Buzzfeed Exec: 'If It Doesn't Work on Mobile, We're Not Doing It'

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Mobile Engagement
Marketing
Love it or hate it, viral news site Buzzfeed's ability to drive impressions and engagement rates via a stream of lists, quizzes, and articles reflects the new ways readers consume content. But Buzzfeed's success did not happen by chance, explained Melissa Rosenthal, senior director of creative services at Buzzfeed, during a keynote speech at Ad:Tech New York. The media giant analyzes the content people share and how they share it to package its content accordingly.

Love it or hate it, viral news site Buzzfeed's ability to drive impressions and engagement rates via a stream of lists, quizzes, and articles reflects the new ways readers consume content. But Buzzfeed's success did not happen by chance, explained Melissa Rosenthal, senior director of creative services at Buzzfeed, during a keynote speech at Ad:Tech New York. The media giant analyzes the content people share and how they share it to package its content accordingly.The social space is "based on identity and people like to see themselves in the content," noted Rosenthal. "For example, one of our most popular posts was '15 Things Left-handed People Can Relate To.'" Delivering content that is easily read or viewed on a smartphone or tablet is also key for serving an increasingly mobile-first audience. "If it doesn't work on mobile, we're not doing it," Rosenthal said.

To effectively reach audiences, she continued, it is also essential to understand the type of behavior and content each social media platform serves. "Facebook is about identity where people share things that relate to them or the groups they're involved with," Rosenthal noted. "Pinterest is aspirational and Twitter is about real-time events.

Understanding consumer behavior is critical for providing content that meets their needs, agreed other marketing executives. Consumers are increasingly using social media as an ecommerce channel for purchasing merchandise instead of just following a brand, said Deb Berman, senior vice president of brand strategy at marketing platform Curalate, during a panel discussion about contextual commerce. "Social media is less about the brands that people like," Berman noted, "and more about the products that they like."

Thinking of social media as an ecommerce channel can affect the type of content brands place on it. Curalate enables retailers like Nordstrom and Target to make images on Instagram and other image-focused platforms "shoppable" by directing people who click on a photo of an item to the retailer's site where they can purchase the item.

Jiffy Lube Chief Marketing Officer Jeffrey Lack agreed that reaching customers when they're most likely to buy your product is essential. As mobile usage grows, Lack noted, delivering a mobile ad with a coupon to a local Jiffy Lube provides a convenient way for customers to drop by and redeem the offer. In addition, the company saw better results from ads that were tailored to local franchises instead of a generic message.

Last year, Jiffy Lube worked with digital agency Sq1 to create customized mobile display ads with offers based on the local competitive market. As a result, the company saw a 15 percent increase in vehicles that were serviced overall, which was attributed to the redeemed coupons.

"We need to make sure we're present at relevant points in time," Lack said. "Mobile has allowed us to capitalize on connecting with consumers when they're likely to make a purchase."

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EXPERT OPINION