Friday, October 23, 2015

“Give The People What They Want, Not What They Need”

The title of this blog speaks to the very issue that many “traditional” news organizations are facing when it comes to providing content to cater to their audience. Some of the oldest media corporations have been stuck in between a rock and a hard place simply because their content and way of presenting news is on the brink of becoming outdated, thanks to the invention of the internet and influx of social media sites.

            Sites such as BuzzFeed have taken the opposite approach than most news stations when it comes to how they believe that can capture their audience through the new innovations of technology and personalized content. Something that we learned in class this week that has helped give BuzzFeed somewhat of an edge over their predecessors is that it is able to generate revenue through what is called native advertising. Native advertising in laymen’s terms is an advertisement that is presented through an article to promote a product. An August 2015 article by BusinessInsider says a large portion of BuzsFeed’s business model uses Facebook and other social media to promote their “native” ads which helps to drive traffic to their site (Weinberger, Aug. 2015). The TechTimes writes that BuzzFeed “charges clients set fees for creating custom content aimed at that client’s customer base” (Gallagher, March 2015).

Most of the native advertising on BuzzFeed consist of silly videos or pictures that center around a good pun to not only make viewers laugh or scoff but to grab their attention making the audience more willing to share it. I mean, who doesn’t like a good laugh every once in a while? For BuzzFeed, these sort of “click-bait” ads are currently what are driving traffic to the site which now hones about 150 million unique visitors per month (Gallagher, March 2015). Not too bad for a site started nearly 10 years ago.

An article on Business Insider in May this year discusses the benefits of native advertisments for media companies. “Native ads have also proven effective, drawing higher click rates than traditional banner ads, particularly on mobile devices” (Hoelzel, May 2015). That same articles provides stats from the BI Intelligence that spending on native ads will be close to $7.9 billion in this year alone and will continue to rise to about $21 billion in 2018 (Hoelzel, May 2015). I think those stats alone show the future of native advertising for media companies and how important it will be for those who haven’t started to start incorporating them onto their platforms.

In my personal opinion I think that is what makes BuzzFeed so relevant as a media organization because it knows how to adapt to their resources (by use of social media and creating their own content) and cater to their audience. Many people today including myself do not have time to search for news day in and day out and out of pure laziness would rather the news come to us. I think it is coming to the point to now we sort of expect the news that we consume to be given to us directly at all times and find it a hassle to have to wait for homepages of news organizations to load and buffer just to be faced with a page full of words. I know that I am more willing to read an article that is shared on social media by my friends. This could be due to the fact that most people who are friends tend to have some of the same interest making it more likely for them to delve more into the article. 

I think it will be interesting to see what new heights sites such as BuzzFeed will reach in the next few years and will the company continue to be innovative enough to stay on top.  

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