The Big Story: BuzzFeed Goes Public

The Big Story podcast

There’s a point at which #adulting just becomes, well, being an adult. BuzzFeed made that transition when it went public this week, a decade and a half after the company was founded.

BuzzFeed today spans not just the eponymous website, but also HuffPost and Complex Networks. According to founder and CEO Jonah Peretti, more acquisitions are ahead.

In the meantime, though, BuzzFeed is dealing with an IPO in an ice-cold SPAC market. Ninety-five percent of SPAC investors withdrew from the offering, meaning BuzzFeed raised far less money than anticipated.

Who knows, maybe BuzzFeed will trade well on Robin Hood.

But although Wall Street didn’t embrace BuzzFeed with open arms, advertisers are. BuzzFeed is playing in an incredibly hot advertising market and posting strong growth numbers in its advertising business.

Then again, so is everyone else.

Digital advertising is experiencing the strongest growth in the history of advertising, according to GroupM’s year-end industry forecast. The digital ad market this yar will grow even faster than expected in June.

Platforms are taking the overwhelming share of that growth, but there’s still a few slices of pie left for independent media and ad tech.

Within digital advertising, connected TV is growing fast. But Brian Wieser, GroupM’s global head of business intelligence and author of the report, warned that “direct advertising” opportunities on CTV will decline.

To reach streaming viewers, advertisers will need to get inventive with techniques like product replacement, not just 15-second spots. And ad tech companies and CTV apps will need to develop similarly creative opportunities to amass more marketing ad dollars in supply constrained, ad-light environments.

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