"What's unique about the Storytelling program is that it's
bespoke to each agency," said Jonathan Perelman, VP-agency strategy
and industry development at BuzzFeed.
Essentially, the program teaches agencies how to best advertise
on BuzzFeed. Vayner Media was the first to sign on when the program
was introduced. The agency has since created stories to promote
GE's Datalandia app, such as "15
Ways 3D Printing Is Saving The World." The partnerships with
Horizon and UM suggest the program is gaining traction.
BuzzFeed does not directly charge the agencies for taking part.
In May, BuzzFeed said it did plan to require minimum budgets from
Mr. Perelman declined to discuss the financial arrangements of
its latest partnerships with Horizon and UM.
The relationships between BuzzFeed and Horizon and UM will
differ. Horizon will be part of the site's Storytelling program. A
marketing creative team from BuzzFeed -- not its editorial staff --
will work with Horizon employees how to produce highly shareable
But a focus of the program will be training with BuzzFeed's
analytics platform, where Horizon's people will learn how to better
measure and optimize content, according to Mr. Perelman. The agency
will also be able to create new content in real time.
"We'll do more of the data piece with Horizon, more of the
things that a media agency cares about and less of the creative
piece," said Mr. Perelman.
UM's deal with the publisher is slightly different. For
starters, the program is called BuzzFeed Studio, not Social
Storytelling. BuzzFeed will have access to UM's proprietary
audience-measurement platform metrics to calculate the
effectiveness of branded content. It will also incorporate a live
workshop in which a team of agency and BuzzFeed staffers produce
content for BuzzFeed in real-time in 24-hour periods.
"We'll be working hand-in-hand with them to create content,
which will be a little bit different from what we're doing with
Horizon," said Mr. Perelman. UM and Buzzfeed might also host
"hackathon" sessions with clients, the agency said.
Both UM and Horizon will receive "accreditation" from BuzzFeed
(including the company's cat badge) and supporting materials and
early previews of upcoming BuzzFeed features and products.
Mr. Perelman said the custom training with agencies is about
creating more than just a "one-hit" wonder post on behalf of a
"It's really taking a deeper understanding of why something
works and looking at the data and drawing insights to say this type
of content works really well on Facebook and this works better on
Pinterest," he explained.