clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

How BuzzFeed turned Tasty’s recipes into a viral video hit

Tasty is more popular than Beyoncé on Facebook, BuzzFeed video boss Ze Frank points out.

BuzzFeed / Tasty

How do you make a recipe exciting? BuzzFeed figured it out.

“The world of recipes had not been reinvented beyond a list of text and an image forever,” BuzzFeed Entertainment Group President Ze Frank said on the latest episode of Recode Media with Peter Kafka.

Chocolate Chip Banana Monkey Bread FULL RECIPE:

Posted by Tasty on Saturday, September 17, 2016

On the new podcast, Frank shared the behind-the-scenes story of Tasty, a.k.a. those top-down recipe videos you’ve probably seen in your Facebook feed. Last year, when Facebook started autoplaying those videos as users scrolled past, BuzzFeed started experimenting with different types and lengths of videos to surface to its followers.

When those videos were about 40 seconds long, they got viewed and shared a lot — a “sweet spot,” in Frank’s words — so the company formed a team called FB40 to make more of them.

“We tried a lot of different stuff. We looked at hacks, we looked at facts videos, we looked at all sorts of things,” Frank said. “What we do at BuzzFeed is we go back and we look at things that have been successful in the past and we put them through that kind of platform lens.”

“The food group did an amazing quick cellphone-shot Nutella hack, and it just went from there,” he added. “It became obvious that food, itself, was a sweet spot, on top of all those things.”

Today, Tasty’s five Facebook pages have more than 100 million likes combined — more than Beyoncé’s paltry 64 million, Frank is quick to point out. Frank attributed a big part of the success to the team’s realization that almost all of the viewers on Facebook would be amateur chefs, not gourmands hunting for a Michelin star.

“They thought very carefully about things like making sure it was okay if the flour spilled on the table,” he said. “Even the food, the categories of food that were explored were back to a simplistic view.”

Chicken Alfredo Pizza FULL RECIPE:

Posted by Tasty on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

You can listen to Recode Media in the audio player above, or subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like this show, you should also sample our other podcasts:

  • Recode Decode, hosted by Kara Swisher is a weekly show featuring in-depth interviews with the movers and shakers in tech and media every Monday. You can subscribe on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • Too Embarrassed to Ask, hosted by Kara Swisher and The Verge's Lauren Goode, answers all of the tech questions sent in by our readers and listeners. You can hear new episodes every Friday on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.
  • And finally, Recode Replay has all the audio from our live events, such as the Code Conference, Code Media and the Code Commerce Series. Subscribe today on iTunes, Google Play Music, TuneIn and Stitcher.

If you like what we’re doing, please write a review on iTunes — and if you don’t, just tweet-strafe Peter. Tune in next Thursday for another episode of Recode Media!

This article originally appeared on