BuzzFeed targets DIY with Nifty, a platform-focused video brand

On the heels of a successful cooking vertical, BuzzFeed has launched another social-centric brand, Nifty, for DIYers. Nifty launched with a Facebook page on March 10, and in three weeks, already has nearly 4 million likes. Its Facebook page describes it as “Money-saving hacks and DIYs for upgrading your home and life that will have you saying, ‘Why didn’t I think of that?’”

With Nifty, BuzzFeed seems to be trying to replicate the growth of its Facebook-only cooking channel Tasty, which has blown up thanks to its made-for-social videos. Since it launched in July, Tasty’s Facebook page has amassed nearly 48 million Facebook likes and was the No. 1 video creator on the platform in December with 1 billion views on its instructional videos for comfort food like pizza bread boat and mini chicken pot pies, according to Tubular Labs.

Like Tasty, Nifty is centered around the short-form video format that Facebook has been prioritizing in people’s news feeds. The Nifty videos are instructional and have no sound but there’s the occasional text overlay, which makes sense because Facebook video is muted by default. It remains to be seen if DIY videos can match food’s appeal, but Nifty can always benefit from BuzzFeed’s enormous overall social reach to get promotion.

Already, some of Nifty’s videos are getting views comparable to those of Tasty, like this 50-second clip on how to make a cat tent, which had 27 million views in four days:

DIY Cat TentSee full written instructions here: Riceball, the cutest cat on earth

Posted by Nifty on Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Focusing on socially distributed content fits with the business model at BuzzFeed, which is less concerned with driving people back to its own site. The concern with building a brand on Facebook, of course, is that Facebook can at any time decide to change its formula for what content it surfaces, causing a publisher’s content to lose exposure. Last year, traffic to top Facebook publishers plunged 32 percent after an algorithm tweak. What Facebook giveth, it can taketh away.

A BuzzFeed rep said Nifty fits the publisher’s strategy of applying editorial know-how to the video side, based on audience interest in its DIY content.

Tasty, and now Nifty, represent somewhat of a departure from BuzzFeed’s past approach to growth. Until recently, BuzzFeed has amassed a huge audience by stretching its umbrella brand to new editorial content verticals like news, health and business.

BuzzFeed already has food and DIY sections under its BuzzFeed Life vertical, but the branding for Nifty and Tasty is deliberately stronger.

“We consider Tasty and Nifty to be franchises and know, for example, that some people who are obsessed with Tasty may not know it’s BuzzFeed — and that’s totally cool by us!” a rep said.

Other publishers, such as Vox Media and Bustle, have taken the view that the individual brand model is the best way to differentiate and bring authority to a new brand, especially at a time when so much of editorial content is consumed across social platforms and not on the publisher’s own site.

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