How Buzzfeed and Shopify Push Affiliate Marketing to a New Level

Buzzfeed is one of those companies to keep an eye on. In a world increasingly dominated by platforms, in the case of online retail more specifically marketplaces, every company needs a grasp on the bandwidth of approaches to thrive with and on those platform; or beside them. And what everyone else is successfully doing.

Buzzfeed is the most successful (and the most deliberate) platform surfer in the media space. And they keep pushing into e-commerce as a middle-man.

Recode on Buzzfeed and Shopify:

Over the past year, the popular online publisher has built a 12-person team that’s churning out pieces like “26 Useful Gifts College Grads Will Actually Want” and “19 Subscription Boxes For People Who Don’t Want To Grow Up” that they hope readers will share on social networks as much as they do its regular posts.

But unlike other BuzzFeed posts, these are crafted exclusively to drive sales to partners like Amazon and other retailers, from which BuzzFeed earns a cut of the sale through so-called affiliate links.

This section isn’t pretending to be The Wirecutter, the well-respected product review site built on affiliate fees that the New York Times spent more than $30 million last year to acquire.

​Buzzfeed is building its own proprietary tool (Raising the question why this doesn’t already exist. Hello shop tech world, anybody home?):

BuzzFeed just built its own software tool that helps onboard more shopping sites that give BuzzFeed a cut of sales, and to help its writers estimate how much revenue a certain post will generate.

​A shop tech provider like Shopify, which partners with Buzzfeed, should have such a tool ready already to integrate into, say WordPress, and other content management systems:

The first partner integrating with BuzzFeed’s new tool is Shopify, a public company whose software is used by about 400,000 businesses to create and run independent online shops. Shopify merchants that opt in will make their merchandise searchable to the BuzzFeed writers crafting these posts.

The tool allows the writers to sort through all eligible Shopify products by filters such as trending items or ones that have recently dropped in price. With one click, they can add a given product to a post.

​Buzzfeed expects Shopify mechants to offer Buzzfeed from 10 to 25 percent. This is high, but Buzzfeed offers a significant boost to those merchants if one of those posts goes viral.

[BuzzFeed commerce chief Ben Kaufman] hopes that Shopify is just the first of many e-commerce partners that eventually sign up for what could essentially become a proprietary BuzzFeed affiliate network. One could imagine the potential for similar deals with other e-commerce platforms such as BigCommerce or perhaps marketplaces like Etsy.

One may remember Kaufman as the founder and former CEO of social invention platform Quirky.

​More on this topic:

​* How BuzzFeed, Time Inc. Are Using Facebook Messenger Bots to Create Gift Guides
​* Everything the Internet Did to Media Will Happen to Retail
​* From Caterpillar to Butterfly: Amazon, eBay & Zalando’s Services Revenues Explosion


  1. […] How Buzzfeed and Shopify Push Affiliate Marketing to a New Level […]


  2. […] Buzzfeed channel, of which we talked about here, has now offically been introduced. The main points from Shopify’s introduction of the new […]


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