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How Italy’s most successful cooking website went multi-platform - all the way to print

Spinning off a monthly print magazine in 2017 to create an additional revenue stream for Italy’s hugely popular cooking website, Giallo Zafferano, was such a significant success that it sold 2.5 million copies in the first year, says Daniela Cerrato, head of digital product marketing of the Italian magazine division at Mondadori Publishing Group.

Since the Giallo Zafferano website was launched in 2006 with a pledge to publish one recipe a day to inspire people to cook daily in their own kitchens, the site has amassed an immense following. In 2018 the brand attracted 14 million monthly users with 1.6 million people visiting the website every day to cook Giallo Zafferano’s daily recipe.

Today the brand is supported by an impressive social media following, events, branded products, branded recipes, a TV show, recipe books and the new monthly magazine.

 

Daniela Cerrato ()

Daniela Cerrato 

 

The magazine, says Daniela Cerrato, head of digital product marketing at Giallo Zafferano brand owner Mondadori, was successful from launch. With a cover price of only EUR€1 (USD$1.15), the Giallo Zafferano magazine almost immediately sold 650,000 monthly copies monetising from a list of loyal advertisers and contributing an important percentage to the brand’s 96 per cent revenue growth over the past three years. 

Cerrato says the launch of the magazine was a natural extension given the huge popularity of the Giallo Zafferano brand. The financial success can largely be attributed to to the fact that both the website and magazine influences the decisions taken by consumers when it comes to buying products to cook the brand’s recipes.

Independent researchers, Human Highway, found that Giallo Zafferano as a brand was more popular than the local TV show, Masterchef, with 38 per cent of respondents saying they would find it difficult to live without the advice offered by tGiallo Zafferano. 

 

Giallo Zafferano magazine ()

 

“When you cook with the assistance of our platforms, you trust the information when we suggest a product to cook the recipe properly. Because we have earned the trust of our consumers we influence them to use specific products. This gears Giallo Zafferano towards creating branded content.”

She references the work they have done with the manufacturers of a sweetened palm oil spread. Apart from creating dedicated recipes and a micro website to promote it, food bloggers joined Giallo Zafferano to publish the recipes on their blogs, they created social video productions, ten short three-minute TV inserts to run alongside their Giallo Zafferano TV show and added six dedicated pages to the Giallo Zafferano magazine. The overall reach was calculated to be more than 10 million views and/or engagement.  A second part of a similar branded content campaign is being produced at the moment. 

According to Cerrato, the success of developing new brand channels to build a sustainable media model across multiple platforms must be grounded in a solid and trusted brand. The brand started with a straightforward concept: provide people with one recipe a day; make the recipe as easy as possible to cook; and share it via step-by-step instructions to avoid mistakes. 

To ensure the chosen recipes find appeal every day of the year, they use data analytics and feedback from users to pick the perfect recipes. Feedback is something they are not short of.

 

Giallo Zafferano ()

 

One recipe, of a classic Tiramisù, had 1,800 comments and one million video views in one year. They receive hundreds of thousand of photo comments of fans sharing what their final dishes looked like. On 24 December 2017, 2.5 million people went online to Giallo Zafferano to find inspiration for their Christmas meal.

To date the website has more than 4,500 recipes and over 900 videos online. This supported the launch of the new Giallo Zafferano app, which has been downloaded 6 million times. Giallo Zafferano recipes can now also be displayed on a news smart refrigerator which has bone on in Italy and there are several initiatives to integrate the functionality of the app onto smart home speakers.

Despite the massive scope for digital innovation, the need for a multi-platform approach and diversified revenue opportunities simply means that printed magazines and recipe books available on newsstands will not disappear any time soon, she says.

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