You can’t get on Facebook these days without getting a little hungry.
In another attempt to take over the internet and bring people down the clickbait rabbit hole, Buzzfeed has introduced Tasty, a Facebook-only cooking channel. Chock full of delicious and simple recipes in an easy-to-consume video format, Tasty boasts 34 million followers since its launch in summer 2015. And if you feel like you can’t get away from these videos, consider this: according to ReelSEO, a digital marketing resource website, Tasty and Buzzfeed Food were among the most watched content creators on Facebook in December 2015. They generated a combined 1.5 billion video views, which was enough to beat the likes of Justin Bieber and Buzzfeed Video.
So what accounts for this massive, truly viral popularity?
Are you hungry yet? This is Tasty’s Cheese-Stuffed Pizza Pretzels video.
Tasty knows its audience, and Facebook as a platform, especially well. These short videos, often no more than a minute, play into the way content is consumed on Facebook, particularly with the advent of autoplay. Drew Keller, television producer, editor and Communication Leadership faculty, described Facebook as “the epitome of ‘short attention span theater.’” As viewers scroll through the massive amount of content in their feed, the first five seconds have become critical to grabbing attention. “Facebook’s content needs to be a strong visual narrative that is engaging and evident in the first five seconds,” Keller said, or else it’s on to the next post.
Scott Morris, Communication Leadership student and creative director for Waka Waka Studios, can attest to this. The studio’s Rainworks video, shared on Facebook, reached three million views in one week. “Before Facebook started autoplaying videos, storytellers had two ways to capture people’s attention: the thumbnail and the title,” said Morris. “With autoplaying, a video’s first two seconds become incredibly important.” The Rainworks video followed a formula that made use of this: a surprise within the first second, followed by text to provide context for the visuals.
As Facebook autoplays videos without sound, the images rise in importance, as well as the text. Buzzfeed’s clickbait titles are well known, and Tasty video titles communicate simplicity and entice the viewer, explains Morris. Within the video, the sparse informational text takes on a fun and encouraging tone without dominating the visuals.
“Because these videos are light on specifics and heavy on image they become very shareable,” added Keller. “Their strength is simplicity, a sort of visual haiku.”
The pace of the videos also lends itself to success. Faster than you can say “cronut,” the videos whip along. The boring bits of preparation are removed and other steps sped through to keep the action moving in a short amount of time.
Tasty has the viral video format on lockdown. Videos are short, use simple titles and rely heavily on strong visuals. This is Tasty’s Ice Cream Bites video.
When it comes down to it, the Tasty video format is “all about leveraging potential,” said Keller. Viewers feel inspired and capable to take on the recipe, which makes them more apt to associate with the message and share. “And the point-of-view style puts the audience in the role of chef so you can see yourself making the food,” said Morris.
Across the world, food is a communal way to share values and experience. “How often do we say to our significant others, or our families, housemates or friends: ‘What should we eat tonight?'” said Morris. “So there’s a built-in conversation that they’re tapping into.”
Speaking of which, tag your sweetheart on those pizza roses right now – with 26 million views, this is going to be one popular Valentine pepperoni bouquet.
So how exactly can you frame your own content in the Tasty format? Remember these tips: