Jonah Peretti CEO & Founder BuzzFeed
BuzzFeed is a site full of sharable content.
The big question - how can you spread your ideas and make them “go viral” on the web.
Bored-at-Work Network. Millions of bored office workers around the world. Half of their day is dedicated . They create a network bigger than any of the traditional media network (bigger than CNN, BBC, or any other network).
Bored-in-Line network. I used to hate mobile. It used to stop things from going viral. You couldn’t actually share things on mobile. Now, half of the traffic on Facebook is mobile. on BuzzFeed, 45% of traffic is mobie. The BIL network is as big as the BAW network. If you make something if it doesn’t work on mobile you have no chance of it spreading.
2001 Nike ID Launches. He spoofed sweatshops on a product, it ended up going viral. Ordinary people wanted to share it with their friends.
Could he do it intentionally? He made the New York City Rejection Line. If someone is hitting on you, you can give them your number and they get an automated rejection message. Had stand-up comics do the recorded messages. They ended up on CNN.
Black people love us site - ended up on Good Morning America talking about race.
Biggest misconception about viral. Quality is all that matters. That’s not really true. having something that is good quality is helpful, but there are lots of high quality things that don’t get shared.
The idea AND a way to spread it. The viral distribution strategy is as important as the idea itself. Should be 50/50.
Viral Rate. measures the social reproduction rate. Maximization of content spread.
They can look at the return on their promotion of content. They can look at the R value and see how viral their content will be. By thinking about the world in terms of R values, you can get more viral lift and more sharing.
They also use machine learning to predict social hits. Facebook has a half life of an hour, Facebook of a day and Pinterest of a week. Using regression models, they can look at all the different factors predictive of viral growth. Humans are better than machine learning. Data is analyzed by people as well.
What spreads depends on the platform.
Google world view - connect people with the information they need anytime, any place.
Demand Media has created content under eHow.
Facebook is still not that well understood compared to Google. It’s about connecting people with their friends and giving them a way to communicate. It’s not as much about the information itself but what that information allows you to do.
Doesn’t always need to be funny. Can be very serious. If it has a way of connecting people together.
Social takes over the world. It’s a true combination of social sharing and information sharing. Hired Ben Smith and he became their editor in chief. Ben added the element that was missing from BuzzFeed, which was reporting and breaking news. Because they were so socially connected, they were able to gain reporting credibility.
All of your information is combined together. You social information, news, education, and combine them all in once place.
100% of their revenue is social content marketing. No banners. It’s all programmed by viral rank. The realized they could use the same analytics for branded content. They build in-stream units. The content they are posting is designed to be interesting to the reader.
They are working with all the top brands that care about social.
We don’t want a success penalty for brands, when things go viral, that’s success. When you get something from your friend, it is more powerful than seeing paid media. When someone gets something through sharing it has a bigger impact.
Partnered with GE on a GE Time machine. Found GE advertising from each decade. You could select a decade and they created original content for each of those time periods.
Banner ads on the web don’t give you the space to tell a story. No one really cares and they have tiny click through rates. Social can help us get back to the golden age of advertising that will let us tell a true story.
Social is a way of thinking, not a trick.
People who focus on one narrow trick (e.g. social reader) end up failing.
- Have a heart. Emotional intelligence is as important. It may even be more important in social. Google is about information. Social is about emotion.
- Content is about Identity. It’s better to have something that 10% of people care deeply about, because they will share it. (e.g. Awkward hugs with short people when you’re tall).
- Capture the moment. (e.g. yogurt cup that fell over from NY earthquake). Brands are becoming always on rather than having a rigorous approval progress.
- Cute animals deserve respect.
- Humor is inherently social. When you’re laughing with people you feel closer to them.
- Nostalgia is very social. Products you can’t get anymore.
- Don’t post things people are embarrassed to share. Has to be things that people are willing to talk about publicly. You can’t even admit something to yourself that you like certain content, even if you are. Sex and guilty pleasure stuff can actually hurt virality.
- Have an idea AND a way to spread it.
- Understand your platform, different content spreads of Google vs. Facebook.
- They big shift to social is coming to advertising. Increasingly FB is sending more traffic to publishers.
- People love the Paris Cafe. Stay close to what makes us human.
- Social is a way of thinking, there are no tricks, you have to be human.