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BuzzFeed Had 65 Billion Video Views in 2017. But What Does That Mean for Ad Dollars?

BuzzFeed was the No. 1 media company in online video last year — delivering a whopping 64.8 billion views across Facebook and YouTube. But the extent to which BuzzFeed was able to monetize that traffic is another question.

About 110 BuzzFeed brands generated an aggregate of 57.4 billion Facebook video views and 7.4 billion on YouTube, according to full-year 2017 estimates by measurement firm Tubular Labs, released Tuesday.

But BuzzFeed generated revenue on only a fraction of the bulk of those views — particularly on Facebook, where branded-content deals are currently the predominant form of video monetization for third-party producers. According to Tubular Labs data, just 8% of BuzzFeed’s Tasty food channel views in 2017 were sponsored content. That’s still impressive: Tasty — which represents the biggest single BuzzFeed video property — delivered about 1 billion branded-content views, capturing the No. 1 spot among Facebook branded-content partners, but that was out of a total of 12.6 billion Facebook video views.

However, it’s worth noting that the Tubular data looks at “organic” branded content on Facebook; it doesn’t include “dark posts” — those not shared on the timeline and instead promoted through paid ads.

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Following BuzzFeed on Tubular Labs’ 2017 leaderboard among media companies was Time Warner, with 25.0 billion Facebook and 18.7 billion YouTube views. LADbible, a U.K. entertainment community targeting millennials, took the No. 3 spot with 51.3 billion Facebook views but just 31.6 million on YouTube.

Disney (across 770 creators) was in the No. 4 spot among global media companies with 20.6 billion Facebook and 23.1 billion YouTube views, followed by the U.K.’s UNILAD with 46 billion Facebook and 18.5 million YouTube views, according to Tubular Labs.

Among top Facebook branded-content partners, BuzzFeed’s Tasty was followed by Group Nine Media’s NowThis social-news publisher, with 406.4 million views; Jungle Creations’ VT, with 341.3 million; Turner’s Bleacher Report, with 305.0 million; and UNILAD, with 303.7 million.

All told, according to Tubular Labs, there were more than 10 trillion video views in 2017 — down from the more than 13 trillion it measured the year prior. Again, while big numbers are dazzling, the figures are not necessarily reflective of revenue trends or the economic health of the online-video sector.

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