What’s Happening: What We Can Learn from Buzzfeed

If you’re an internet aficionado, chances are you’ve spent some time on Buzzfeed. Although the site serves as a procrastination mechanism for many of us, we shouldn’t be quick to dismiss its impact; Buzzfeed’s recent growth and momentum make it a prime example of how to leverage social media to build mobile audiences at scale.

In the past year, Buzzfeed has expanded past addictive lists to bring its readers more comprehensive news coverage. In doing so, the site has tripled its U.S. audience to 71.3 million visitors across both desktop and mobile platforms. The growth the site saw in one year – an increase in 50 million visitors – is nearly unprecedented.


Buzzfeed’s desktop traffic has doubled in the past year, and mobile traffic is up nearly five-fold. This momentous growth is tied to Buzzfeed’s ability to leverage social platforms, Facebook in particular. As such a significant player in the mobile landscape and accounting for 20 percent of total time spent on smartphones and tablets, all of those Buzzfeed headlines and quizzes in the Facebook News Feed are driving users to the Buzzfeed website both online and on mobile devices.

However, Buzzfeed’s mobile consumption profile is worthy of dissecting because it runs counter to typical patterns in how mobile consumers access content on their smartphones. Specifically, 58 percent of mobile time spent on BuzzFeed is spent on the web versus 42 percent on the app. Compare that to the 16 percent / 84 percent split seen in time spent on the web versus in-apps across mobile devices overall.


Buzzfeed’s numbers run counter to the trend: it has been able to build an enormous mobile audience despite limited use of the mobile Buzzfeed app. That said, those mobile app users are significantly more engaged, spending 24x more time on Buzzfeed than than mobile web users.

While 8.3 minutes per visitor for mobile web users is significant and represents an average rate of engagement, the 202 minutes per visitor among mobile app users is almost otherworldly and represents significant room for growth: if Buzzfeed is able to convert more web users into app users, the site could significantly increase its user base.


Media companies looking to grow should take note of Buzzfeed’s success and realize that social media channels represent the fastest way to build mobile audiences at scale. Once that audience reach is achieved, additional strategies to convert visitors to loyal app users can be implemented to increase overall engagement and improve mobile content monetization.

For the full break-down, check out the original article here.

Here’s what else we’ve been reading at TrialPay this week:
How Did Alibaba Capture 80% Of Chinese E-Commerce?: A breakdown of Alibaba and the factors that have contributed to its success.
How the Rise of Modular Phones Could Shape the Future of Mobile: VentureBeat predicts how modular phones will impact the mobile supply chain industry.
Yahoo Is Doubling Down On Mobile — Again: Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer breaks down Yahoo’s plans for being a major mobile player.