Marketing Magazine: Q&A with BuzzFeed’s revenue chief: measuring native advertising and why shares trump pageviews

Published in Marketing Magazine, 6 February, 2014

Marketing sat down with Wiedlin following his talk at a seminar on native advertising (read about BuzzFeed’s key learnings from his presentation here) held by the IAB last Friday, the same day BuzzFeed Australia launched. His comments on why interruption is dead, tips for creating shareable content and sassy digs at display advertising show the advantage new players have in looking at old problems through a fresh lens.

Marketing: It was interesting you said you basically copied Facebook and Twitter, which were forced to prioritise user experience first. Why do you think a lot of other publishers are slow to prioritise user experience in order to deliver effective ad solutions? 

Andy Wieldin: We got a bit lucky because we’re a new company. Previous to this I was at the Huffington Post, and the Huffington Post is very similar in BuzzFeed in the sense that it’s interesting, and we have journalists reporting on things and we want people to comment and share it. But, when Huffington Post started there was no native advertising and the only way we could monetise was through banners. When BuzzFeed started we drew a line in the sand and said, “Okay, banners stink, it doesn’t work for our site, it doesn’t work for our users, we’ve got to come up with something better”. Once you get addicted to banner revenue, even if it’s going down, you’re like, ‘Oh my God, I need it’.

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