Cooking videos have emerged as the killer content on Facebook’s recently added video feature.
They’ve proven capable of stopping thumbs—getting Facebook users to put on the brakes as they scroll through their newsfeeds—winning fans among users and more importantly among marketers and content creators. Month after month, food content has dominated the leaderboard rankings of Facebook’s video creators for as far back as these things have been measured.
Nothing stops thumbs quite like meatballs.
Leading the pack last month, a Buzzfeed clip for Mozzarella-Stuffed Slow Cooker Meatballs was viewed 82.9 million times. With the Crock-Pot people reporting annual sales of about 4.4 million units, there were more viewers of the recipe than there are slow cookers out there in which to make the meatballs.
The most successful videos grab attention quickly, like the all-time champion, a 15-second s’mores dip clip with more than 120 million views. They’re short- less than a minute in duration- and usually feature just the cook’s hands as they add, mix, and shape a series of ingredients. Most prep steps take place off camera, and the whole process is sped up with time-lapse editing. Instructions tend to be represented graphically, since Facebook videos go straight to autoplay without sound, and the visuals are designed to look best on small mobile devices, where most people view their newsfeeds.
Buzzfeed has cracked the code like no other.
Already known for its mastery of the internet’s tone and aesthetic, Buzzfeed has nailed the art of the viral Facebook video. Buzzfeed content generates 2 billion Facebook video views a month, well ahead of every other other creator. The big surprise is the way that food and cooking is single-handedly responsible for that success: 19 out of the 20 most-watched Buzzfeed videos uploaded to Facebook last month were food related.
Buzzfeed posts through its main Facebook channel, through Buzzfeed Food, and now through a new, dedicated channel called Tasty, with the taglines: Food that’ll make you close your eyes, lean back, and whisper “yessss.” Snack-sized videos and recipes you’ll want to try. Other food-oriented video creators have found similar success on Facebook. The Tastemade TV Network picked up nearly 5 million Facebook fans this year after garnering 80 million views for No-bake Strawberry Chocolate Tart, and has just launched the all-dessert Sweeten channel. Between Milk-and-Cookies Shot Glasses and Supersize Ice Cream Sandwich, the lifestyle site PopSugar attracted 40 million Facebook video views. And life-hacker site Tip Hero stormed into the rankings last month with Baked Apple Roses, a surprise megahit generating more than 220 million Facebook video views.
Facebook is giving YouTube a run for the money- except when it comes to actual money.
Unlike YouTube, Facebook isn’t paying video producers for content, and advertising is still in a testing phase. But Facebook offers unparalleled reach and social engagement, and it’s bringing in a new kind of audience that wasn’t explicitly seeking out video content. For now, Facebook’s video producers have to be satisfied with the occasional paid endorsement or product placement and the opportunity to build an online following.