Developed by BuzzFeed, Tasty offers quick, slickly-produced recipe tutorials your friends have probably been sharing with you for months. Recipes range from calorie bombs like loaded cheese-stuffed mashed potato balls (nearly 72 million views) to comfort food like a biscuit and gravy bake (93 million views). Each video features bright colors, upbeat music, and a good-looking pair of hands preparing the recipes, which generally feature few ingredients and straightforward instructions. The fast-motion video gives you the recipe from start to finish usually in under a minute.
It’s a formula that’s paid off big for BuzzFeed. Tasty isn’t even a year old, but it’s already accumulated over 50 million Facebook fans and over 84 million comments, New York Magazine reported. The popular videos have spawned a spinoff, Proper Tasty, which caters to food-loving Brits. Nifty, another channel, offers quick-and-easy DIY projects. And if you needed more proof that the concept has gone viral, witness the parody videos with recipes like Fresh Pickle Sockbreath Soup. (Mentos and a dirty sock are key ingredients.)
How-to videos are nothing new, of course. But Tasty’s virality signals something new happening in the how-to space. The videos are successful for a key reason. They are tailor-made for a single platform: Facebook.
Once upon a time, multichannel marketing on social media meant uploading a video to YouTube and sharing a link on Twitter and Facebook. Thanks to Facebook changes and the rise of apps like Snapchat and Instagram among other rising channels, those days are officially over.
Ever since Facebook enabled autoplay videos, video content has undergone a seismic change. Marketers needed to capture users in just a few seconds, and the fact that videos start playing on mute led to text overlays and other Facebook-specific gimmicks to get users to linger, as we previously reported.
News Feed algorithm changes further solidified this fragmentation. Now that Facebook favors native video, marketers have to think Facebook-first when creating and uploading video content. And what’s created for Facebook won’t necessarily transfer to other platforms, like Snapchat, with its vertical video format. It’s the same for Twitter, where native video performs twice as well as non-native content, Twitter reports.
It’s against this backdrop that Tasty has found success. The videos are short, and the super-speed video is eye-catching. You don’t need sound to see the recipe in action. (Also, all the food looks so good.)
Tasty has a presence on Twitter, Instagram, and the BuzzFeed website itself, but the videos don’t rack up nearly the views they do on Facebook. On Instagram, the Tasty account mostly serves to point people toward Facebook to get the full videos. Vine videos are so truncated that the recipes are almost impossible to follow. BuzzFeed has chosen, strategically, to dedicate the heavy resources to Facebook.
Tasty’s major success has led to another important lesson for content marketers: Niche content can be just as successful as content en masse. Proper Tasty’s speedy growth is a sign of BuzzFeed’s plans to go deeper into specialized niches, Fortune reported. Already, Tasty Demais, aimed at Brazilians, boasts over 3 million followers.
BuzzFeed has long been attuned to the power of connecting with a specific niche audience. A sampling of recent web headlines includes “11 Things That Make Bisexual Women Want To Roll Their Eyes,” “This Is What The X-Men Would Look Like As ’80s Icons,” and “13 Shows To Watch With The Slytherin In Your Life.” It’s quirky and specific, but it works because it connects really strongly with a certain slice of people, making it more compelling for them to share it with friends.
“We’ve looked at niche audiences and very specific topics and it spreads from there,” Frank Cooper, BuzzFeed’s chief marketing officer, told Fortune. “It’s counterintuitive, but it’s been a much more powerful impetus for sharing, as opposed to a spray-and-pray approach.”
The niche approach works for brands too. Content marketers already use buyer profiles and target audiences to construct ways of building out content to meet niche needs. The more specific the audience and targeted the content, the more the content will resonate with the user.
Tasty videos might make cooking look easy, but the reality is that BuzzFeed devoted significant resources to getting its video marketing experiment to work. Developing platform-specific content is an expensive proposition, and on a platform like Facebook, there’s no telling when an algorithm change will suddenly take your content from highly shared to virtually invisible.
But the alternative—relying on a one-size-fits-all content approach—is equally problematic. Fail to develop niches, and your content will be too general to connect with the audience. Fail to think platform-specific, and your content will fail to pack a punch.
In the fragmented, multichannel marketing world, brands have to consider which platforms deserve the bulk of their resources, and build out content from that perspective. Tasty bet on Facebook for ultimate shareability; for another brand, Snapchat-specific content might be the better move. Not all platforms may be right for your brand or your audience. But whatever platforms you choose as a focus, the content you develop for them should sing.