Some food for thought for food brands using social media: Less than 10% of millennials who share Food content go on to actually buy the product. However, 47% are “very willing” to try a recipe recommended by their social network, suggesting that promoting recipes might be more lucrative than promoting products.

Most food brands already provide cooking advice. Nearly 80% of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Food feature recipe links on their website, and more than two-thirds have a dedicated recipe section. These online cookbooks are rapidly outdoing product pages in sophistication, incorporating more features like user reviews and videos. Videos on recipe pages more than doubled from 12% to 25% on the year, making them nearly four times as likely to feature videos as product pages.


The L2 study also observed a strong correlation between the sophistication of a
 brand’s recipe pages and its overall digital competence. For example, Betty Crocker claimed the number-one spot in the Index by launching a mobile app focused on recipes. The app features over 15,000 recipes searchable by ingredient or meal type; users can save them to a box that syncs across devices and even turn on “cook mode” to keep the screen on while cooking.

Brand websites aren’t the only place users find recipes. In addition to its intuitive recipe finder, Ghirardelli (ranked second) pays for high visibility on top recipe destinations like Yummly and Food Network. Pillsbury (ranked fourth) shares recipes on Pinterest, where the strategy has helped its community swell to more than 100,000 followers. Other brands incorporate recipes into Amazon product pages, like Nestle-owned CoffeeMate (ranked 24th)

Pillsbury recipes on Pinterest

However, because these recipes are often shared via email or online chat, brands don’t know precisely who shares them or which ones are most popular. Ghirardelli found after one campaign that 84% of recipes and tips shared were done via dark social. By partnering with advertising platform provider RadiumOne, the brand was able to track where recipes and tips were shared as well as the words that users were copying, helping Ghirardelli improve its SEO and SEM. Following this strategy could help brands target their recipes to the most receptive audience, indirectly influencing the path to purchase.



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