Condé Nast’s Food Innovation Group dominated 2016 in all of those areas: food, innovation and groups.
FIG houses Bon Appétit (the magazine), Epicurious (the website and app), The Farm (the branded content division), and the FIG Influencers Network (the blog connection).
Video revenue, for example, grew more than 100 percent year-over-year, while overall revenue was up 10 percent.
“We had great talent, and we wanted to be digital first,” said Pamela Drucker Mann, the CRO for FIG. “In this way, we’re able to sell to advertisers all as one package, as one group.”
“Advertisers get what they need in a streamlined way,” she said. “And the KPI [key performance indicator] is a homerun.”
People are looking for content in multiple places, Mann explained, so FIG became a solutions-oriented group that provides “the most innovative food content in the world” for advertisers to be a part of.
FIG’s video and social performance has been a major push behind the overall growth this year. In fact, according to FIG, Epicurious and Bon Appétit’s Facebook posts are seeing a noticable uptick in reach this quarter.
In October, total FIG traffic grew 37 percent year over year, topping 55 million unique visitors—more growth than Time Inc.’s My Recipes, the Food Network sites, BuzzFeed, Meredith’s All Recipes, Vox Media and the Martha Stewart Digital Network.
“We’re focused on stuff that works based on what people are looking to cook,” said Eric Gillin, the executive director of Epicurious. “If you type in ‘chicken’ online, you get the same chicken recipes as anyone else, even if you have three kids or you’re gluten free and can’t eat nuts.”
Epicurious has a chance, according to Gillin, to become the world’s first video recipe database.
Part of that approach comes from the grand re-launch of the Epicurious app earlier this fall; that app, as it stands, was one of the first apps ever included in Apple’s App Store, so it’s become a resource and utility for people.
“We want to own the ‘food internet,” said Mann. “We’re not just making more for the sake of more, we just know our content is better.”
“Cooking is a generational hand-me-down,” explained Gillin. “But what happens if a younger generation of people, the latchkey kids, missed out on that? We’re their chance to catch up.”
With all the growth seen in 2016, there’s plenty left to accomplish in the new year, as long as FIG keeps moving forward with the recipes, innovations and communities of food lovers they’ve developed. Look out for an expanded FIG Video Network and new video studio in Brooklyn, allowing for more space to create video content, for their own properties and for brand partners.
“You have to keep in mind where your user or reader is in their lives,” said Mann. “Consumerism changes every day and every minute, and you have to be in front of that.
“We’re serving an interest and a need, and we’ll continue to keep innovating.”