Buzzfeed is losing the buzz - announces layoffs, and ad restructuring

Buzzfeed has long been the advertising agency darling of the digital native advertising trend, thanks to extensive tours of ad agencies around the world. But even their most recent tour of Shoreditch in London didn't manage to stop the slowdown, and now Buzzfeed has said it is laying off about 100 employees in the U.S. That's less than 10% of their global workforce, but the company is also restructuring ad sales “amid a tough digital media market.” In other words, ad agencies no longer believe the hype. The “tough time” that Buzzfeed claims is in the broader digital media marketplace doesn't ring true for everyone. Brian Wieser at Pivotal research forecast +21% growth for digital ad growth in 2017.

Still, for all the risks that follow from these issues, we don't think they will observably impact digital ad growth at this time. This is largely because performance-based marketing is increasingly common, as businesses with digital-centric business models take share (as with Dollar Shave Club vs. Gillette) and concentrate spending on digital media. In total, we forecast +21% growth for the medium in 2017.

In an email to the company's staff, CEO Jonah Peretti - who learned about virals from his Nike Sweatshop stunt - announced that Greg Coleman is stepping down as BuzzFeed’s president and would take on an advisory role instead. The cuts will not affect the Buzzfeed news teams directly, instead, advertising sales should be concerned.

Mediapost reported last week that the U.S. ad market was up by 7% in October, boosted by digital. So it's not that digital ad spend is going away, Buzzfeed. It's just not going to you.

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kidsleepy's picture

Why would it? And more importantly, why would brands engage at all? They're a content farm that constantly recycle the same listicles over and over again. And when they do it in "partnership," with a brand it's usually even more mediocre and phoned in. Not sure why anyone would waste spending their ad dollars with them at this point in time.

copyranter's picture

Yep, worked there 18 months, told them to their faces in 2013 their native listicle bullshit wouldn't work in the long run.

Dabitch's picture

Yep the writing as on the wall already back then, and they should have listened to you. Meh.

Mr Roboto's picture

In hindsight, when you were let go from Buzzfeed, the downward spiral became really apparent. It's a content bubble. It can not last.

Dabitch's picture

Your grade A advertising snark at Buzzfeed was like pearls before swine.

Anonymous Adgrunt's picture

They should have listened to you!

Dabitch's picture

Not sure why this comment section is getting hit with comments again, but if y'all miss the one and only Copyranter, you will find him at a substack these days:

Mishkin's picture

Good news!!! I hope they go under!

Mr Roboto's picture

I hope they go under soon. I'm fed up with listicles made by stealing cat gifs from Reddit.

Dabitch's picture

Haha, they're still alive but if you look at older articles that still reach very high in Google search results, all the gifs are gone.