Monthly Archives January 2013

Yummly vs Pinterest: Social Media Marketing for Food Brands

Yummly is a new player poised to steal the foodies from Pinterest. There are some key differences between Pinterest and Yummly that may influence where brands spend their time and their money.

Yummly is a new player poised to steal the foodies from Pinterest. There are some key differences between Pinterest and Yummly that may influence where brands spend their time and their money.

Food continues to be one of the hottest topics for pins on Pinterest, and food brands and publishers like Kraft Recipes, Goya Foods and Food Network have all jumped aboard the Pinterest train looking to drive brand awareness and traffic back to recipes nested on their brand’s website.

Meanwhile other image sharing and aggregation sites have begun to emerge. Yummly was launched in 2010, but it had some strong players back the site last year. Unilever saw enough promise in the startup to become an investor in Yummly’s Series A funding round and is one of the site’s main advertisers.

Differences Between Pinterest and Yummly for Brands


Promoted Pins: A major frustration for brands is the lack of advertising opportunities available in the form of promoted pins on Pinterest.

Metrics: Brands accustomed to the analytics provided by Facebook Insights and YouTube Insights continue to struggle with the lack of metrics available from Pinterest.

Accounts: Both brands and people create similar accounts (though brand accounts can now be verified Twitter-style). Other than verification, there is no difference in available features between an individual user’s Pinterest account and a brand’s Pinterest account.

Driving traffic: While Pinterest has been a great source of traffic for brands, users have to click twice on a pin to be directed to an image’s source page. There is no prompt to drive users to the pin’s originating source.

Search: Brands have experimented with using hashtags, keywords and other ways to ensure their content ranks high in a Pinterest search. However, Pinterest search lacks the ability for user’s to narrow their search.

Recently unveiled verified brand accounts have helped users distinguish branded accounts from those created by fans. Do a Pinterest search for “Martha Stewart” and you will see why this was a necessary move.


Sharing: This is where Pinterest excels. One click repinning exposes content to the pinners follower. Users can also view the pins and profiles of other Pinterest users/brands to discover additional content to share. Pinterest is also designed to be a destination, rather than a tool.


Promoted Recipes: Yummly allows brands to advertise in the form of Promoted Recipes. These recipes, such as the one shown below for a Skippy peanut butter chicken recipe (Skippy is a Unilever brand) found in a search for “chicken”, rank higher than other recipes to ensure maximum visibility in Yummly search.


Advertising- Suggested Products: When a user searches for a specific recipe, they will be shown a list of suggested products that match the ingredient list of the recipe they were searching for. For instance, a search of Kraft prompts an ad for I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter, another Unilever brand. Clicking on the ad drives the user to the product website.


Metrics: Flightpath contacted Yummly to inquire about brand analytics. According to a Yummly rep, they are starting to offer analytics for brand partners.

Accounts: Branded accounts house all recipes generated from a publisher or brand. Accounts also exist for food bloggers who supply content to the site.

Driving Traffic: Prompts for users to read full recipes and visit publisher’s website are prominent, a call to action that does not exist on Pinterest.

Search: Yummly offers users incredibly relevant results due to its semantic search engine. Users can also narrow their search using the prominent search tools on the left hand side of the site. Yummly’s focus on food is also a plus. A search for chicken on Pinterest pulled up chicken recipes alongside a chicken coop and Pedigree’s new chicken flavored dog food.

Sharing: When users click “Yum” this action is shared to their Facebook wall. Users can also see how many “Yums” different recipes have, which serves as an endorsement of the recipe. All images are sized to be pinnable via the Pinterest bookmarklet. However there is no social sharing within the platform itself. Unlike Pinterest which is designed to be a social destination, Yummly is a tool for finding recipes and sharing them on other social platforms.

Since the Pinterest craze hit over a year ago, frustration among brands at Pinterest’s lack of promotional opportunities has been building.  Why Pinterest didn’t see this void as a dangerous opportunity for a startup to charge in and steal brand dollars is a mystery, but that startup has arrived in the food and beverage category and it is Yummly.

Infographic – How 14 Top Brand’s Performed in a Social Media Customer Service Test

Myself and three of my colleagues used our personal Twitter accounts to send customer service tweets to 14 leading consumer brands in seven industries. Each company received one tweet per weekday for four consecutive weeks. The goal was to evaluate which messages were prioritized and how consistently they responded.

The following guest post comes from Rachel Ramsey, Editorial Coordinator at Software Advice, a research and advisory firm.

In today’s Yelp-obsessed world, consumers are interested in marketing but only if it matches what their family and friends say about your brand. Social media is a perfect avenue for impacting these conversations. That being said, providing effective social support is just as important to this mission as sharing promotions, blog posts and deals.

However, providing strong customer service on Twitter presents a formidable challenge for companies that receive thousands of tweets per day. It’s impossible to expect them to respond to everything. Instead, they need a strategy for finding and prioritizing the most important messages.

How the Race Worked

Myself and three of my colleagues used our personal Twitter accounts to send customer service tweets to 14 leading consumer brands in seven industries. Each company received one tweet per weekday for four consecutive weeks. Half of the time we used the @ symbol with the company’s Twitter handle, the other half we didn’t.  Using the @ triggers a notification to the account owner that they’ve been mentioned in a tweet

The questions fell into one of five categories:

  • Urgent
  • Positive
  • Negative
  • FAQ
  • Technical

The goal was to evaluate which messages were prioritized and how consistently they responded. This included messages with an @ symbol and brand name, as well as others where simply the brand was mentioned. We sent the tweets every day from four different personal Twitter handles, for four consecutive weeks. We tested 14 brands in seven industries.

Some lessons learned included:

Keep the customer informed. Coca-Cola and McDonald’s committed huge errors when two of their replies came several days after the questions were sent. For the instant-gratification customer, this is the same as not responding at all.

Don’t be a robot. Customer service expert, best-selling author and speaker Micah Solomon told me recently that being human in your engagements with customers on Twitter is one of the most important considerations. Twitter is a social platform, your responders need to talk and act like they would interact with their real friends and family. Say thank you. Be personal.

Important keyword triggers are your friend. When we designed questions for the race, we specifically included questions with important intent, sentiment or risk of switching brands. Social listening software can be programmed to send service messages to the front of the line if they contain keywords such as “help,” “mad,” “thank you.” These rules are imperative for brands that need to automate tweet prioritization.

Listen for your brand, @ or no @

The social customer service innovators watch and respond to non-@ mentions because they see the opportunity to really surprise and delight. Most social listening software can be programed to listen for mentions without the @, with the @, and #brandname.

Still Not the Norm

These brands responded to a mere 14 percent of the 280 tweets delivered during the race. Whether the issue is one of strategy or technology, brands are still far from meeting customers’ expectations on Twitter.

How to Get Lucky in 2013?

13 Big and little ways to make marketing next year even more epictorial!

  1. More Word Play:  Nothing works harder for brands than when words work hard at disrupting, connecting and being fun!  More than even, especially in digital or in windows on 5th Ave, fewer words communicate more.
  2. Even More Use of Pictures:  Clearly Instagram burped recently when it proclaimed all future rights to all your pictures.  This aside, just as GIF’s demand attention so does adorable and emotional AUTHENTIC images. It is worth remembering if it looks like stock, it feels like stock.
  3. Videoh my…: 1 billion “Gangnam Style” views don’t lie. The lesson to be learned is yeah production value matters but so does creative value with musical and visual hooks that are both addictive and contagious. There’s real take away value for marketers!
  4. Rock and Scroll:  Mobile has made all of us scrollers- regardless of the device we’re on. Take advantage of this new habitual behavior with rich, story centered “endless” content.
  5. Think/Be Relevant:  Capturing attention almost always is about finding what’s important and meaningful to people.  Deep rooted sensibility into the human condition elevates way beyond “brand positioning” and into the brand conscious. Think: Apple!
  6. Don’t Be Sub- Optimized:  Smart SEO is foundational to marketing and brand/media management. It’s not “black box” anymore but with great talent, it can be out of the box!
  7. Don’t Become a “Socialpedia” Page:  Brand info. is important of course; but, being a real emotional and meaningful part of your consumer’s life is the win.
  8. Post Less, Listen More: The harm brands do to themselves by being insensitive or unaware about “social media etiquette” is unfortunate.  But the real loss is the insightful connection (and learning) involving your current or would be customers.
  9. What Will You Do Different?:  Getting your head into this is big. What will you try that you didn’t in 2012?  What do you know that you didn’t 12 months ago?  Innovation is so sexy but it really starts with being “accountable” to what you/your team is thinking or doing differently.
  10. Be Provocative and Declarative:  Cool apps and other breakthrough tech will only get you so far. Brands that have a “P&D” sensibility, that capture people’s imagination are much more likely to grow- regardless of the economy- because they inherently deliver emotional value.
  11. Use “Fact Based Passion”:  The digital age is the age of KPI’s (key performance indicators) if not always ROI. Regardless, data is more available today than ever before to support big ideas and gutsy calls.  Creative people finally have real support to back them with their most imaginative, passionate thinking. We are in the Golden age of MTKG creative because of Fact Based Passion!
  12. Earn from Mistakes:  Nothing is more valuable than helping people understand what not to do, what to avoid and why! Give speeches, be on panels, write blogs, be a for hire consultant.  If you messed up and you “own it”, then sell it. You’ll be helping yourself and others.
  13. Have More Fun. Like really have fun in 2013. If that chicken chain can get people to eat more chicken using cows, us marketers should be able to up sell fun all the way to the bank!

Good luck and have FUN all year long!