Dao Nguyen got a big promotion Tuesday. She’s now BuzzFeed’s publisher, a title that means something a whole lot different than it used to in the media world. But that media world is a whole lot different too, in no small part because of Nguyen.
As BuzzFeed’s head of growth and data, Nguyen is credited with orchestrating the by-the-numbers approach that has made the site explode to more than 150 million users a month and changed the way we consume media. Before a listicle gets posted or a headline goes viral, it’s gone through BuzzFeed’s testing system, orchestrated by Nguyen.
“Data should not dictate your strategy,” Nguyen says, “But you should understand what data tells you and also what its limits are.”
Nguyen and her team have used that data to figure out how and why we share content, and it’s led to some surprising discoveries.
“Women share at a much higher rate than men, and when I talk about that now at a conference or with other people I say women share more than men online as it is in life. But men click at the same rate as women,” Nguyen says. “So women will start the conversation and men will participate. If you think about it in the context of just regular human people, it isn’t that surprising.”
Nguyen says she spends her days deep in sprea sheets and data, but her team thinks about people all the time. “That’s our competitive advantage.”
She now has a seat at BuzzFeed’s leadership table, and Nguyen is pretty confident in the company’s future.
“I think that BuzzFeed has a great opportunity to become the pre-eminent media for the social age.”
There’s a lot happening in the world. Through it all, Marketplace is here for you.
You rely on Marketplace to break down the world’s events and tell you how it affects you in a fact-based, approachable way. We rely on your financial support to keep making that possible.
Your donation today powers the independent journalism that you rely on. For just $5/month, you can help sustain Marketplace so we can keep reporting on the things that matter to you.