It shouldn’t be too surprising why I have selected Buzzfeed as a case study for effective reaction tools: drawing over half a billion page views, and over 160 million people this month, Buzzfeed effectively attracts and maintains an eager audience to its site.
Google is filled with posts analyzing Buzzfeed’s recipe for viral content. Instead of investing the content itself, I will explore the ways in which Buzzfeed allows users to react to its content. Though this explores less of the ‘attracting users’ side of Buzzfeed’s success, it can help explain how Buzzfeed has been able to maintain its audience and even build a community around its website.
Buzzfeed also offers some pretty unique tools for users to react to their content, like their ‘reaction buttons’ and ‘gif reactions’. I will go through 3 of these noteworthy reaction tools, and provide some takeaways for your boosting engagement on your website:
1) Buzzfeed Badges
What it is:
You can find the reaction buttons on the top of the Buzzfeed page. The buttons allow users to choose the type of content they want to read based on 7 categories: 6 yellow buttons which are sorted from users reaction to the post (lol, win, omg, cute, fail, wtf) and the red arrow which shows what content is trending.
Standard news sites allow users to sort their content based on topic, but the Buzzfeed reaction buttons allow users to sort their content based on a ‘reaction’ to the content. Rather than deciding they want to read an article about art or science, users can select an article that will make them laugh, surprise them, or give them a warm fuzzy feeling. Though the buttons themselves – lol, win, omg, cute, fail, wtf – are very particular to the Buzzfeed brand, think of ways in which your users can select content based on the emotional response they want to experience.
2) Your Reaction?
What it is:
Buzzfeed asks users to react to the content based on 11 potential responses (<3, </3, OMG, WTF, FAIL, TRASHY, LOL, CUTE, EW, WIN, YAAASS). The choices are fun and reflect the Buzzfeed style while allowing users to respond in a variety of ways.
Though the binary facebook “like” button may have some benefits, giving users more reaction options, not only allows them to engage with the content in a new way, but also provides you, the content creator, a fuller measure of responses. Humans are more complex then just “liking” or “not liking” a post, so use a reaction metric that allows for a wider range of feelings.
Want “You Reactions” for your website? Unfortunately, Buzzfeed does not provide the code for their version, but luckily there is a great substitute from Vicomi!
See one of the design themes below:
Learn more here.
3) React with a Gif
What it is:
Buzzfeed also allows users to react to their content in the form of an animal gif. How do you feel about the Buzzfeed’s ‘Top 10 TV characters’ article? Is it best expressed as a Sloth yawning, or perhaps a cat riding a mini motor boat saying ‘win’?
Gifs have been popular on the web for the past couple of years, especially in places like comment section. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a gif must be worth even more. Whether it is a specific action or facial expression, gifs can often express a feeling in a deeper way then can be expressed through text alone. Though the Buzzfeed gifs are still limited and not widely used, the idea behind it is still strong. Think of ways in which your audience can react to your content beyond plain text, whether its with still images, gifs, or video clips.
Buzzfeed provides users with a variety of ways to interact and react to their content. Providing all these options not only gives Buzzfeed a more complex understanding of their content but allows users to respond in a variety of ways.
Use Buzzfeed as inspiration, and don’t limit your site to the simple “like” buttons and standard comment sections. Explore new ways for users to react to your content, so you can build an enthusiastic fan base as Buzzfeed has successfully done.