5 Minutes with BuzzFeed’s Jon Steinberg

We sat down with SMWNYC Supporting Sponsor Buzzfeed’s Jon Steinberg to talk journalism, branding and more. BuzzFeed is the leading social news organization, intensely focused on delivering high-quality original reporting, insight, and social content across a rapidly expanding array of subject areas. Here’s what he had to say:

What is BuzzFeed’s greatest success with social media to date?
I’d largely attribute it to our singular focus on social, which really comes from Jonah’s vision and focus for the company from day one. Our technology, editorial, and ad products all focus on creating and optimizing things that excite and inspire people to share. This has allowed us to grow the site rapidly and do only truly social advertising in lieu of banners.

What do you think is the most exciting thing happening in the emerging technology and/or new media space right now?
Well, it’s certainly the big move to social and mobile. And I think that’s one trend. This summer, the BuzzFeed Partner, which includes 300 million unique visitors from sites like Time, Daily Mail, and Huff Post got more traffic in aggregate from Facebook than from Google. And at BuzzFeed we now get about 30% to 40% of traffic from mobile. People are literally discovering and consuming media in a completely different channel then even a few years ago.

What are you looking forward to most at SMWNYC 2013?
I always like to hear about what brands that I’m unfamiliar with are doing. It’s always a great place to get ideas, and the sessions tend to always have people who are eager to chat after their panels. I love catching a few sessions each day.

Tell us about your goals for SMW. As the 2013 Official Supporting Sponsor and a host of several events, what do you hope attendees will take away from the experience?
I hope that people who have never heard of us will get to understand what BuzzFeed does in Social Advertising and that those who are curious already will attend events and panels where we can answer their questions.

What is the most creative way you’ve seen social media used?
I love these new social illustrations and infographics we’re doing for brands like AT&T and AMC’s Walking Dead.

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It’s a new genre for our social ad products that our new Chief Creative Officer Jeff Greenspan has rolled out.  They are very native to the web are a designed to be shareable and relatable to fans (of say Zombies) or people interested in a given area (Classic Literature).

This year, our global theme is “Open & Connected: Principles for a Collaborative World.” How does BuzzFeed embody or support this idea? 
In many ways BuzzFeed is a site that couldn’t exist without a connected world where people collaborated to share and and inform each other with all varieties of content. BuzzFeed is the oposite of an isolated, individual in front-of-a-disconnected-terminal scenario.

What brands do you think are leading the way in innovation with social and digital?
I look every week at the campaigns we’re running and think about which one interests me the most and why. I’d honestly say the answer is different every week. This week I’m loving the AT&T and AMC campaigns. From a longer term perspective, GE and Virgin Mobile have been working with us in a deep and long term fashion and are consistently pushing and innovating in what it means to be a social, always-on publisher.

 
We couldn’t be more excited to have Buzzfeed on board for SMW NYC! Stay tuned to the special announcements coming out on Buzzfeed, like this video reminding us how to do social media. Then, see them in action during the week at JWT with Genuine Appeal — Creativity and Authenticity in the Social Age on Wednesday, February 20th; at The Golden Age of Storytelling on Thursday at Hearst; Longform in a Shortform World at 92Y on Friday; and at our Opening Reception on Tuesday!