Recipe For Top Food Videos Apply Everywhere Else, Too

Maybe everybody wants to believe that what they do in the digital realm, is really, really complicated. Some of it is. But sometimes when I think there’s really a “secret sauce” it turns out to be mostly mayonnaise and Heinz ketchup.

And that’s still a revelation. Wow. It’s that simple.

Gabriele Boland at NewsWhip reminded me of that when she published “5 Secrets of How Food Videos Go Viral on Social” on the NewsWhip site.  I expected deep, dark analytics, but what Boland pointed out is so simple, and that extends to the recipes, too.

NewsWhip looked at actions, shares, and comments on videos on food-focused Facebook pages from October through December.

Overwhelmingly, the winner was BuzzFeed’s Tasty with 85.4 million engagements, followed, but not closely, by Delish, with 48.6 million, and then Tastemade, Food Network and Incredible Recipes.

Then NewsWhip compared Tasty to video from news sites. Tasty still won, just about as overwhelmingly. Second was Now This with 53.3 million engagements, followed by Fox, CNN, ABC and BBC news sites.

What lessons are to be learned beyond the apparent (to me) fact that a fudge-making video is almost always going to be more interesting than a video about interest rates?

But allowing for that, the first rule, says Boland, is to produce highly focused videos.

There are no lengthy lead-ins to Tasty videos, no blather about the fascinating history of the sponge cake, no endearing shots of the little ones licking frosting.

Those videos just get to work, and feature tight close ups of the ingredients and techniques. “From the start of a recipe video, you know what you’re watching. There’s a sense of productivity as you watch the recipe come together, from start-to-finish,” she writes.

Second, all food video easily create a community. The comments include tips, testimonials, disses and dishes. And third, a successful food video offers something new--recipes that are just plain strange.

“Food Network’s pizza pot pie video has driven over 238 million views,” NewsWhip’s Boland writes. “The video on the bizarre but delicious-sounding mashup, has also spurred over 2.5 million engagements.”

Another secret is are just about as duh-inducing. Good food videos “encourage action.” In other words, you’re pushed to really make the dish you just saw constructed in the video.

The final tip is more video-focused than food-oriented. Try new stuff. NewsWhip notes food videos have gotten strong response from Facebook Live. There’s a kind of dare aspect to those. Everyone loves a train wreck.

But as you see, those five tips aren’t huge revelations, and while some of them are food centric, goals like jumping right to the action and encouraging conversation and involvement are good things, regardless of the topic.

Persuasively, NewsWhip points to NowThis again, which it says leans on all the food video’s attributes. The first of five NowThis rules for good video is to be “Compelling from the first second.” There’s no lingering shot of a reporter walking down an alley artfully kicking a can out of her path.

Short is always sweet in the news and information business, but billions of stories and news videos you see still really bury the lead, or by 21st century standards, take for-ever to get to the point.

NewsWhip points out that  only 65% of viewers who watch the first three seconds of a video will keep watching to at least the ten second mark, and only 45% will continue on for 30 seconds.

If you have gotten this far into the story, you can lord those factoids over the masses who moved on long ago to another MediaPost story.

Thanks for hanging around.

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