Despite the recent algorithm tweak that rocked web publishing, BuzzFeed apparently still knows how to work Facebook’s news feed.
And with its budding travel brand Bring Me, the digital publisher is betting it has found its next Tasty.
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Starting in February of 2017, a group within BuzzFeed that focuses on experimental content projects started posting travel videos to Facebook under the Bring Me banner.
Since then, Bring Me videos have generated over 2 billion views, BuzzFeed says. These days, the average Bring Me travel clip delivers 4 million views, and overall the property averages nearly 200 million a month — despite algo-geddon.
The bet, said Richard Alan Reid, head of Bring Me and BuzzFeed’s international executive creative director, was to create content that resembles what an average person visiting these places might produce using their phone — rather than try to emulate the perfect travel magazine shoot.
And unlike classic travel media, the idea was to focus on undiscovered, and quirky locales across the globe (like taking selfies atop the real Dracula’s castle in Transylvania), as well as very accessible activities in the US, like a Florida sub shop in a grocery store.
And like Tasty’s famous eye-popping food prep clips, the short Bring Me videos were deliberately designed to stop people when scrolling through their news feeds.
“We wanted to show people enjoying themselves in these places,” Reid told Business Insider. “They are much more shot like we had gone with our friends. No beautiful beaches from an angle you can never get to, or a shot of the Taj Mahal at 4:00 am when no one is there.”
Plus, following the BuzzFeed playbook, Bring Me has created travel videos that aim to tap into people’s identities, such a trips for sushi lovers or Harry Potter fans. Think 6 Delicious Destinations for Vegans.
Recently, Bring Me became a full fledged channel on BuzzFeed.com, with both text articles and video, and is also building a sizable audience on Instagram and YouTube.
But it’s on Facebook where it’s amassed over 4 million fans by pushing striking visuals into people’s news feeds. That’s solid growth these days — though it pales in comparison to Tasty’s 94 million Facebook fans — most of which were accumulated in the pre algorithm-tweak era.
Facebook has adjusted its algorithm to priorities content from people’s friends and family. It seemed that perhaps the ‘born-on Facebook’ publisher era might be over. Indeed, a few years BuzzFeed had roughly 20 brands on Facebook.
For every mass hit like Tasty, there were other brands like BuzzFeed Food orBuzzFeed Beauty that were eventually rebranded or combined with other channels. Since then, BuzzFeed has also reorganized its media team.
And Bring Me has emerged despite all the changes.
“We feel like we’ve really cracked [what works on Facebook],” said Reid.
Take this video of an Airbnb house in Florida that features rooms themed around various board games like Clue and Monopoly. It’s resulted in 70 million views, sellouts, and the owners are planning to open another location.
Like many in digital publishing, BuzzFeed missed revenue targets and let go of some staffers following a brutally competitive 2017. But in a recent Digiday podcast CEO Jonah Peretti said that the company was enjoying strong growth this year thanks to deals like a licensing pact between Tasty and Walmart.
Bring Me should help. The company has created videos on behalf of paying sponsors such as Pepsi and Tourism Australia.