3 Marketing Lessons From The Viral Food Video Craze


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Social Media Week

Food has the incredible power of capturing people’s attention, and brands are learning from this trend in order to create viral experiences that has people talking day after day.

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It started out as the occasional BuzzFeed Food video, which showed a pair of hands making something delicious.

Then, a few more companies learned the viral impact of these videos, and before you knew it, there were more food videos on Facebook than cat videos, and that’s something worth examining. This trend predominated the second half of 2015, and that popularity carried on into the New Year.

From a business standpoint, this trend is incredibly poignant. The majority of these videos have tens of thousands of likes and thousands of shares, carrying them swiftly across the internet. They have become some of the most successful content tools for prompting consumers to stop their scroll and engage, maybe glancing at the name of the video’s author while they were at it.

A Short History of the Viral Food Videos

These videos actually originated on Instagram from BuzzFeed Food. They were just 15 seconds, which encouraged the viewers to go to their website to watch the entire video. One of the first was the s’mores dip video, which became the most popular viral food video by far. These videos did very well on Instagram initially, but once the full-length videos made it to Facebook, they blew up.

According to BuzzFeed Food’s creative director Emily Fleischaker, these videos were shared 66 million times and viewed 390 million times in the month of June 2015, the same month they made their debut on Facebook.

Since that time, other major publishers have joined in on the novelty of the food videos, most notably TastyMade, another publisher with excellent taste. As the two major publishers have continued to post their videos, they’ve lengthened over time and brought in more unique food items.

There have also been food videos from publishers not affiliated with food at all. Businesses of all types have begun to harness the power of food videos in order to connect emotionally with their audiences and bring more global attention to their brands. It’s become a widespread phenomenon that knows no limits.

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3 Lessons to Learn from The Viral Food Video Craze

Those who are looking to bring more attention to their brands should be paying attention to this viral video phenomenon. It’s no question the fastest growing video trend on social media, and it does wonders for garnering widespread attention. Consider these three important lessons from food videos.

1. Cater to What People Love

If there’s one thing the authors of these videos understand, it’s people. They recognize that one thing the majority of people have in common is a love of food. Food creates an emotional connection that’s difficult to ignore, as evidenced by the billions of views and shares. It’s a way for consumers to connect with a brand, even though they may not have anything else in common.

“Food is an easy thing for people to bond over on social media no matter if they know each other really well or only know each other a little, if they’re constantly in touch or have been out of touch for a while. It’s a lighthearted topic, it’s not too serious or overtly political (most of the time),” says Emily Fleischaker. “Not everyone wears makeup or likes to workout or is getting married or is a parent — or even likes to cook. But everyone’s gotta eat.”

An emotional connection is the most obvious reason these videos work. They’ve catered to what people really love, and it’s paying off.

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2. Roll with the Trends

BuzzFeed Food successfully made this trend huge, but others can follow, and they have. Entire companies have arisen out of this food trend. They saw an opportunity to take their health or nutrition business to the next level, and they rolled with it. Other businesses recognized just how popular the food videos had become, and they used that to kick start their social media campaigns.

Even though many companies have products or services that have nothing to do with food, they’ve still found the trend of food videos to be incredibly useful for boosting awareness of their brands. Cosmopolitan, for example, has learned to seek greater recognition simply through posting a few of these videos in conjunction with their latest news stories.

3. Captivate Audience Attention

These videos are the epitome of capturing audience attention. BuzzFeed Food recognized the incredible power of food for capturing people’s attention, and they learned from that trend to create a viral experience that still has people talking months later.

BuzzFeed CEO Jonah Peretti, told Tech Insider in a December 2015 interview, “One of the things we realized about three years ago was that food and lifestyle content was something that people really loved and would share. It was also something we had the potential to have a bigger impact…on people’s lives.”

He goes on to discuss how his team saw how much attention these videos had on the audience. “[We] learned from that,” he continued. “And now BuzzFeed Food and Tasty are two of the largest media channels on Facebook, and they’re both food channels.

It’s clear that BuzzFeed Food, and their affiliated publisher Tasty, know how to cater to an audience and captivate attention for the long haul. Learning from their success is one of the best things companies can do to carry their social media efforts to the next level.

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Larry Alton

Writer, Freelancer

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.



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