In the summer of 2015, Buzzfeed, a social news and entertainment company headquartered in New York introduced a novel Facebook-only cooking platform and named it Tasty. If you’re a social media buff, you’ve probably come across Tasty’s super-short recipe snippets, featuring a pair of hands spiritedly moulding ingredients into the most lip-smacking treats ever.
By September 2016, a year and two months after the launch of the sensational video channel, Tasty had become the third-most viewed video account on Facebook, having garnered close to a whopping 1.7 billion views. And by the last quarter of 2016, the viewership for a single video sat at an average of 22.8 million; no mean feat for a company whose original specialty was spread across a variety of formats. Today, Tasty contributes to more than 37% of total video views on the Buzzfeed network, powering a large part of the Buzzfeed machinery.
How Buzzfeed is Diversifying Through Tasty
Impressive? Very. But there’s more. Tasty’s success story wouldn’t be so inspiring if it weren’t for all the cross-promotion it has delivered for Buzzfeed’s umbrella brands. Buzzfeed isn’t a food brand, it’s a technology brand, and through Tasty’s reach, it has nimbly marketed its other platforms, such as its healthy food network, Goodful, and its DIY network, Nifty. Plus, it has created six regional variants for the Tasty brand for various markets, including Proper Tasty for the UK, Bien Tasty for Spanish audiences and Tasty Miam for French viewers. With all the spinoffs it has created, it has kept the content strategy standard and simple: fast-motion videos featuring hands putting together something wonderful.
Buzzfeed’s Revenue Model
While the marketing sounds great, you’re likely curious about Tasty’s revenue model. Tasty collaborates with brands, creating made-to-order brand elements in a recipe video. It charges advertisers a price to feature at the end of a video and stitches the theme of the brand into the video. Consider this video, that Tasty has made for Bank of America, emphasising the value of savings throughout. This is how Tasty charges advertisers:
Cost to Advertiser = Upfront Fee + Cost Per View (price per view on the videos).
Most publishers on Facebook favour this monetisation model, making it the leading revenue generator for digital publishers.
The barriers to entry in the fast-motion video space are low, despite the technologies that one would need. So, it’s no wonder that a slew of new entrants has tried to plant their flags in the space in recent times. TipHero, 12 Tomatoes, LittleThings, Cooking Panda, and Get in My Belly, are just some of them.
How Tasty’s Competitors Are Raking In Revenue
Most insta-recipe brands prefer to collaborate with sponsors for branded content on their platform, much like Tasty. Because these brands are driven by volumes, this monetisation strategy works well. Cooking Panda has sealed deals with smaller advertisers like BumbleBee Tuna and Star Fine Foods, which have been renewed at the end of every term. Most platforms believe that maximum money can be made through branded content.
Tastemade is employing branded content as part of a much broader monetisation strategy. It had already tied up with Hyundai for a 14-episode branded series on its platform. It has also established a revenue stream on Instagram by selling product integrations to food and beverage advertisers. It is now considering featuring food and beverage advertisers in its Instagram Stories, although no deals have been signed yet.
How New Entrants In Fast-Motion Video Are Employing Technology
Not all of Tasty’s competitors have taken the same technology route as Buzzfeed. Investing in a stack like Buzzfeed’s would take several months and heavy capital investment. Many video startups prefer to purchase turnkey frameworks that would allow them to get started with their platform in just a few days. Streamhash is a popular option amongst enterprising millennials, kick-starting a video platform in two days flat.
How Upstart Cooking Brands are Differentiating Themselves
A valid question here would be, with the rise of so many upstart overhead cooking video pages, where’s the differentiation? It seems like each brand is melting into the next as you scroll through your Facebook feed. Sound familiar? Brands are realising the need to branch out before the clutter becomes irreversible.
Cooking Panda Is Exploring New Video Formats
Cooking Panda, 80% of whose videos are centred around cooking, is dabbling in alternate formats. For starters, it will launch a cartoon series titled Adventures of Cooking Panda, and a travel show called Wanderlust. And though the popularity of these two new offerings is no patch on the 45-second recipe videos it has become known for, the brand recognises that it needs to try something new.
Twisted’s Travel and Lifestyle Series
In a similar strategy to diversify, a London-headquartered food page called Twisted, is showcasing quirky, out-of-the-box recipes that haven’t been attempted yet. Tastemade, probably Buzzfeed Tasty’s biggest rival, is focusing on travel and lifestyle-related series, and has added Facebook Live as a permanent bullet in its marketing ammunition. Most platforms know that overhead cooking videos will lose steam about a year down the line. And they are exploring alternate ways to captivate audiences.
Differentiation Through Technology
You won’t find a significant difference between the interfaces of LittleThings, Cooking Panda and Buzzfeed Tasty. They’re largely clones of each other, and the only differentiating factor would be the content that they make available for users. Therefore, for upcoming startups, investing in a readymade technology would prove more prudent. With a technology like Streamhash, you’ll avail the same features you’re used to on your favourite video streaming site, and its fluid design will enable your users to consume videos irrespective of the device they are using. Smartphone, tablet, laptop, whatever.
Most budding entrepreneurs are torn about the most effective technology they could use. Of course, there are various options in the e-market. If you’re considering technologies for your video platform, it’s always important to have your basics in place. Make sure you have a quick and easy way to upload videos to your site, separate servers for web pages and streaming to reduce redundancy, and a script that is fool-proof. Frameworks like Streamhash already have these features worked into their product.
How You Can Set Up Your Own Insta-Recipe Platform
The opportunity in fast-motion videos is limitless, because you can localise content to a city-level, and still find a sizeable audience. Food preferences vary every hundred kilometres, and with a localised content strategy, you could expand your network to create multiple channels, each featuring recipes from a different region. Then, there’s language. Notice with the videos on Tasty, there’s always text printed in bold featuring ingredients, thrown in through the video. Tasty has already customised its approach for a handful of world markets, but there are several markets that remain untapped. Asia, for example has not been explored at all. Nor has South America. As an entrepreneur, pick your content format, your market and a turnkey technology. With a localised approach, you can work magic with video anywhere.
You could also look at building layers on your platform. Perhaps you can offer a basic free viewing version and then top that with a premium video layer, that you can monetise through a Pay Per View model. You can also think about introducing live cooking sessions by adding a live streaming feature to your platform. Streamhash allows you to integrate live streaming with the features of a Video on Demand site, so that you can enjoy a variety of video options. Think about pricing these sessions as low as 50 cents, to attract users, as a penetration strategy. You could showcase unusual, fresh-from-home recipes that will create a buzz online.
How Effective Technology Powers Buzzfeed Tasty
It’s amazing how Buzzfeed continually produces such immersive video content on its Tasty platforms. Needless to say, its technology stack has an enormous role to play. Tasty’s tech stack is made up of a vast number of technologies, including Apache for its web server, Amazon EC2 for the storage of media files, Django and Backbone.js.
With readymade frameworks, your job of curating your website becomes a whole lot easier. Streamhash, for example, comes with built-in themes that you can apply with the swish of a button. Also, with a ready-to-use framework, much of the backend optimisation has already been done for you. Streamhash’s SEO-optimisation feature and trusty admin panel allow you to get started immediately.
There’s so much you can do in the insta-recipe space, and so much you can innovate.
With the right technology and a localised content approach, replicating Tasty’s entertainment game can lead you to a potential goldmine!