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This Week on 'Re/code Decode': CEO Jonah Peretti Explains How BuzzFeed Won the Internet (Updated)

Peter Kafka found out that the site is neck-and-neck with Snapchat and Facebook in terms of where people are reading BuzzFeed content.


There isn’t really anyone who has been experimenting with virality on the Internet as long as Jonah Peretti.

You were probably momentarily flummoxed by his early stunts, such as the satirical website "Black People Love Us." He was still an executive at the Huffington Post when he founded BuzzFeed in 2006. And when AOL bought The Huffington Post in 2011, Peretti decided to go full-time with his viral-focused then-side project.

On this week’s "Re/code Decode," Peretti tells Re/code Senior Editor Peter Kafka the full story, and gives some details about what’s coming next.

For starters, don’t think of BuzzFeed as a publisher of a single website that has great social media chops. It’s a "fully integrated social platform" whose Snapchat and Instagram channels are as important as — if not more important than — its natively hosted stuff. Want proof? Peretti read aloud BuzzFeed’s traffic proportions on the show:

  • 23 percent: Direct to the site or apps
  • 14 percent: YouTube views
  • 2 percent: Google search to the site
  • 6 percent: Facebook traffic to the site
  • 27 percent: Facebook native video
  • 4 percent: Images on Facebook
  • 21 percent: Snapchat content views
  • 3 percent: Other distributed platforms

Update: BuzzFeed’s Ashley McCollum gave us details about that missing 3 percent (it’s from "other distributed platforms"), and she added some context to the audience numbers Peretti mentioned: "The percentage of ‘total content views’ means its an equalized view across pageviews, instagram, vines, YouTube, Facebook, Snapchat and other platforms, etc. etc." What McCollum is saying is that these percentages measure the total number of eyeballs looking at BuzzFeed content across all platforms (Snapchat, Facebook, the web and so on).

Peretti also talks about BuzzFeed’s recent deal with NBCUniversal and why the Olympics are a key part of it. Might BuzzFeed be working on a full-length movie? Maybe. ("It takes a long time to make movies. We don’t want executives to be distracted by the cycles of Hollywood.")

If you like what you hear, head over to "Re/code Replay," an archive of audio content from our events and other interviews like Kara Swisher’s with President Barack Obama and many others by Walt Mossberg, Peter Kafka, Ina Fried and more. We’ve already published about 30 episodes from past events, including all of the Code Conference 2015 sessions, and we’ll be adding more over time.

Every episode for both shows will be available in two places: On our site, at, and on Apple iTunes (here for "Re/code Decode" and here for "Re/code Replay"). We’ll also be adding more distributors soon, as well as new episodes weekly. And you can follow @recode for updates on upcoming guests.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes (and, if you don’t, just strafe Kara on Twitter). You can also suggest guests for the show there and we’ll try our best to get them for our Red Chair interview.

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