Buzzfeed is largely known for headlines like “21 Life-Changing Dating Tips” and “Identify Your Ideal Disney Prince.” But with the recent launch of its news app, Buzzfeed is trying to target the more serious reader. Will this app fizzle out, or create even more buzz?
In only six years, Buzzfeed has completely redefined content-driven publishing. With over 30 million visits per month, it’s become the Internet’s undisputed ruler of viral content. CEO John Peretti says that his “aha” moment was when he realised that people weren’t visiting the site to entertain themselves – they were looking for ideas to share.
Ever since, Buzzfeed’s strategy has always been to focus on facilitating the proliferation of content rather than on generating it themselves.
Although Buzzfeed has been very successful in creating “sharing” platforms filled with funny listicles, videos, and Internet memes, the challenge now is to convince the public it can also be a source for actual news.
Sharing Is Caring
In an interview with Business Insider, Peretti said that he believes that, in time, Buzzfeed will be taken more seriously as a legitimate news outlet. “We’ve expanded to things like long-form reporting and scoops because those became a big part of what the social web is all about,” he explained.
To help move things along, Buzzfeed recently brought in several well-known news reporters, including former Politico editor-in-chief Ben Smith, and Stacy-Marie Ishmael, who previously worked at the Financial Times.
The organization has also made changes to its internal structure. According to Fast Company, half of Buzzfeed’s 300 editorial staffers are working on hard-hitting news stories for its 25 million “serious” readers.
App Filling A Gap
Additional proof of Buzzfeed’s commitment to news generation is the launch of their new news app. Ishmael, who was brought on to be the app’s chief editor, says that they’re not trying to be the news app for the power Twitter user.
The principal target audience will be those who don’t have plenty of free time, but want to stay informed. It’s the app for “those who might not have committed to a ‘go-to news’ app yet.”
In a review from Business Insider, the app is described as user-friendly, with facts about news stories arranged in easily digestible bullet points. TechCrunch points out that the news feed is richer than the standard headline and photo format of many other news apps.
Stories are embedded with tweets, related articles, and detailed timelines designed to give the reader a broader context.
According to Wired, the app also offers users capabilities that can’t be found anywhere else, like personalized notifications.
The “My Alerts” tab allows readers to control how the app sends push notifications for breaking events. The “Catch Up” feed features stories from various news sources, such as Buzzfeed, the New York Times, and Fusion.
Make It With AppMakr
Only time will tell whether or not Buzzfeed’s app reinvents how users relate to and interact with news. The first few weeks will be a crucial chance for the company to monitor app activity, analyze interactions, and identify uploads that are generating the most interest.
By applying lessons learned from this type of important data, an app has a greater chance at success because it can more quickly respond to user demands and behaviors.
AppMakr, a free DIY app-creation platform, offers this functionality. With usage reports built directly into AppMakr’s dashboard, keeping track of important activities on an app is easy. The reports provide insight into the activity on your app, with updates on metrics such as the number of new and active users, or how many times the app was used.
Cutting-edge analytics such as these can provide the insights that ultimately make the difference between an app that flounders, and one that creates new boundaries.
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