Food Tube: How video storytelling led to 2m YouTube subscribers

Food Tube

What’s the secret for Food Tube’s successful YouTube presence and how can you create unique content in the food industry?

Food Tube is part of the Jamie Oliver Media Group and it was launched in 2013, as a new way to present food recipes, both in an informative and entertaining angle, hoping to transform the traditional format that we’ve known from Jamie Oliver since then.

Thus, Food Tube became the food channel that combined recipes, tutorials, funny videos and guest collaborations, leading to 2.3 million followers and 210.577.027 views (as of May 10th)

How did it attract such an engaged audience and what can we learn from its success?

Please note: Richard Herd, Head of Food Tube, will also be speaking about YouTube and video storytelling at our Shift event in London on May 25.

The power of YouTube

Video content has seen a significant rise over the years and according to Cisco, video traffic will be 80% of all consumer Internet traffic in 2019.

YouTube has significantly contributed to the trend of video consumption and more specifically, the food industry was among its most popular categories. According to a report by Tubular Labs and Google, food videos generated almost 11 billion views on YouTube last year, as it was the biggest platform for food content, while Facebook was second.

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Focusing on the medium

When creating content for YouTube, it is important to focus on the specific medium and the challenges may be even bigger when transitioning from TV content to digital content.

Despite the numerous available recipes for TV, Jamie Oliver and his team had to adapt to YouTube and the different expectations its audience has.

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Videos had to become shorter, more appealing and more diverse, in order to maintain the audience’s interest.

The numerous available online options for food lovers make it harder for every online foot network and that’s when creativity is required to keep the subscribers engaged with the channel.

Treating recipe like a story

The art of storytelling can be powerful on social media and Food Tube quickly realised how a story can transform any type of content. Thus, it started treating each recipe like a story, creating a unique perspective, adding the needed authenticity, but also the personal element that will make the content relevant to the audience.

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A modern digital channel should not just deliver what is expected from it, but rather try to produce content that will make it stand out from the rest.

Storytelling offers to every channel the ability to differentiate from its competitors and thus, prove whether it can attract a bigger audience.

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Reaching a younger audience

Food Tube is focusing on YouTube to reach a younger target group, as a recent Tubular report indicates that 71% of the food audience on YouTube is aged between 18 and 34.

tubular youtube report

What’s more, a research by Millward Brown Digital, Firefly, and Google reports that people aged between 18 and 34 watch 30% more food content on YouTube compared to other demographics, which proves why many publishers seek for the attention of this loyal and highly engaged audience.

Mixing content

food tube videos

A successful YouTube channel should focus on providing interesting and valuable content in order to maintain the highly sought engagement.

There is no strategy that fits every channel and that’s why Food Tube keeps experimenting with several topics for its videos, while it also keeps several established categories as the most frequent ones (1 minute tips, 15 minute meals, Jamie’s super food, etc).

What’s more, Food Tube focuses on the most popular holidays and celebrations to provide relevant content, from Easter and Halloween, to Father’s Day, or Pancake Day.

This ensures that there is always fresh and unique content which may fit to a bigger category, without being boring or repetitive.

Creating collaborations

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YouTube may be a large network on its own, but it still relies on its social side and many successful YouTube channels relied on collaborations to keep growing.

Food Tube wanted to ensure that it provides a constant stream of content to its channel and this led to the pursuit of the right collaborations that could add an additional aspect to its existing content.

Every collaboration showcases everyone’s unique personality and this helped Food Tube evolve its idea of storytelling with strong characters, such as Gennaro, Kevin Bacon, Alfie Deyes, etc.

By building bonds with food lovers all over the world, Food Tube strengthened its presence, both on Youtube, but also on other social networks, which ultimately boosted its reach, with people linking back to the videos.

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Seizing the power of other social networks

YouTube may be a very popular social network for food lovers, but Facebook is approaching its popularity in the food industry year-by-year, which means that every publisher should ensure that a channel’s social presence is aligned with the rest.

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Even if there is a clear preference on a specific social network and its priority on the new content, it is still important to create a solid social presence on other social networks, with Food Tube having a digital footprint on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Its social presence in numbers:

  • Facebook: 542,561 likes
  • Instagram: 281k followers
  • Twitter: 56.2k followers
  • Youtube: 2,317,797 subscribers

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Despite the clear domination of its YouTube channel, it still ensures it updates all the social networks consistently, using them as a way to lead traffic back to YouTube, while they also serve as a useful way to increase its exposure and appeal to a wider audience.

Takeaway: how to appeal to the food lovers of YouTube

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Food Tube may serve as a great example on how to succeed on YouTube with food videos, as it reminds us that:

  • Authenticity is always appreciated
  • Storytelling may be the emotional trigger that will attract users to your site
  • Engagement is not easily maintained
  • Every platform has its own rules and the content should be created accordingly
  • Collaborations should reflect the unique personalities to the content
  • Diversity in terms of content types ensures that users will stay longer on your channel
  • Cross-platform promotion in other social networks can be beneficial

Richard Herd, Head of Foodtube, will be speaking about Youtube and video storytelling at our Shift event in London on May 25.

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