If you’ve ever been bored at work or tried finding an alternative to doing homework, you’ve likely been introduced to BuzzFeed a time or two. This “social news and entertainment company…is redefining online advertising with its social, content-driven publishing technology. BuzzFeed provides the most shareable breaking news, original reporting, entertainment, and video across the web to its global audience of 100M.”
I was recently scrolling through my Facebook news feed when I came across this post promoted by BuzzFeed:
Being the new-app-lover that I am, I followed the link and began reading through the list of apps that I apparently need. To be perfectly honest, this list sucks. I would maybe download one or two of these apps, the GIFs didn’t match well with the apps, the headlines weren’t comical (even though they were meant to be), and overall it just wasn’t what I expected from BuzzFeed. Usually their content is funny and engaging, often shared by readers on social media. This instance, however, was not original content meant for laughs. It was created by Geico as a method of getting readers to download their app. (The last app on the list is for the Geico app). As a marketer, I should’ve known when I read “presented by Geico,” that it would be advertising more than anything else.
It’s not that I hate when companies do this sort of marketing. I actually think it’s smart. Similar to social media marketing, this is where consumers are, so why not reach them there, on their level, in their playing field? It’s good marketing to think outside the box like this. But if you’re going to do it, do it right. Geico should’ve made their list worth my time. As a reader and potential Geico customer, I should’ve left that website laughing and having positive thoughts about Geico insurance. Instead, I was bored and slightly annoyed, as were many others who read it, according to the comments left. There is big potential in these kinds of marketing tactics…IF it’s done right.