The Q + A: Food52Growing online kitchen and home publisher shares insights into community engagement — and handmade wool dryer balls.

Food52 is an online kitchen and home destination with a growing cult following. With a combined total reach of 12 million across their site and social media channels, readers are flocking to the site for recipe inspiration, kitchen organization tips, and to purchase high-quality cookware to help them cook 52 weeks of the year.

We sat down with Sam Stahl, Food52’s chief revenue officer, who shared his insights into what it takes to carve out a global audience for a specialist brand in 2018.

What led Food52 to turn to Quantcast as a way to better understand your audience?

It’s all about telling a better story to our advertising partners. While Food52 has always done well in the food space, the past year has seen a focus on expanding our advertiser base to categories like automotive, finance, entertainment, and more. For example, using Quantcast Measure’s Audience Builder sales enablement tool, we saw that our audience over-indexed for streaming-content consumers, so that allowed us to win our first entertainment campaigns, a category of advertiser we previously did not pursue. Quantcast gave us the tools to tell the story, and back it up with data, of how our highly engaged audience can help advertisers meet their campaign objectives.

What audience insight have you found to be the most surprising?

Just the incredible detail with which we can define our audience. If we want to discover new families who love Netflix and Spotify and also shop organic, we can do it.

What is the most interesting recipe that has been featured on Food52?

Well, we don’t play favorites, but this No-Measure Chocolate Cake is representative of what we’re all about: fun, rule-breaking recipes made with our community. This one doesn’t have any recipe measurements—you just use a 7-oz. yogurt container as your guide. And our award-winning column Genius Recipes (also a bestselling cookbook series), started by our Creative Director, Kristen Miglore, totally changes the way you think about everyday ingredients.

How would you define your company’s culture?

Our mission is to help people eat thoughtfully and live joyfully, and we want our team to work joyfully too. At Food52 we celebrate collaboration, embrace transparency, prioritize fun, and strive for daily innovation, and we believe these values create a joyful and inspiring culture.

How does Food52 engage with their readers on a regular basis?

Community is at the heart of everything we do. We have over 1.5 million registered community members along with over 5 million monthly global uniques on our website. This growth is due to constantly being in conversation with our community—on our articles, our recipes, our 24/7 cooking hotline, and on our social accounts. We just hit 2 million followers on Instagram, and we have viral Cookbook and Baking Clubs on Facebook that are nearing 42,000 followers combined.

What’s next for the brand?

A few years ago we expanded to become a retail platform and now sell more than 2,000 cooking and kitchen-related items, including the ever-popular wool dryer balls. We’re now beginning to design products in collaboration with our community for our forthcoming private label line. In one recent product design survey we received more than 10,000 responses about cutting-board design.

As a CRO, what keeps you up at night?

The sheer amount of options available to advertisers today, ranging from Facebook and Google to almost infinite programmatic vendors to the legacy players like Condé Nast. It’s becoming even more essential to establish a clear differentiator for your product and be able to illustrate that clearly and simply.

 

For more information, please visit Quantcast Measure.