Advertising Case Study

Tasting Table
Company Background
Tasting Table is an online newsletter with nearly 400,000 subscribers providing free daily emails with local recommendations of dining, wine, cocktails, cooking and food travel. Launched in October 2008, the site publishes local editions for New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and Chicago, plus national and Chefs’ Recipes editions. Thanks to its ad sales, New York-based Tasting Table is on track to earn $4 million in revenue in 2010.

Facebook Executive Summary
Client:

Objective: Find foodies on Facebook and invite them to subscribe to Tasting Table’s daily email publication on food and drink culture Solution: Use Facebook’s target filtering and Facebook Insights to extensively target Facebook users who have an interest in anything food-related Key Lessons: • By being creative in targeting, utilizing Facebook Insights, and trying out different Ad combinations, companies can optimize Ads and gain more subscribers • Facebook Ad campaigns can enable advertisers to find sympathetic subscribers rapidly and cost-effectively

Objective
“Our marketing strategy from day one was to trawl Facebook to find foodies and get them to sign up,” says Geoff Bartakovics, Tasting Table’s CEO. “People socialize over food, so it makes sense that virality in general, and Facebook in particular, feeds right into what we’re doing.”

Approach
Tasting Table has taken advantage of Facebook Targeting to reach Facebook users most likely to become subscribers. The company uses age targeting to reach people 21 and over as well as geo-targeting for its local editions, to reach people in the right cities. “But beyond that, the approach varies wildly,” says Geoff. “We target everything from college-educated users who have restaurant or bar-related terms in their profiles, men of 21 to 39 who have bartending or mixology keywords, to top people

There’s nothing else online that allows a small business marketer to target its advertising at a specific audience as accurately and cost-effectively as Facebook. And I would encourage other small business users to figure out the nuggets you can glean from Facebook Insights.
Geoff Bartakovics, CEO, Tasting Table

Advertising Case Study

who have food-related movies, TV shows or magazines as their favorites.” While Facebook Targeting allows companies to reach the most likely customers based on information they list in their profiles, it does not share the personal data of the people who fit into the targeting categories. Tasting Table uses the Facebook analytics feature called Facebook Insights to help optimize its Ads. “You start to see a lot of interesting correlations you never would have thought of,” says Geoff. “For instance, a lot of our subscribers seem to have U2 as a favorite band, and if you can overlay those preferences with more classic keywords, you can really start optimizing your Ads.” The Ads themselves are punchy – “Hey foodie,” or “Free email for adventurous eaters” – and Tasting Table sent out a variety of headlines, images and body texts to test out which combinations worked best. “We were spending $2,500 a day when we launched,” says Geoff, “so it was crucial to know which Ads were working for us. You have to be structured in your approach – you can’t just throw something at the wall.”

system. With Facebook, you should concentrate on the art as much as the science.” Not that the science isn’t working. “It’s about focus,” says Geoff. “There’s nothing else online that allows a small business marketer to target its advertising at a specific audience as accurately and cost-effectively as Facebook. And I would encourage other small business users to figure out the nuggets you can glean from Facebook Insights.”

The Future
Geoff has big plans for continuing the Tasting Table-Facebook synergy. “I understand there are 500 million people on Facebook,” he says, “so I believe I can find more foodies and use more keywords to coax them into signing up.” Tasting Table also plans to launch more city editions and to use Facebook’s geo-targeting to spread the word in those new territories: “There’s plenty of scope for us, absolutely.”

Results
• Tasting Table has grown from 50,000 to 400,000 subscribers in less than two years, with around 40 percent of those subscribers, according to Geoff, originating from Facebook • The number of people connected to Tasting Table’s Facebook Page has nearly doubled from 12,500 in October 2008 to 25,894 as of midNovember 2010 as the company has run Facebook Ads

“You see instant feedback, positive and negative, from Facebook Ads, but the smart Facebook advertiser should hang in there,” says Geoff. “Some of our best-performing Ads had very slow starts. People are moody and fickle and so is the

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