You might have seen a lot of short cooking videos shared on social media recently. Many of these come from Tasty, a brand created by BuzzFeed. How did BuzzFeed turn these ordinary cooking videos into a successful brand? Read this social media case study to find out the delicious details.
BuzzFeed launched the Tasty brand back in July 2015 via a dedicated Facebook page. The page’s main content is short cooking videos following a distinct format:
The Tasty brand has since released more than 2,000 videos, attracting more than 1.8 billion views across its channels. While the original Facebook page still has the largest following at 89 million, Tasty also has a significant presence on other platforms:
BuzzFeed has expanded the brand with several sub-brands, each focusing on its own topic:
All these segments add variety to the content that the brand generates.
As a seeming testament to the popularity of its videos, the Tasty content format has been copied by other brands. This content style isn’t even limited to cooking videos, as it has also been applied to other DIY videos.
One of the major reasons social media case studies cite for Buzzfeed Tasty’s success is it taking advantage of the video autoplay function that most social media platforms have. The videos they create are optimized for the feature:
More than just hinging on a single social media feature, Tasty also conducts extensive cross-promotions. Each of the brand’s channels contributes to increasing the visibility of its videos and attracting more viewers.
Much of the content of Tasty’s YouTube channel is the same as those on its Facebook. They do have some unique content, such as special recipes or features like this one:
What makes the Tasty YouTube channel a great complement to its main page and its website is how it presents the videos. To help viewers better understand a particular dish’s cooking process, a detailed recipe is provided in the video’s description box. The written recipes also provide more ideas and inspiration. All of these resources come in handy for those who want to try the recipes themselves.
The Tasty channel also organizes the videos into distinct YouTube Playlists. Each playlist is centered around a specific theme. This makes it easier to locate a specific recipe, and takes advantage of YouTube’s autoplay function by quickly bringing in the next video on the playlist. This helps them rack up serious view numbers.
Tasty mainly uses its Twitter account to promote a new video to its loyal followers. They always show the video, and provide a link to the Tasty website where there is a full recipe for the dish. The brand also sends out event announcements via the platform.
Moreover, Tasty uses Twitter as a quick means of recirculating its content. It does not tweet a specific video just once. Instead, the brand reposts the same content from time to time. This gives the videos a lot more mileage. To avoid looking like it is just spamming, Tasty times the reuse of content to coincide with certain events.
Leftover Thanksgiving Egg Rolls https://t.co/lCyVE2ASKC
— Tasty (@tasty) November 23, 2015
Aside from being another channel to distribute its videos on, Tasty also utilizes Twitter as a means to quickly connect and engage with their followers. People can tweet questions about the featured recipe and the brand’s team immediately responds. This has allowed it to quickly grow its presence on the platform and further draw interest to its content.
Tasty’s Pinterest page slightly breaks the brand’s mold of focusing solely on video content. Instead, it populates its boards with both video and image pins. The video pins play as normal while the image pins lead to either Tasty’s website, or back to its Facebook page. This makes for a more varied experience for users while also driving more traffic to said pages.
To make it easier for its followers to sift through the many pins, Tasty organizes everything into boards.
Each board is defined by a certain theme, such as “Pasta” or “Dinner.” There are also boards dedicated to some of the sub-brands under Tasty. The boards mostly reflect the same organization that Tasty uses on other platforms, creating consistency. They also create unique boards for specific events.
In keeping with Pinterest’s nature of being a platform for idea discovery, Tasty also encourages its followers to share their own ideas, tapping into the 200 million-strong platform’s creative users. People can give tips and suggestions on how to improve the recipe presented on each pin. They can also talk about their own variations of the dish right there.
Tasty was born out of BuzzFeed’s research on what length of video content would have the best chance of becoming popular on social media. BuzzFeed Entertainment Group President Ze Frank revealed that they determined that 40 seconds was the “Sweet spot.”
Progressing from that idea, the company formed its “FB40” team who fleshed out Tasty’s initial content. The video below is one of the first videos they released after testing:
By compressing an entire cooking demo into a video just a minute or so long, Tasty’s videos have become a convenient means for its audience to quickly learn specific recipes, and see whether or not they actually want to attempt them.
Note that there are many factors that can affect how brief you can make your content. The amount of information you want to put in is one factor. By focusing only on the most important pieces, you can keep everything to a short length. Also, note that the 40-second sweet spot might not exactly apply to your content. Use it as a baseline in determining the most suitable length for your video content.
Food is itself already an engaging topic to anyone. Tasty chose to focus more on the recipes that best suit BuzzFeed’s younger audience. As such, there are a lot of pizzas, snacks, and cakes in its repertoire.
By having a clear focus on your target audience, you will be able to effectively attract them towards your brand. Go beyond just demographics and explore their personal preferences, such as their tastes in food or specific hobbies. All of these will give you an opening to present your brand to them in a more relevant manner.
Most of Tasty’s social media presence is centered on its Facebook page, but it has also expanded to other platforms. In entering these other channels, the brand carefully adapted its content to suit each site’s specific orientations. This can be most seen in Tasty’s Pinterest Page, which actively promotes its contents as inspiration for its audience.
It is important to carefully choose which social media channels to use. Focus on the ones where your target audience can be most commonly found. Once you have found the right channels, use services like Devumi’s YouTube Views to quickly build the prominence of your content and attract an audience. You will then be able to expand faster, and truly build an online content empire.
Another important key to Tasty’s success is that its content is well-optimized for mobile. The short length is important, but that is not the only part of their success. The visual design of the videos also helps in this. In particular, the square screen by which the videos are framed means people don’t have to reorient their phones just to watch them.
By taking mobile into account, BuzzFeed was able to create a “bring it anywhere” aspect for the Tasty brand. Think about it; who wants to have their whole computer sitting right on the kitchen counter? No one! They want their phone.
This idea can be applied to almost any form of content. You can also further emphasize this by creating mobile apps that can be used anywhere, something that Tasty has recently released.
Pretty sure the highlight of my week so far was learning there is a @tasty app.
— Britt (@heyyitsbrittani) September 14, 2017
I just downloaded the @tasty app and I've never been this excited to cook and mildly terrified for my bathroom scale 😂😂
— bellisima 🌹 (@b0mbshell___) September 12, 2017
Let’s just say that it has gone over well. Perhaps they would do even better if they used Twitter Cards for apps.
While Tasty creates almost all of its content, that doesn’t stop the brand from encouraging its followers to share their own thoughts and ideas. This can be anything from simple tips on the recipe, to photos showing finished products. The brand has also encouraged discussions around the food videos that it shares.
This is important as a deeply involved community of followers will increase the likelihood that your content gets shared to more people. An enthusiastic community will help promote your brand.
The success of BuzzFeed’s Tasty cooking videos has been a popular subject for many social media case studies. Many marketers can learn quite a lot from their marketing style. Go ahead and watch them and discover a thing or two that you can apply to your own social media marketing campaigns.