5 Lessons from Viral Recipe Videos
We're at peak Tasty video. You know what I'm talking about: those videos taking over your Facebook feed, where faceless humans put together ooey gooey treats. After the thirty seconds or so that it takes to whip up the recipe, the word "Tasty" flashes across the screen. Everyone watches them--whether they like it or not--thanks to Facebook's autoplay feature. And the videos rack up literally billions of views.
Brands are scrambling to get in on the game. Just last week it was announced that Mondelez was partnering with Buzzfeed, who produces these videos, in order to create content around their food brands. But as we see with most food trends, there's likely an expiration date on the popularity of these videos. Even toast, the trend we thought would never go away, may be going the way of the cupcake, according to Food52.
Obviously the videos are immensely popular, though. So even if it might be too late to go viral by making your own Tasty-style videos (trust us: everyone's trying to do this!), instead let's look at the broader takeaways. Together, maybe, we can come up with the next Tasty.
Two things: firstly, there's never a face in these videos, only hands that could belong to anybody. Similarly, ask any of your friends and very few of them will know that these videos are produced by Buzzfeed. By feeling unattached to any person or brand, the videos spread like wildfire. A person only has to make one decision before clicking "like" or "share." And that decision boils down to, do I like this experience? They don't have to identify with the person behind the camera nor the brand at the helm.
Keep It Simple & Comfy
People love seeing a video that takes less cooking, but more assembly. And cheesy comfort food or yummy sweets do better than healthy meals, by far. Take a look at the snapshot of the above, recently published Tasty videos to see what I mean. Pomegranate Wild Rice Salad received approximately 600,000 fewer likes than the most-liked video, Puff Pastry Four Ways. (For the record, that puff pastry came straight from the package! Assembly!)
Take Advantage of Social Algorithms
Part of what helped these videos take off was timing. Facebook started prioritizing video in the past year, making room for livestreaming along with setting up autoplay in timelines. Tasty videos appeared right in time to take advantage of the new settings. Brands should not only be thinking about how to use new features like Facebook Live or new channels like Snapchat, keeping an eye out for how they can use these to blast their content to more and more users.
Give Credit Where Credit is Due
It's important not only to look at the good, but also the criticisms of any phenomenon in order to protect yourself and your food brand from making the same mistakes. The biggest criticism of Tasty videos have been their unwillingness to credit their recipe sources. A story on CBS showed the Tasty team finding recipes "on Pinterest," but never cited that those Pinterest recipes came from somewhere. Usually hard-working bloggers.
It's Not All About Traffic
I loved this point made in an article by Forbes on the Tasty topic.
"Tasty and Proper Tasty are early steps in BuzzFeed’s strategy of publishing content directly to social media outlets like Facebook, Pinterest, Snapchat, and Instagram, rather than posting links to stories on BuzzFeed.com. Unlike conventional thinking at most media organizations, BuzzFeed is less concerned about driving traffic back to its website."
If you're exploring content for your brand (or maybe your brand is all about great content already), remember that not everything needs to boil down to traffic to your site. There are other ways to make a splash and to monetize, once you crack the formula.