2014: The Year of BuzzFeed

Let’s face it. BuzzFeed ruled the Internet this year. Every day, you’re almost guaranteed to see someone on Facebook sharing some kind of personality quiz or gif compilation that links to BuzzFeed. If it seems like you saw a lot more of those in 2014 than you ever have before, you’re absolutely correct.

The folks over at BuzzFeed recently published a round-up of statistics that really put into perspective the mammoth year the site had. For example, traffic to the site doubled from 100 million to 200 million unique visitors per month. Not per year, per month. Those visitors spent a combined 58,655 years on the site (that’s a hell of a lot of quizzes).

A couple other interesting statistics: Every country in the entire world visited BuzzFeed, it could be read in five different languages (English, Spanish, Portuguese, French and German), and the site launched four new bureaus (Sydney, Berlin, Mumbai and São Paulo). The website published 7,350 quizzes with 1.2 billion views (!), produced 1,500 new videos and published 1,242 posts about dogs (only 928 about felines (sorry, cat lovers).

The website brought in the majority of its revenue via ads, running 841 programs with 435 clients, including 80 of the top 100 advertisers. Custom content BuzzFeed created for brands attracted more than 270 million views.

The biggest thing I took away from this is how our tendencies/preferences may be trending toward this type of media. A website that I honestly thought hosted nothing but personality quizzes and pointless gif and picture compilations actually publishes a number of serious news stories. This year, BuzzFeed wrote about Ferguson, marijuana legalization, the conflict in Ukraine, and the Winter Olympics in Sochi.

I just have to wonder whether this type of website is going to be the one that appeals to a majority of people, and if so, why? Why do we want to take a quiz to know what song from “Glee” will be played at our funeral? Or another to find out which ousted Arab Spring ruler we are? I have to wonder whether this trend is because of our shortened attention spans that require something so specific and obscure to be activated.

Is BuzzFeed just another fad, here today and gone tomorrow? Or is it the Internet’s next biggest media conglomerate?

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