Each quarter Nudge looks into Native content within all categories to find out which content styles and publishers perform the best. It’s a chance to see what others are doing within your category and take learnings for your next campaign.

This review covers the below for Food and Drink:

  • Content format
  • Publisher performance
  • Social Insights
  • Best practice
  • Learnings
  • Key takeaways
  • Further reading

For this report, we’ve split out the research into content styles and major publishers to look at not just the format of content but some of the leading publishers within this category to find trends and learnings.

The below graph shows where content styles sit looking at engagement and estimated attention minutes (based on Nudge’s dataset from the full product).

Content Formats

Definitions and Examples

Custom-Feature: Something a little different from the layout of the rest of the site. Normally includes parallax, video and an interactive element.

List: A content format which follows a numbered list. Can include images and text.

Video & Article: A video featured on a publishers site including an article write up.

Article: The most common form of native content. Normally follows the article layout of the sites editorial content.

Recipe: An article laid out in a recipe format.

Slideshow: A slideshow of images including opening copy and copy with most slides.

Video: A video featured on a publishers site. Normally includes a paragraph of text from the publisher.

As we can see here the Custom Feature is the most engaging format for this category, winning not just in high engagement but also high attention. The List format also continues to do well within this category. Video’s with Articles and standalone Articles also continue to be top performers in this category.

However, Recipe’s which we would have assumed as being both winners in attention and engagement aren’t performing as well as the standard formats. Slideshows have dropped in engagement which is likely due to not as much promotion. Video’s by themselves continue to not be top performers within any category.

Upworthy is the top publisher within this category. It’s followed by Huffington Post, Elite Daily, Gawker Media, Complex, The Onion and Time Inc.

For the first time since we’ve started creating these reports, we’ve seen BuzzFeed not be in the top half of this graph. Business Insider and SheKnows Media are the lowest performing publishers within this category.

Social Insights

  • Custom Feature is the best format for high Pinterest shares.
  • All other formats within this category find most of their engagement happening on Facebook.
  • The Article format had the highest Twitter shares.
  • Overall Twitter isn’t a strong platform for this category.
  • Pinterest shares on Recipe’s are low showing that more sites need to optimise towards this platform for increased engagement on this format.

Best Practice

Publisher: Pure Wow
Brand: Sargento Tastings
Content Format: Custom Feature

Sargento Tastings + PureWow


Publisher: Upworthy
Brand: Tillamook
Content Format: Video & Article

Tillamook + UpWorthy


This piece is a combined video and article post in Upworthy promoted by Tillamook dairy. The video gives you a look at the “ true American farmer life”, giving the reader a feeling of what the brand stands for. The content for both the video and the text in the article speaks to you about authenticity and value in a world where we are surrounded by factory food and fake ingredients. It puts the brand in a good position from showcasing both the farmer’s point of view and the consumers. It’s a topic that is relevant and that people are concerned about – fake food. The video provides a great story that everyone wants to believe in and share, the length of the video is just about right. They chose to also describe the video in text and pictures, this may have been because they wanted to enhance the probability of the reader staying on the page and also giving them a choice of what they prefer. Text or video.

Publisher: PopSugar
Brand: Jell-O
Content Format: Recipe

Jell-o + PopSugar

This is a fun and easy recipe that gives parents an alternative to spice up their family movie nights at home. It’s fairly straightforward and the pictures look fun and appealing and the recipe is easy to adopt. Recipes like this are great due to the incredibly active online parenting communities, blogs and social pages. The connection for Jell-O is clear as it’s one of the main ingredients and that it’s promoted by them doesn’t feel false. A good way to create native content that fits with the surrounding environment but that has a very clear connection to the brand.


  • Food nowadays is about culture and personality, and by the food and drink choices we make we are also creating a personal image. Creating content that the reader wants to share in order to build on that image will definitely increase your connection with the publisher and also your chances of increased engagement with those readers.
  • Simple and beautiful layouts within this category are the best way to get your product across and by making sure you have the right social sharing functionality can help increase your engagement significantly.
  • Recipe’s by themselves weren’t a top performer with this category, however, some of the custom features included recipes and these did by outperform the other formats. Showing that recipes are always a great way to approach food and drink, but that they need to be done innovatively to succeed.
  • Though Pinterest only made up for 8% of overall shares, it was interesting to see that the recipe format on sites only had 3% of their shares on Pinterest. The majority of these sites hadn’t optimised for Pinning with this format.

Key Takeaways

  • Custom Feature’s and Lists are the most engaging formats.
  • Videos are the least engaging format within this category.
  • Recipes do perform well but surprisingly are not within the top engaging formats.
  • This is BuzzFeed’s lowest performance to date within these research reports (though it still performs above many of the mainstream publishers).
  • Upworthy, Huffington Post and Elite Daily are the top publishers for this category.
  • Easy sharing functionality is a must within this category. Especially Pin It buttons.
  • Facebook is the main social platform for sharing on this category.

More Native Reading

Why you need quality metrics – the ROI of native content

Native content – sponsored content hubs

Engagement and attention – you need both

A closer look at attention metrics

If you’d like assistance in planning your buy, schedule a call with us to see how Nudge can help: contact@giveitanudge.com