ALL WRAPPED UP: Buzzfeed is about to smudge even more the ever-blurring line between content and commerce with next week’s launch of its shopping-focused newsletter. Each Buzzfeed Gift Guide will zero in on a different theme — the first of which will be weddings. The site won’t just be chasing list-loving brides, but also wedding guests who want to bowl over friends with their gift-giving.
Buzzfeed has 12 core newsletters that go out weekly, amassing about 50 editions of newsletters a week. Unlike the daily morning newsletter, Buzzfeed’s ones about DIY and Food go out two to three times a week, according to Dan Oshinsky, director of newsletter for Buzzfeed. Thirty-five to 40 percent of subscribers typically open a lifestyle newsletter. And “on a week-by-week basis, hundreds of thousands” are opening an e-mail every single week, he said.
About 10 to 12 staffers including market editor Jessica Probus are working on the newsletters for the site, which boasts 200 million unique visitors each month. “The goal is to have each edition go out twice a month. It’s wedding season and people are always looking for great, innovative gifts to wow their friends with. Most will feature five to 10 products,” said Oshinsky, adding that there will be an additional handful of posts that are shopping-related or relevant to the theme. The wedding one will feature wedding etiquette, “so you don’t just find a great gift to buy but learn more about how to be a great wedding guest.”
Focusing on wedding gifts seems to be well timed, considering that Amazon released a survey Friday that listed the average price of a wedding gift at $49. It also underlined newlyweds’ preferences for offbeat gifts like Cards Against Humanity, nonstick bakeware and bamboo cutting boards.
Oshinsky said driving traffic to the site “hasn’t played any sort of role” in Buzzfeed’s decision to get into gift guides. “Buzz has always been about telling stories, making content that people want to share. I remember the first time someone sent me the ‘What State Are You Actually Living’ in quiz. What we’re doing with all these gifts is taking that to the next logical step. It used to be just sharing content. Now you can use Buzzfeed to find things, products, gifts that you can give your friends and using us as a recommendation engine, which is just really, really amazing. Mostly, we’re always just looking on the newsletter team for new ways to build products that are useful and that serve our readers well. Everything else is really a secondary goal. We just want to do well for our subscribers and readers.”
As for whether part of the impetus is to increase advertising, Oshinsky said, “In terms of the editorial team’s focus, no, not really. Certainly at Buzzfeed we’re a business and the business end comes into play down-the-road. Right now, the focus is really on launching a great product and figuring out how we can serve our readers.”
Buzzfeed is also working on Olympics-related newsletters, but the specifics haven’t been hammered out. Last year NBC Universal invested $200 million in Buzzfeed, and NBC is counting on the site to help develop content that will reel in younger viewers during the Olympics.
Buzzfeed’s president Greg Coleman was unabashed about how the company is giving advertisers access to its insights, which include multiplatform research and “learning tools,” during this spring’s NewsFronts presentation. Essentially, advertisers have the opportunity to “create, sponsor or integrate with Buzzfeed,” he said.