Buzzfeed Gets Serious About Branded Videos At NewFronts
Buzzfeed’s first NewFront presentation in New York was an intimate affair — no flashy strobe lights, fog machines or live bands — just Buzzfeed videos on the big screen and founder and CEO Jonah Peretti and Ze Frank, EVP of Video, discussing the history of content sharing and their vision for the social TV studio of the future. Jonathan Perelman BuzzFeed, GM of Video and VP Agency Strategy, discussed why Buzzfeed’s foundation and understanding about what makes content get shared is good for brands.
Perelman will soon be heading to LA to manage Buzzfeed’s fledgling branded video operation. The company says it now has over 40 video producers in LA, and the company’s videos just surpassed 1 billion views. It’s no surprise Buzzfeed’s video efforts will continue to focus on sharable content — rather than long form consumable content that the other companies presenting during NewFronts are focused on — and its branded videos are designed in the same mold.
In an onstage interview with Perelman, Rick Spiekermann, Director of Content, Community & Partnerships at Nestle Purina Pet Care said the goal is to increase sales and that they look at brand equity metrics as a proxy. The Tidy Cats video was the result of success the company saw when it tested Buzzfeed to create branded video ad for its less cutesy Pro Plan brand, said Spiekermann.
Vivian Nasamu-Odior, Associate Brand Manager for Clean & Clear, said her team used Buzzfeed videos to reach millennials and build an emotional connection with them. While GE’s Head of Global Digital Programming, Katrina Craigwell, is focused on using video for branding and reputation to support the company’s recruitment, shareholder relation efforts.
Buzzfeed spent a large portion of the event sharing the history of viral and social content and presenting ideas of where it sees video and sharable media heading. “People think that when the internet grows up, it will be with consumable content,” said Peretti. “I think that’s totally wrong.”
The company sees branded video a bigger opportunity than the native ads its long offered on Buzzfeed.com, in part because the videos can reach beyond the site to distribution channels like YouTube. In response to my question about how discussions with brands about success metrics have evolved in these early days, Perelman said each brand comes with its own goals, so the approach is tailored to each. Acknowledging, the industry as a whole is in its infancy, said the company is using Youtube’s in-video surveys and working on its own internal tools to measure the impact of branded videos.