If your aim is to be a highly social publisher, is it preferable to use Facebook to promote your site or to completely live on Facebook and risk traffic to your own site?
That’s essentially the question that the seven-month-old startup Foodily is contemplating. The site, a fledgling social hub for cooks looking to pull together the best available recipes from across the Web, is tweaking its business model slightly. Now users can access all of the site’s content without leaving Facebook — and without necessarily visiting Foodily.com.
To some, that move could mean traffic suicide for a young site that is just reaching around 300,000 users a month. The San Mateo, CA.-based Foodily was launched in February
by several ex-Yahoo executives.
The idea behind Foodily was to create a central destination where cooks and food lovers could contrast and compare recipes from every corner of the Web — from Martha Stewart to the most niche food blogger. And Foodily’s user-interface is designed to enable users to sift through photos of numerous dishes as they compare and contrast nutritional information and even sort by specific ingredients, without conducting tons of different searches.
Until now, users could share recipes on Facebook (about two-thirds do) — but they had to visit Foodily.com to actually access a recepie’s content. And if users wanted to come back later to retrieve that recipe, they had to head back to thier friends’ Facebook wall, then back to Foodily.
That may have been good for Foodily’s traffic, but not necessarily for users.Thus, Foodily is going all in on its Facebook app.
According to CEO Andrea Cutright, digital publishers are much better off embracing the way your users want to experience and share their content. “We built Foodily to be social from the ground up,” Cutright said. “We launched on Facebook so users could see what recipes their friends are saving. And from the data we have and what users are telling us, they want everything on Facebook. They don’t really want a totally separate experience.”
So as of Tuesday (Aug. 30), they can access recipes directly in their Facebook feeds. So what does that mean for Foodily.com? Could the site eventually cease to exist and become a Facebook-only property? “We’re going to wait and see,” said Cutright. “Right now, the experience will be the same in both places.”
As for monetizing Foodily, Cutright said plans are about six months away. The company is still building its user base and its data. But with 2 million recipe views each month and growing, the site/app is collecting a vast amout of information on its users’ tastes and food preferences, which Cutright sees as having major potential for food brands and beyond.
“We’re going to have a deep understanding of people, one that goes beyond just search ads” she said. “For example, we’ll know if you like to bake, if you are keeping a healthy diet, or if you prefer gluten-free recipes. This is a lot less about just attracting eyeballs.”