Cooking Light’s Social Strategy Pays Off On Mobile, Pinterest

Cooking Light Pinterest strategyTime Inc.’s Cooking Light site has seen impressive growth, with social media referrals and mobile playing a big part.  Social media referrals are now the #2 source of traffic for, and “the brand has introduced new strategies to ensure these traffic numbers continue to grow.”  And since the mobile site launched back in February of last year, it has grown 106%.

The growth in mobile came as no surprise: the brand pushed to make the mobile site user-friendly last year, realizing that many consumers engaged with the site’s content while shopping and planning meals on-the-go.  According to Long Lowery, “My homepage flows right into the mobile site.”

Admittedly, January is traditionally a good month for “People are searching for low-calorie and healthy recipes in January like it’s nobody’s business,” the brand’s digital editor, Allison Long Lowery, told Folio Mag.  Here are the numbers for Cooking Light’s web site in January:

  • the site grew to 2 million unique visitors – a 47% increase year-over-year
  • and to 20 million page views – an increase of 57% year-over-year
  • natural search rose 34%
  • social media referrals grew 114%

While the brand is present on multiple social platforms and uses online video, Pinterest has come to play a major role in social marketing. Long Lowery tells Folio Mag: “Pinterest is hugely important for us right now. Search was a big part of our growth in January but social referrals was the number two reason and it was primarily from Pinterest.”

Pictures of food and recipes are hugely popular on Pinterest, and Cooking Light adjusts their strategy on the site based on what people are pinning, whether that’s putting up salad recipes in the height of salad season, or providing a healthy recipe option for users pinning about “pepper poppers” around Super Bowl time.

The Cooking Light team sometimes adjusts their broader social strategy based on what’s trending on Pinterest; if a specific food is getting a lot of attention on the platform, the brand will post related content on its Twitter and Facebook pages as well.

This approach is not only leading to success in terms of site traffic, but is also appealing to advertisers. Cooking Light publisher Karla Partilla told Folio Mag, “It’s the multiple touch points we offer them—Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or the video components that we have. Advertisers are coming to us for the overall experience.”