In just six short years Jonah Peretti has taken BuzzFeed from a small, link-sharing site to a viral content factory that draws more than 30 million visitors a month. Peretti's drive is rooted in his desire to learn why people share things. And in large part, that yearning has dictated his career thus far.
Along with Ken Lerer, Andrew Breitbart, and Arianna Huffington, Peretti started the The Huffington Post in 2005. Peretti pulled double duty between BuzzFeed and HuffPo until the popular aggregation site was bought by AOL in February 2011. In an interview with Alyson Shontell, the 38-year-old tech whiz details the science behind BuzzFeed's success. As Business Insider reports:
With Facebook and Twitter on the rise, BuzzFeed liberated itself from the constricting practice of optimizing its content for search engines like Google. That's because sharing became more important than searching as a way for people to find BuzzFeed content.
"At The Huffington Post, we thought of the front page as a one-stop shop for everything you'd need in news," says Peretti. "And Google is just a search box and you, and that's all you personally need. Now we're faced with a different environment where you're thinking about these networks of people who are sharing with other people in their lives, and that changes how you think about your front page."
So while Peretti says he cares about direct traffic to BuzzFeed—people who type buzzfeed.com into their browsers and make it a regular stop—he'd rather have readers tweet out an article than actually click on it. Facebook is a more powerful traffic driver than direct visits, says Peretti, and social accounts for "well over 50%" of BuzzFeed's total visitors.
As for the future? Peretti wants to create a lasting media company for the new social media age. "That means we have to continually surprise people, we'll have to continually evolve and change what we do," he told Insider.
[via Business Insider]