BuzzFeed August 2013 snapshot: 85 million uniques, profitable, 300 employees.
Adam Rifkin stashed this in BuzzFeed!
Mother of God, BuzzFeed is KILLING it:
BuzzFeed reached record traffic of 85 million unique visitors inAugust. We are 3X bigger than we were just one year ago, 8X bigger than we were two years ago, and we have served more web pages so farin 2013 than we have in the entire previous five year history of thecompany. By this time next year we should be one of the biggest sites on the web.
Two years ago BuzzFeed was at 10 million uniques. Where PandaWhale is today!
How is BuzzFeed profitable? Sponsored social content.
We also booked record profit in August. We’ve gone from zero revenue four years ago to a profitable company with over 300 employees. We’ve become the leader, and primary innovator, in social content advertising. Last year we ran 265 programs and this year we will do between 600-700 with more than half of the top 100 brands.
I believe that brands love social content advertising.
As far as I can tell, that’s the first time Peretti has acknowledged that BuzzFeed is profitable, aside from mentioning “accidental” profitability in summer 2011 that was followed by a period of aggressive hiring.
Profitability is particularly impressive since it all comes from custom ad campaigns (such as the Pepsi-sponsored Listiclock that I wrote about last month), rather than all the other stuff that online publications (including TechCrunch) do to make money.
A person familiar with BuzzFeed’s operations tells me that the site had planned on generating $40 million in revenue this year. But, since sales are booming, they are on track to do something closer to $60 million in 2013.
That windfall, provided by advertisers entranced by Buzzfeed’s native ad pitch, is likely the main reason the site is in the black, though not by a huge margin.
Meanwhile, a different person familiar with BuzzFeed’s operations said the site expects to keep booming next year, and is projecting $100 million in sales for 2014, while averaging something like 150 million uniques (Peretti said his site did 85 million last month).
BuzzFeed is also KILLING IT on mobile, despite having no real plan:
In August we had 100 million mobile visits to BuzzFeed’s site and apps. But much of our success here has been based on luck, not skill. We are fortunate we don’t have slideshows, banner ads, a complicated site design, or other features that don’t work well in mobile. We are lucky that 100% of our advertising is social content marketing that works even better in mobile. And we are lucky that our audience is young and embraced mobile content sooner than the general public. But luck only takes you so far. We need to get good and then we need to be great. We will be investing heavily in mobile technology in the coming years with many new developments on the very near horizon.
Even so, the BuzzFeed app is consistently in the App Store top 5 news apps. Amazing.
In the future, BuzzFeed will not just be about lists.
BuzzFeed is famous, and sometimes infamous, for our lists. Lists are an amazing way to consume media. They work for content as varied as the 10 Commandments, the Bill of Rights, Google search results, ESPN’s Sportscenter, and internal company emails. We will always do lists but we have the advantage of not being limited to a single format like many traditional media companies. We do long form, short form, quizzes, video, original graphic art, rubbable gifs, apps, and more.
In the coming years, we will continue our R&D focused on inventing and advancing media formats. This requires ongoing interdisciplinary effort combining product, tech, and editorial, and we are off to a great start with the weekly “canary ops” meetings and Alice DuBois’ amazing collaborations between edit and product. We are just scratching the surface of possible formats for social and mobile content and there is so much more to do.
They have promised, however, not to build Yet Another Social Network. Thank goodness.
You mention PandaWhale is today where BuzzFeed was two years ago...is BuzzFeed a growth template for you? Are you trying to do what they are doing/done, or are you just anticipating the same 8x growth in visitors as a competitive baseline to keep in mind over the next two years?
Just trying to figure out a goal that is achievable.
It is hard to find good comp's.