Daily Scroll: BuzzFeed’s social strategy; how Facebook, Google, Apple track you

7 Oct

Note: Haven’t had a chance to read the Jeff Zucker profile.

Love Jonah Peretti’s insight into BuzzFeed’s social vs. search stance. Enjoy.

The Biggest Facebook Publishers of September 2014 (NewsWhip)

-Leaders the Huffington Post have almost 53.5m total interactions.
-BuzzFeed (2nd) put daylight between themselves and Fox News (3rd).
-Mirror.co.uk breaks into the overall top ten for the first time, with 11.2m interactions.
-BBC News, the New York Times and the Guardian all make strong gains.
(Daily Mail is 15th)

How A Google Mistake That Killed BuzzFeed’s Traffic Turned It Into A Social Media Powerhouse (Marketing Land)

By the time the error was resolved, BuzzFeed had shifted direction. Rather than try to balance content aimed to do well with both social and search, BuzzFeed was forced to focus entirely on social to get through the search slump — and it kept that focus going forward.

It especially helped because Peretti’s view is that it’s hard to make content that works for both search and social. That video of cute kittens, for example, isn’t something people are necessarily searching for, so checking that it has the right keywords associated with it doesn’t help.

Today, Peretti says that BuzzFeed gets 75% of its 150 million unique visitors per month through social media. And as for Google and SEO, it’s something he said that BuzzFeed doesn’t really think about.

Still, there’s no doubt that social has emerged as a new and welcomed major traffic source for news publishers as well as other sites alongside search. As BuzzFeed learned, social means an insurance policy against a search catastrophe — just as search can provide a balance for those who might get hit by some social change.

The cookie is dead. Here’s how Facebook, Google, and Apple are tracking you now (Venture Beat)

For Menlo Park, Calif.-based Facebook, it all comes down to the billions of metric tons of highly personal metadata the company has amassed from its 1.3 billion users, such as shoe size, hair color, where your grandmother is buried, and where you went to school, for example.

The social network relies on its SSO (Single Sign-On) to follow the movement of users. SSO allows you to use your Facebook credentials on third-party websites and apps. When you do this, Facebook is watching, following, and cataloging your destination points. This data drives, to a degree, what ads turn up on your Facebook news feed.

Like its Facebook friends just down the freeway, Google also relies heavily on its SSO. Logging into any of your Google accounts ties you to the entire Google network, which is massive.

Together with the information it already has from its many web properties, including YouTube, Gmail, Voice, and Search, the company can compile a dossier, as it were, of your digital history. The websites you visit tell Google plenty, and the information comes in handy no matter what device you’re using.

Longer stories draw more attention, but with diminishing returns (Digiday)

Ironically, it turns out the ideal sweet spot for people’s Web attention span is about the length of a prototypical newspaper article.

Now some publishers like The Economist and Financial Times are trying to push the idea that the time readers spend on their sites is more valuable a metric to advertisers than the size of their audience or pageviews.

So Chartbeat looked at how reading time corresponded with ad-viewing time. The result…shows that ad time definitely increases with reading time. But the ad-viewing time doesn’t keep up with the reading time because there are gaps on the page where no ad is in view.

If We’re Going to Give Facebook Our Data, At Least It Can Do Some Good (Wired)

People reveal a lot about themselves on Facebook, but will they really want the most intimate details of their physical lives packaged and sold? For Facebook, health information presents ethical and regulatory challenges that may not always seem worth the trouble in the context of a quarterly earnings report.

But if users aren’t going to use their leverage to get Facebook to stop exploiting our trust, maybe we can at least get Facebook to exploit us for better ends.

But if users won’t use their power to force practices they don’t like to change, perhaps we at the very least can act as constituents to demand companies like Facebook do more, to take advantage of their unique power to effect genuine innovation, not just better photo filters.

How The New Yorker Finally Figured Out The Internet: 3 Lessons From Its Web Redesign (Fast Co.)

Because the tools are no longer getting in the way of producers doing their job, NewYorker.com is now able to publish a greater volume of stories every day. The site used to top out at 10 or 12 stories each day: now, it publishes around 20 per day.

Different types of readers have different metabolisms, Mitchell says. A person who reads the New Yorker in print might primarily do so on weekends, while someone who reads on the tablet might only read it in bed at night. The smartphone New Yorker reader might just be getting a skim here and there in between trains. And all of these different types of readers need to be kept in mind when you’re designing.

The most important design lesson other publications can learn from NewYorker.com is simply to respect your content enough to put it first, and to let people enjoy it.

“We had good data that showed that if people get through a story from beginning to end, they’re more likely to talk about it, and therefore more likely to share it,” Thompson says. And that means designing a site where everything besides the content fades into the background.

“Even if I didn’t think making our stories as readable as possible was good for traffic and subscription numbers, I’d still do it,” Thompson says.

Google’s “In The News” Box Now Lists More Than Traditional News Sites (Search Engine Land)

Google has confirmed that new “In The News” box appearing in some of its search results now lists content from more than just the traditional news sites. Discussions at Reddit, blog posts, videos and more from non-news sites may turn up.

Should publishers take Web design cues from print? (Digiday)

Designers, however, aren’t convinced that taking so many print cues is the most effective strategy. Bloomberg Businessweek’s bold, often off-kilter design layouts work well on print, but they’re much harder to pull off on the Web, where the design canvas is more limiting and where readers are trained to expect certain kinds of page structures and formats.

Joe Zeff, creative director at ScrollMotion: “On the screen, though, Bloomberg Politics has the potential to give its readers epileptic seizures.”

“When you’re on homepage, the site has already gotten your attention. That job is done,” he said.

In the end, the best-designed sites aren’t those that are the most splashy, but those that consider and respond to how people actually read online. “Your content is going to sell your product, not your page design,” Maccarone said. “The new homepage might be cool when it launches, but it’s only cool for the first week. People often just stop coming.”

Denton: ‘no other company has grown more consistently’ than Gawker Media (Poynter)

Jeff Zucker Has Endured Cancer, Hollywood, and Being TV’s Wunderkind. So Why Not Take on CNN? (N.Y. Magazine)

How The New Yorker Festival Has Become a Magnet for Brands (AdWeek)

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