What Brands Can Learn From Buzzfeed’s Tracking Tool “Pound”

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Pound, which stands for Process for Optimizing and Understanding Network Diffusion, is the secret weapon that viral content website BuzzFeed developed in order to track content attribution beyond just counting social media shares and clicks. By tracking content sharing as “an oscillating, anonymous hash in a sharer’s URL as a UTM code”, the tool enables BuzzFeed to track how a story travels between users across social networks or platforms, without collecting personally identifiable information.

A true cross-platform tracking tool, Pound reveals new insights into attribution by tapping into its inherent tree structure that traditional web analytics are unequipped to capture. One major insight Buzzfeed shared is that social networks can drive an entire “downstream cascade” type of sharing. This has led Buzzfeed to develop a different publishing process, in which a core team of people making content pushes that content to different platforms, including the website, the Buzzfeed app, or sometimes YouTube, with varied priority. Moreover, BuzzFeed claims that sponsored content is shared just like regular editorial content.