“We reverse engineered it and launched a magazine after a website,” he said.
In 2012, consumers would turn to online sources over magazines and recipe books for food ideas, Lovell said. “The problem was, we weren’t number one in digital food sites,” he said. Meredith brands lead the market in parenthood and homes, but their food sites weren’t getting the same results. “However, in 2012, the AllRecipes brand came up for sale.”
AllRecipes is the largest food site in the world. It has 11 per cent of the global food audience, 25 million monthly unique views, Lovell said. AllRecipes has 18 sites serving 23 countries in 12 languages.
The acquisition of AllRecipes doubled their traffic. Meredith’s ownership of AllRecipes has been transformational for AllRecipes, too. “AllRecipes advertising sales, at the time, was based in Seattle.”
At the time, 25 per cent of users were coming from mobile, but they had no mobile site. Expanding digitally added to Meredith’s total audience and does not cannibalise their print activities, Lovell said. Meredith looked to strengthen development across platforms, strengthen their core user experience and expand internationally.
“Seeing this strong consumer engagement across brands meant AllRecipes had to be cross-platform too,” he said.
“The print medium is good at inspiration,” Lovell said. “We thought AllRecipes would work in print, and in summer 2013 tested the brand. In the markets where we did that it sold four times more copies.”
Lovell said they created a skinny version of AllRecipes magazine, polybagged it, and put it in the mail. It was a hit – within the first three weeks, Meredith received cash orders for 450,000 subscriptions. Now, it has 1.3m subscriptions.
Currently, the site AllRecipes stays focused on utility for its audience, but the magazine can branch out to cooking tutorials, shopping ideas, and investigate trends.
The Meredith teams are working on the next chapter for the AllRecipes brand, expanding it beyond a recipe repository and a print magazine, to a social network.
“The US team is transforming the brand to become a food focused social network,” Lovell said.
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