BuzzFeed Makes First Acquisition, Buys Kingfish Labs

Company brings Facebook data expertise to social publisher

With so much focus on its editorial endeavors, BuzzFeed keeps it fairly quiet on the product and development side.

Yet for the much-hyped online publisher, there is work happening behind the scenes. Today, with its acquisition of Kingfish Labs, a Facebook data company, BuzzFeed opened up the kimono slightly, delivering a glimpse inside potential social growth and revenue strategies.

Kingfish and BuzzFeed hail from similar backgrounds as BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti and Kingfish's founders Jeff Revesz and Rob Fishman all worked at the Huffington Post, which Peretti helped to co-found. And the connections don't stop there. Last March, Kingfish raised $500,000 with help from Lerer Ventures for a Facebook dating app called Yoke. Lerer, of course was also a Huffington Post co-founder and is the current chairman of BuzzFeed.

While the partnership makes sense from a personal angle, BuzzFeed is also banking on Kingfish's technology to be a valuable revenue generator for the company as it continues to buy sponsored stories on Facebook to drive viral traffic.

While neither party would comment on the terms of the deal, which a spokeswoman confirmed was announced at a company meeting in New York this afternoon, Jon Steinberg, BuzzFeed president and COO told Adweek via email that the acquisition of Kingfish will "allow BuzzFeed to extend its leadership in buying sponsored stories to extend the reach of content-driven social advertising."

Steinberg notes that Kingfish's technology, which works to processes language used on Facebook to characterize the interests of individuals, will be an asset to help enhance BuzzFeed's social ad targeting. "We're going to use that same technology to understand the interests of users on Facebook and show them the sponsored stories that are most relevant to their interests," he wrote.

Steinberg also noted that similar technology will be applied to Twitter.