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BuzzFeed attempts to crack into the ecommerce game

October 7, 2014

BuzzFeed recently launched into the ecommerce game with a L'Oréal USA click-to-buy button for readers to purchase cosmetic products. 

BuzzFeed pitches to advertisers that it has the power to make branded content go “viral.” Now the company is positioning itself to help marketers sell their products too.

The company recently launched into the ecommerce game with a L’Oréal USA click-to-buy button for readers to purchase cosmetic products referenced in a post, reported The Wall Street Journal.

The post, titled “11 Vintage Hairstyles Anyone Can Pull Off,” sponsored by L’Oréal’s Makeup.com, shows illustrations of animated GIFs of different types of women’s hairstyles. Under each style the button reads, “Love it? Buy it!” which if clicked would direct readers to a page where they can buy products used to create the hairstyles shown.

Marketers are waiting to see if the sponsored content will work. An e-commerce revenue stream would definitely prove that BuzzFeed is substantive, not just a fad. While BuzzFeed is providing the technology integration for the project, revenue from the test would go to L’Oréal. Statistics from the test have not yet been revealed.

BuzzFeed chief revenue officer Andy Wiedlin commented that “how-to” and “do-it-yourself” posts tend to attract the highest level of views and shares, over other pieces of branded content.

“From an engagement and sharing perspective, beauty tends to do very well,” said Wiedlin, reported the news source.

BuzzFeed is reliant on social media
According to BuzzFeed founder and chief executive Jonah Peretti, BuzzFeed receives 75 percent of its 150 million visitors each month through social media, reported Marketing Land.

In its early days, BuzzFeed was mistakenly hit by Google with penalty for malware injected into the site. As it turned, what was thought to be malware was actually embedded widgets to monitor web traffic. Since then, BuzzFeed has focused predominantly on promoting its content on social media – a decision that has proven to be very successful for the media company.

The question remains: can BuzzFeed monetize its content? Some believe that the company better serves the web by creating interest in video posts and other social media content. The company has not been focusing on search engine optimized content recently. The current experiment may prove to be successful if social media users decide to buy products based on click-to-buy buttons, but most consumers require more research before committing to purchases.

Ultimately, the L’Oréal experiment may reveal whether social media marketing holds any promise for retailers, or whether traditional SEO content is the undisputed winner.

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