Tumblr Teens, BuzzFeed Video, AMP and Crowdcultures

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Image via New Republic

Welcome to the eNewsletter you never subscribed to. 

The Secret Lives of Tumblr Teens: This is the story of how a group of teens on Tumblr became famous for writing internet jokes, recruited a few hundred kids, gained an estimated 35 millions followers and earned millions of dollars. These are the kids that the head of Tumblr’s culture and trends called “the most brilliant digital strategists” and “better marketers than anyone in the game right now.” Yes, I said teenagers. Here’s an excerpt:

Tumblr teens need to be sophisticated about making money, and they have clever tactics to increase traffic and followers and revenue, often helping each other to game Google AdSense. Why game AdSense? Tumblr users are allowed to put banner ads on their sites, but most users access Tumblr through the dashboard feed, where only Tumblr’s sponsored posts can go. So that means most eyes, and the most dedicated fans, rarely if ever see those banner ads.

I Changed My Mind: You know how I’ve been writing that Facebook is taking steps towards total world domination? I changed my mind. It’s BuzzFeed. It’s really no surprise because Jonah Peretti is a content mastermind (see also: instant articles). Now BuzzFeed has launched a new video app, aptly named BuzzFeed Video. It’s super straightforward: just a feed of the site’s top short videos. It’s so simple, it’s genius.

You’ll Never Believe This—Google Wants Users to Stay on Google: To encourage web users to stay on the web (as opposed to switching over to apps), Google will now start giving preference to pages built with its fast-loading technology, Accelerated Mobile Pages or AMP. Guess who’s already working with Google on the AMP rollout? BuzzFeed.

Marketing in the Age of Social Media: This piece in the HBR posits that crowdcultures, the phenomenon of digital crowds serving as innovators of culture, are driving marketing wins in the age of social media. The article’s author Douglas Holt argues that branded content used to work in the age of print and TV because competition was limited. Now that social media has entered the game, however, anyone can produce content, so the competition is much higher, not to mention users can actively choose not to view your content. Holt asserts that in the age of social media, brands succeed when they embrace a specific ideology, sustaining cultural relevance by playing off of contentious topics. Here’s an excerpt:

To brand effectively with social media, companies should target crowdcultures. Today, in pursuit of relevance, most brands chase after trends. But this is a commodity approach to branding: Hundreds of companies are doing exactly the same thing with the same generic list of trends. It’s no wonder consumers don’t pay attention. By targeting novel ideologies flowing out of crowdcultures, brands can assert a point of view that stands out in the overstuffed media environment.

The article goes on to provide examples of how brands in the personal care category—Dove, Axe and Old Spice—have excelled with consumers by advocating for specific gender ideologies. Holt ends with a poignant warning: “Companies need to shift their focus away from the platforms themselves and toward the real locus of digital power—crowdcultures.”

I think this is an important reminder as to why we need to stay up to date on more than just industry trends. We need to listen to what people are actually talking about. Every single brand is jumping on what’s “trending.” What can we say that’s truly adding value to the cultural conversation?

Stay classy, nerds.

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