As Food Network tries to grow its Snapchat Discover audience, by overall size and audience type, the company is looking to tap social media stars to create new content for the platform.
The effort is kicking off this Sunday on Food Network’s Discover channel with “Feel Good with Hannah,” a video series starring beauty and wellness influencer Hannah Bronfman. The three pilot episodes, lasting four minutes each, will feature Bronfman whipping up recipes for snacks like almond butter truffles and flourless chocolate mug cake.
“We’re looking to work more with influencers and fresh faces that can introduce our brand to new fans,” said Deb Puchalla, vp of content development for Scripps Lifestyle Studios, which produced “Feel Good” with production company Left/Right. “It allows us to stretch the definition of the Food Network family and do more in food-adjacent categories.”
The 28-year-old Bronfman is best known for health and wellness content. She’s popular on Instagram, where she has 316,000 followers; and Snapchat, where she averages 22,000 views per snap on her personal account, according to Food Network. Bronfman will use her social accounts to promote the pilot episodes of “Feel Good.”
“Feel Good” is not the first influencer-led content Food Network has produced for Snapchat. It also has done video series with stars like Skyler Bouchard, Beth Moncel and actress Brooke Lyons of “The Affair” and “2 Broke Girls.” The publisher also has done one-off specials with influencers outside of the food world, such as star dog Chloe the Mini Frenchie.
Snapchat Discover is still not a profitable venture for Food Network. In fact, at the recent Digiday Publishing Summit, Scripps Networks’ svp and gm of digital, Vikki Neil, said it remains to be seen if Snapchat Discover will pay off for the network. “The question is, how quickly will it materialize and what will the business look like afterward,” she said on stage.
Which means, for now, Snapchat remains a platform where Food Network is not only looking to build an audience but experiment with content formats that can be repurposed for other distribution channels.
For instance, while “Feel Good” was developed as a Snapchat-first series and, as such, is shot in vertical view, it also has a horizontal version that Food Network can distribute on other platforms if the audience feedback warrants it. Food Network will look at metrics such as how many people swiped down to watch the full episode on Snapchat, how long they spent with the content, and what kind of feedback they provided on Food Network and Bronfman’s social media accounts. With “Feel Good” running across three weeks, the publisher will examine how the audience changes week to week as well.
“The hope for any of the pilots we do is that they’re not one-and-done,” said Puchalla. “We want to develop new talent as much as new pieces of content. The goal is to see which ideas work and how we can grow from there.”
And it’s not just Food Network’s 10-person Snapchat team that’s responsible for this experimentation on- and off-platform. “Feel Good” co-producer Scripps Lifestyle Studios, an in-house digital content studio spanning all Scripps media brands and platforms, meets regularly with that team to discuss the studio’s content that is in development and whether it makes sense for the Snapchat audience.
“Whenever we go into development or production, we want to be mindful of what’s going to be the primary purpose of that piece of content,” Puchalla said. “We always question where the content should live.”
Images provided by Food Network.