Food is universal. We all love food, and it if looks good, even better. In some sense, food isn’t just food, it can be culture, traditions, fond memories, a reason to gather with friends, family, and loved ones. We all eat to live, but the thinking seems to have shifted to “living to eat.” Though many of us may have limited cooking repertoires, social media easily grants us access to thousands of unique recipes that are quick and easy enough to replicate at home.
I am scrolling through my Facebook newsfeed and the next thing you know, the chicken enchilada casserole is fresh out of the oven and I’m breaking a sweat, whipping up a no-bake Pina Colada cheesecake. If you have wandered on Facebook at all in the last two years, chances are you have encountered these short, 1-minute videos of food recipes ranging from sugary treats to savory entrees and everything in between (think Cotton Candy Grape Frozen Daiquiri?!). The explosion of food content on popular channels like Tasty, Tastemade, and Tip Hero in the last year is quite simply, astonishing. BuzzFeed’s Tasty stands tall with a mammoth 71 million likes on Facebook, while Tastemade and Tip Hero have equally impressive stats with 20 million and 17 million a piece on Facebook respectively. How have these channels amassed such huge followings and why are they so popular?
Optimized for Facebook
Channels like Tasty are tailor-made for Facebook and make effective use of the platform to drive both likes and engagement. As you are scrolling through the newsfeed, Facebook’s autoplay feature kicks in and now you’re drooling from the mouth over a video of pumpkin cinnamon rolls that you didn’t even know you wanted in the first place. It’s great. Channels like Tasty also benefit from only publishing content on Facebook, as the platform’s algorithm favors anything that keeps people on Facebook longer, rather than sending them away to another site.
Similarly, these videos are short, often around a minute or less. Quick, simple, and straight to the point videos are the right ingredients for winning over a crowd of millennials with non-existent attention spans and a willingness to procrastinate from the responsibilities of school or work. In turn, users often share these videos on their own timelines to save as a quick reference for later and share with their own friends on Facebook. Many users also tag their friends on these videos with comments like “omg this looks amazing, let’s make it this weekend”, or “This would be perfect for our Thanksgiving party”, etc. As this cycle continues, these videos quickly rack up millions of views and thousands of likes and comments. Tasty currently has a total of over 8 billion views, and counting.
In a sea of endless content overload, there is something oddly satisfying, and relaxing, about watching ingredients come together to form a beautiful dish in under a minute. It’s easy, non-committal, and a nice break from the chaos and turmoil that regularly fill our newsfeed. Andrew Gauthier, executive producer and creative director for BuzzFeed Motion Pictures says
So much of what we do on social platforms is about connecting with friends and family, making plans, documenting experiences, and sharing things we love…and food is connected to all of those things. From family dinners to date nights to brunches with friends, food is just naturally something people share, so it makes sense that people would be excited to share food videos
The extreme popularity of Tasty prompted executives at BuzzFeed to expand their food empire to reach other parts of the world with unique cuisines. Niche spinoffs like Proper Tasty for the U.K., Bien Tasty for Mexico, Tasty Demais for Brazil, and Tasty Japan have found great success among these global audiences.
How does Tasty and other similar channels make money? From the video content they produce, a select number are “made-for-advertisers” videos that Ashley McCollum, BuzzFeed Tasty Global GM, says
have a lot to offer commercially, with the format blending mobile, social, and video components to attract huge millennial audiences…Advertisers come to us for social, branded content. It’s what we do best. Tasty is a good fit for CPG food and beverage products – they are at the core of our success
Tasty has successfully partnered with brands like Nestlé, Nutella, Purina, and Triscuit, among others. Tasty has even partnered with Oster for a recipe video featuring one of their grills. That particular video was so successful that within hours, the grill had sold out on both Amazon and Target.com. Similarly, Tasty partnered with Butter Fingers for a video that ultimately drove more search results for the brand than any other marketing effort this year, including its Super Bowl ad.
Tasty continues to grow and expand, whether that is churning out new content or expanding their food empire by creating new spinoffs for different countries. Many media companies and brands themselves are following Tasty’s footsteps in sharing recipes featuring brands in a manner that is organic and accessible for users. As Tasty expands into new markets and platforms like Instagram and Snapchat, one can only wonder if Tasty will be able to maintain this success without becoming too overexposed and intrusive as many popular trends often do. Until then however, I’m going to bake some cookies.