Feeling peckish? Food is one of the most popular and fastest growing subjects for video content in digital marketing. In terms of online content, lots of us are yoga devotees; some of us love gaming and a select few of us are passionate about free-diving. Food, however, whether we like cooking it or just consuming it, is a unique form of content in that it appeals to pretty much everyone. The preparation and sharing of food has been at the heart of what it means to be human since earliest times – we use food for fuel, celebration, comfort and consolation; we have a deeply emotional connection with it. In addition, food stimulates the senses – it lends itself to a visual and dynamic medium like video. Watching food being prepared, cooked and consumed is captivating on a primal level. Research in sciencedaily.com showed that visual stimulation through enticing images of food increases a hormone protein in the blood which stimulates appetite. It actually makes us hungry! Whether we’d like to admit or not, we’re all hooked on looking at food.
The measure of food content’s success can be seen in its adoption as a growth strategy by the big online publishers. Food has always played a central part in traditional publishing content of course; all the big newspapers have food supplements and we lap up restaurant reviews and recipe pages in print publications. But social media and the growth of affordable video marketing has given food content a rocket-fuelled boost in recent years. Buzzfeed’s popular Tasty food channel to which 1 in 6 people in the UK subscribe, and the New York Times’ recent foray into discerning digital food content are hugely successful examples of this.
And the stats speak for themselves. Views of food-related content on YouTube are increasing 170% year on year (Tubular Insights). Food is in the top 10 categories of content that generate most engagement, and amongst Millennials, the popularity of food content is massive (a whopping 70% of food-related views are in this demographic). Food is therefore proving to be one of the most successfully visually appealing, emotive and shareable subjects in digital marketing. If seeing it makes your audience want to eat it – and social media can direct consumers directly to your business website – food and drink brands have some amazing opportunities to grow their businesses with cleverly targeted video content.
Here are some of the ways food and drink brands can capitalise on video marketing for growth (and there’s a lot more to it than just enticing recipe videos):
- Social Media Advertising.
Video content generates the highest engagement of all online advertising . It is estimated that 92% of mobile video viewers share them with other people (Hubspot). Users expect high quality production values and great entertainment though to keep them watching. You Tube stats show that users skip ads on average after 5 seconds of watching so it’s important to grab the attention quickly. If you can pull it off, a well-made online food advert is so shareable on social media that it can go viral. KFC have just released 3 online videos using their infamous gravy to make cocktails, piggybacking on the niche cultural trend of ‘stocktails’ – whilst being quirky enough to pique the viewer’s interest. With over 270K views in a week, the ads are proving capable of cutting through the social media noise and creating some buzz.
Social media advertising is also brilliant for targeting your specific market through campaigns on individual social media platforms. Kids’ sweet brand Sour Patch Kids carried out a successful video campaign on Snapchat by collaborating with a popular YouTube influencer to record ‘sour then sweet’ prank videos and then utilising live video to have conversations with fans and consumers. The high-energy, fun and young social media app was the perfect platform for connecting with the brand’s potential teenage audience and Sour Patch Kids gained 120,000 Snapchat followers during the campaign. Utilising more online video content also contributed to their growth in sales by $30 million between 2014 and 2015.
- Branded content.
Video provides a way for food businesses to integrate branded content across multiple platforms. Using video in different ways across broadcast, online, mobile and social media channels means that brands can digitally communicate their stories, tone of voice and messaging holistically. A big-budget TV ad might launch a new product for example, but regular video content posted across YouTube or Facebook can give depth, personality and consistency to brands. Some brands use these methods effectively to show a human side and connect directly with their audience – posting videos of behind the scenes, food production, and employees for example. Dunkin Donuts famously launched one of the first branded live Facebook videos when it posted a tour of its food development kitchen for a Valentine’s day promotion and competition, generating 21,000 viewers in 15 minutes.
Our first-ever LIVE tour of the DD test kitchen + a big announcement for engaged Valentines!
Posted by Dunkin' on Thursday, 11 February 2016
Live video is a fantastic tool for connecting directly with customers and building a committed and engaged community of followers (and potential customers) and is ideal for a relaxed, informal brand.
Other brands have effectively used regular video content to demonstrate their ‘expert’ status, quality and authenticity. Waitrose launched a successful YouTube channel and collaborates with top chefs and influencers to produce gorgeous recipe videos using high-quality ingredients, whilst also placing an emphasis on ethical food production and sourcing. This appeals directly to its educated middle class market and provides a way for their customers to invest emotionally in the brand.
- Combine with influencer marketing.
The increasing visual and emotional appeal of food has not been lost on bloggers and vloggers and food and recipe influencer content is one of the fastest growing types of food content creation online. Some foodie influencers have a much wider audience reach than many brands and many have built up vast, trusting and engaged followings. Without the corporate machinery, they can often produce content more quickly and regularly than brands. SORTEDfood is a brilliant example of this. A group of British millennial men decided to video themselves sharing banter and food and have built up a huge YouTube subscriber base of over 1 million people. With a relaxed and humorous vibe, and lots of engaging content like recipe battles where they each attempt to make the same recipe, their content is perfect for reaching a particular demographic of 20 and 30 something men (and women) who are interested in (and spend a lot on) food.
Collaborating to make joint videos with influencers like this can be a brilliant way of targeting specific audiences. When Lea & Perrins wanted a younger market for its famous Worcestershire sauce, SORTEDfood was the go to influencer. Together they made a series of videos and Lea & Perrins launched a YouTube channel on the back of the content, resulting in 2.2 million channel views.
- Generate user action.
Video content is also a good way for brands to encourage genuine customer engagement and to prompt user action. Coca Cola carried out a hugely successful integrated marketing campaign when it launched named bottles, using broadcast and online advertising to stimulate customer engagement.
The campaign, which originated in the UK but went global, encouraged consumers to #shareacoke with friends and submit videos and photos of themselves with their named bottles to be shared online. It proved a brilliant way of generating a feel-good shareability of branded content.
- Use video as a recruitment tool.
One issue that affects a lot of food and drink brands is recruitment. The food industry is employee heavy in term of production and service, and recruiting enough good, qualified staff can be difficult. (This issue is likely to be exacerbated with Brexit – over 40% of staff in fruit, vegetable and meat processing and production are from EU countries – as are nearly 15% of employees in the hospitality industry.) Video can be an effective tool for reaching the right audience of potential employees (young, social media users) and competing in a busy market. Have a look at a recruitment video we recently produced for restaurant group Living Ventures which capitalises on this.
Small Films’ founder George Hughes spent 15 years producing and directing content for TV broadcast including serious documentary and food and cookery content. For more information about how Small Films can help your food or drink brand with engaging video content, contact us here.
Small Films are video content specialists. By combining strategic minds with creative flair we create powerful stories with video that deeply resonate with audiences, supporting our clients to achieve their ambitions in growing their organisation, brand or campaign.