Ahead of the Social Intelligence Summit: Spotlight on Will Hayward, BuzzFeed

Posted by: in Analytics, Communication, Communication Strategy, Corporate and Strategy, Marketing Insights, Organizational Communications, Social Commerce, Social Media Insights & Trends, twist, w20 group, W2O Group on October 2, 2014

With less than a week to go till the Social Intelligence Summit, 8th October, London City Hall, the team at W2O Group are looking forward to welcoming you and our speakers.

Register here to attend the event!
We look forward to you joining us.

Register here to join the live webcast!
We will be live streaming from the summit in order to make it truly global, no matter what time zone or location you are in you will be able to watch at your convenience.

We are excited to hear more in-depth insights from our speakers next week, but first wanted to give you a ‘sneak peek’ into how some of these leaders’ in the industry are thinking about social intelligence:

Here’s Will Hayward, VP of BuzzFeed Europe, had to say:


  •  How is social intelligence driving decision making at Buzzfeed?
    Social intelligence and data analysis are key to BuzzFeed’s success. In some senses we are a traditional media company – we have a large team of journalists, editors and researchers much like many other publications. What separates us, I believe, is how we use our large engineering and data science team to support and inform our content creation. Editors have real time feedback on what is getting shared and on which platforms. Whilst we might not use the term internally, I’d say “social intelligence” is an accurate way to describe one of our core value propositions.
    What is equally crucial, however, is not being a slave to the data. Getting the balance between the art and science is crucial. Data informs what we do but doesn’t dictate it.
  • What other brands – in any sector – do you consider to be truly ‘social businesses’?
    Spotify is another example of a business operating in a traditional sector, but specifically invented for the social web. If you speak to the team there, they are equally passionate about music and tech, and about how they can reimagine the music listening experience and the business model that supports it.
  • What are some of the missed opportunities for brands not harnessing social insights?
    I think brands have correctly realised that their presence on social is extremely important. However, I’d also argue some have stumbled into social without necessarily analysing the best way they can use the different platforms. At BuzzFeed, we have dedicated teams for the different networks. This might not be an option for every company, but it is an illustration of how much it is possible to go beyond “we need to set up a Facebook page”.
  • What social intelligence or content trends are you observing now, or do you anticipate emerging in 2015?
    There is clearly a big shift going on as brands move away from traditional push marketing (online banner ads) towards content creation and distribution. I think this will only increase, and I think we’ll see more and more brands focusing on traditional formats like video, but built specifically for the social web, rather than just edited TV ads put on Facebook.
  • What are your personal social platforms of choice, and why?
    I’m a big fan of Twitter and Facebook. I like Linkedin, but probably slightly less than I used to.
  • What was your first concert?
    The Offspring with two older, cooler kids. I had no idea who the band were and was totally out of my depth. I spent most of the night denying the fact that my clothes were all from Marks & Spencer.


By: Hollie Matthews

Director at W2O Group

Find me on: Twitter
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