In a report published by fastcompany.com, BuzzFeed was named 2016’s Most Innovative Company of the Year.

But what makes a company a leader in digital innovation in such a fast-paced, digital world?

BuzzFeed integrated video into its online presence at a fairly early stage and in a very different way, compared to its competition. Video now makes up over 80% of the Internet with YouTube being the second biggest search engine after Google, so it’s fair to say that grabbing a slice of the video pie will work wonders for your business.

Not only producing video, but quality, regular video is where BuzzFeed gets it spot on. Their dedicated ‘BuzzFeed Video’ YouTube account has everything from the ‘Try Guys’ eating ‘weird’ food, to inspiring displays of human kindness. And in a world where our attention spans are no longer than 4 minutes, these quick, current and feel good videos really resonate with their 85 million users.

And now video is now part and parcel of BuzzFeed’s general online presence, and it’s working. I mean they got 807,000 people watching a live video of two people putting elastic bands around a watermelon until it exploded… You can’t argue with those kinds of stats.

Which brings us to number 2 on the list: Facebook.

The social media giant earned one of the top spots for ‘Not letting size get in the way of acting like a start-up’. I’m not sure I agree with the justification since I’m not sure what kind of start-up has over 1 billion users and the money to take over two other large social platforms and Oculus Rift… But nevertheless, Facebook is deserving of its title in digital innovation. Much like BuzzFeed, the early adoption and integration of video use has really helped it along (see the example of pointless live video engagement above), and with auto play granting businesses view counts after a measly 3 seconds, compared to YouTube’s 30 – it’s a digital marketing dream.

Also, by splitting the Facebook Messenger app from the main Facebook app, the brand gained another 800 million user platform. And although Facebook has recently got into some hot water surrounding the actual ownership of Oculus Rift, they have definitely adopted a new digital trend before it really takes off. I’m almost certain if Virtual Reality carries on like it did toward the end of last year, 2017 is really going to be the year we flex our muscles with VR capabilities.

Third on the list was CVS Health…

…an American health care company that has embraced digital with its own Digital Innovation Lab in Boston, creating an integrated Apple Watch-compatible app so you can scan your prescriptions and set reminders to take your tablets. CVS also partnered with IBM to use an AI system to predict which customers need interventions to avoid further or occurring health problems.

So being universally regarded as one of the top innovators in business takes forethought, dedication, and a lot of courage. Spotting trends before they’re ‘trendy’ and putting them out there shows that you, as a business, have what it takes to go the distance.

For the full list of 2016’s top innovative companies, click here.

Cornerstone DM