BuzzFeed’s Simon Low On Consumer Expectations And The Proper Tasty Recipe Phenomenon

on Sharethrough Events

Ad Week Europe starts today in London, and once again Sharethrough is hosting its Native Ad Forum as part of the event, featuring our own executives talking alongside speakers from industry leading brands like BuzzFeed, GIPHY, Guardian Labs and Plista.

BuzzFeed’s Director of Brand Partnerships Simon Low (pictured) will be speaking at the Native Ad Forum about the Proper Tasty phenomenon: a new(ish) addition to BuzzFeed's portfolio of brand-independent Facebook pages that features video recipes for tasty meals. The page launched in December and already has 9 million followers on Facebook. We spoke to Simon about how modern consumer expectations have driven this new recipe craze, and the value to BuzzFeed of growing its platform well outside the walls of its own site.


Proper Tasty has 9 million likes on Facebook, the video is entirely hosted there, and you’d hardly know it was a BuzzFeed-property. How does Proper Tasty feed brand value back to BuzzFeed?

The scale of Proper Tasty is incredible. It had a billion views in just three months. This allows us to continue to learn from an audience of millions, striving to make content they can use, that has a function and makes a real-world impact.

Whilst it might not seem like Proper Tasty directly ties back to the overarching BuzzFeed brand, the data and learnings we are gathering on consumption habits, content best practices and distribution strategies are providing us with great value and insight that can be applied to other aspects of our business and ensure that whatever step we take next is smart and informed.

Jonah Peretti has described our company as a cross-platform, global network. We're not obsessed with unique visitors to our site. Rather, we’re creating content for the places people are consuming it.

How does Proper Tasty fit with BuzzFeed’s new content strategy?

Three-years ago BuzzFeed generated 100 million monthly content views almost entirely on our website and app, and mostly in the U.S.

Accelerate to today and we are a global, cross-platform, tech-driven network generating six billion monthly content views across our site, multiple BuzzFeed apps, and over 30 other platforms including Facebook video, YouTube, and Snapchat. BuzzFeed’s founder Jonah Peretti has described our company as a cross-platform, global network. We're not obsessed with unique visitors to our site. Rather, we’re creating content for the places people are consuming it.

Proper Tasty sits in line with this mechanic in that we are creating relatable content that travels the globe over a variety of platforms that people choose to visit. Ultimately, this cross platform approach allows us to play a bigger, more intimate role in people's lives than media companies of the past and is one that goes hand-in-hand with changing consumption habits.


What does the short and snappy recipe phenomenon tell you about how people are consuming content in 2016?

The success of the short video phenomenon emphasises the extent to which convenience and mobile accessibility have become the norm in consumer lives today.

Mobile is now so ingrained into our everyday lives that we have come to expect things instantly and on the go. If we order something online, we expect for it to arrive the next day. If we book a taxi from our mobile, we expect it to arrive in minutes. Our expectations with content are no different. Consumers don't seek out content, rather they expect it to be readily available to them and for it to delight them almost immediately, wherever they are.

How do you see the phenomenon developing?

We've learnt a great deal from the success that we are witnessing with Tasty and Proper Tasty and currently think of these channels as "templates" or "franchises" that we can look to replicate in other markets or with other categories or themes.

It's a lighter approach to branding but one that is seeing huge levels of brand engagement and audience interaction. We can actually see consumer's purchase intent in the comments that they write and in the re-creation of recipes that they share back with us or the brand.

We've recently launched Tasty Demais in Brazil and Tasty Miam in France and will be launching in other markets in the near future. Last month we launched Nifty, a video channel for money-saving hacks and DIY. It has built on the success and learnings of our Tasty channels and has already reach 5.5 million Facebook likes.

But it’s not always about shorter and shorter video. BuzzFeed is also experimenting with longer format videos like Mom vs Chef which tend to be just shy of 10 minutes long on average.


Do you see future opportunities for brand partnerships/sponsored content within the Proper Tasty platform?

Proper Tasty has proven hugely successful for BuzzFeed with a staggering billion views on Facebook in its first month. It offers huge opportunities for brand partners. Our launch partner was Diageo and the videos we produced far exceeded all our expectations reaching audiences of millions.

Consumers don't seek out content, rather they expect it to be readily available to them and for it to delight them almost immediately, wherever they are.

BuzzFeed is on the forefront of native advertising. We aren't providing pre-roll or banner placements but instead are putting forward a more nuanced offering, incorporating brand products into Proper Tasty videos in a natural way that isn't jarring for the consumer. It's a lighter approach to branding but one that is seeing huge levels of brand engagement and audience interaction. We can actually see consumer's purchase intent in the comments that they write and in the re-creation of recipes that they share back with us or the brand.