Why BuzzFeed Is Doubling-Down On Data Driven Creativity



Executive Creative Director of BuzzFeed International on some of the ways that BuzzFeed thinks about creativity.

In less than a decade BuzzFeed has quickly become a cross-platform, global network for news and entertainment that generates nine billion content views each month.

With properties such as Tasty and Bring Me, BuzzFeed has pioneered new video formats and ways to experience content online. So how does BuzzFeed enrich the creative development process and where do they look for inspiration and how have they become a staple in the minds of big budget advertisers?

At #SMWLDN, writer Rachael Steven (Creative Review) sat down for a fireside conversation with Richard Alan Reid (Executive Creative Director, BuzzFeed International). In his role, Reid leads the branded content teams that BuzzFeed has internationally in eleven offices across the world and spoke at Social Media Week London sharing some of the ways that BuzzFeed thinks about data driven creativity.

What Does Data Driven Creativity Mean at BuzzFeed

“It’s really the combination between art and science,” says Reid. For BuzzFeed, the power of the digital space and social media means there is so much data out there for them to learn from. BuzzFeed publishes 600 pieces of content per day and they are always looking at how the content is received by their audience. When they post content on BuzzFeed, they look at the following data which informs the next wave of content.

  • Why people have watched it
  • How long they watched it
  • Did they like it?
  • Did they share it?
  • For what reason did they share it
  • How far did they share it?
  • Did they respond to certain pieces of the content?

This allows BuzzFeed to stay on top of what their audience wants, which Reid believes has had a huge impact on their growth.

How Does Data Driven Creativity Factor Into Branded Content

Reid uses the same approach for branded content and keeps the content in a constant loop of testing and learning. He thinks that we are currently in a monumental shift in how content is consumed.

“We don’t want to interrupt the content that people love. We want to be the content that people love.”

BuzzFeed’s branded content doesn’t want to be in the face of the consumer or be a blatant product placement, they want to provide content that people want. They don’t try to shout for attention, they target individuals, which they have found is much more effective for awareness for a brand or product.

When challenging brands to what they are used to, BuzzFeed tries to be delicate with the brand, but they use the data to show the brand that they content they are producing is working or not.

Further analysis and commentary from ‘How Data Driven Creativity Will Be The Key To BuzzFeed’s Future Success’ session:

Learn the latest trends, insights and best practices from the brightest minds in media and technology. Sign up for SMW Insider to watch full-length sessions from official Social Media Week conferences live and on-demand.

Newsletter Subscription

Get the latest insights, trends and best practices from today's leading industry voices.

Watch SMW Live

SMW Insider is a premium video platform that streams more than 180+ hours of talks, presentations, and interviews from leading industry experts.

Subscribe Now

Write for Us

Interested in sharing your ideas and insights with the world? Become a SMW News contributor and reach 300k readers each month.

Apply Here