ad format called Swarm at South by Southwest. Swarm allows marketers to run campaigns that simultaneously reach all of BuzzFeed’s web and mobile outlets, as well as six of its social media platforms, including its Snapchat Discover channel, Vine, Tumblr, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook.
BuzzFeed CMO Frank Cooper called Swarm a cross-platform strategy designed to "light up our entire network in a big, coordinated post," and added, "Instead of forcing all your traffic and spending all your resources to drive people to your owned and operated platforms, why not go to where they are."
"We've done it, and in doing that we've built this power of an audience that crosses these different platforms," Cooper said.