How Culinary Duo HellthyJunkFood Leveraged Snapchat To Expand Its Social Video Menu

By 08/25/2021
How Culinary Duo HellthyJunkFood Leveraged Snapchat To Expand Its Social Video Menu

HellthyJunkFood, the YouTube couple comprising JP Lambiase and Julia ‘Goolia’ Yarinsky, has risen to renown for their supersized recreations of iconic fast food orders — including giant Raising Cane’s chicken tenders and a jumbo McDonald’s Filet-O-Fish — as well as other viral food-related challenges and vlogs.

As their moniker suggests, their concoctions are as eye-popping as they are wildly unhealthy.

While YouTube marks their biggest platform, with 2.4 million subscribers and 3 million monthly views, the duo launched a Snapchat channel in 2017. With behind-the-scenes footage and quick asides, it served as a low-maintenance and free-flowing alternative to their long-form YouTube content, Lambiase explains — as well as another venue to garner fan feedback.


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But earlier this year, HellthyJunkFood wanted to break into the lucrative and ad-supported walled garden of Snapchat Discover — and so they turned to their partners at Jellysmack.

Discover, first launched in 2015, comprises programming personally curated and promoted by Snapchat, with channels from traditional media brands and digital-native creators alike. Snapchat now counts 1,500 Discover channels globally from 500 publisher partners in 17 countries, the company tells Tubefilter. Last quarter, it launched a record 177 new global Discover channels, including 36 in the U.K. and 24 in India. All told, Discover reaches hundreds of millions of viewers each month, Snapchat says.

Jellysmack, which works with YouTubers to optimize and repurpose their videos for publication across additional platforms — like Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok — has a lengthy history with Snapchat Discover.

It launched its first — and now biggest — Snapchat Discover channel in 2018, an owned-and-operated original series titled Beauty Hacks that features tips and tricks. Today, Jellysmack reaches over 52 million monthly unique viewers on Snapchat across both owned-and-operated shows and creator-managed channels, like HellthyJunkFood. The company publishes a total of 34 Discover series, with three more slated to be pitched in tandem with starry creator partners in coming months, says Jellysmack’s VP of programming Jordyn Fischer.

“You don’t want to just spread your same audience across all of the different platforms”

Lambiase and Yarinsky first onboarded at Jellysmack in June 2020 to supercharge their Facebook following, with the YouTube-to-Facebook transition being Jellysmack’s bread-and-butter. At the time, HellthyJunkFood had around 240,000 followers on Facebook; today, their page has skyrocketed to 1.5 million. Subsequently, the couple expanded their relationship with Jellysmack to help amplify their presence on TikTok and Instagram as well.

On Snapchat, the growth has been seismic. The eponymous HellthyJunkFood Discover series seeks to capture the “wow factor” of food, Yarinsky explains, with three to five-minute episodes that cover food science, out-of-the-box recipes, and screenshot-worthy concoctions, like a massive corn dog (pictured above). That episode garnered 3 million views.

All told, the HellthyJunkFood Discover channel counts 396,000 followers and generates 2.7 million monthly unique viewers — to the tune of 16 million unique total views to date, and 41 million minutes of watch-time.

“There’s a huge audience on Snapchat of different people that aren’t watching us on YouTube,” Lambiase says, “and that’s incremental when it comes to growth. You don’t want to just spread your same audience across all of the different platforms.”

HellthyJunkFood’s success on Snapchat has consequently changed the way that Lambiase and Yarinskiy film their flagship YouTube videos.

In order to make them Snapchat-friendly, the pair are cognizant that both hosts can’t be in the same vertical shot, for instance, with Jellysmack’s editors opting to zoom in on each host individually for Discover. They are also sure to showcase their finished concoctions in vertically-friendly ways, while keeping a camera in portrait mode during shoots to capture any Story-able moments.

One path into a walled content garden

At Jellysmack, VP of programming Jordyn Fischer — who has been with the company since 2018 — is a key architect behind the company’s strategies across Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram.

Before it worked with creators on Discover, Jellysmack had cultivated a slate of its owned-and-operated Discover shows, including Beauty Hacks (which clocked 16 million unique viewers in July, airs three times per week, and has been syndicated in French and Arabic). The company also publishes makeover series Beauty Wow and the celebration of Black beauty Crowned Ladies, as well as reaction show Burst Out Loud and the sports-focused Oh My Goal.

Given its experience and existing relationship with the platform, the company started helping creator partners foray onto Discover — which is notoriously selective — in 2019.

“Snapchat is a closed platform,” Fischer explains, which is a huge barrier to entry for creators. “It’s not like Facebook Watch where you can decide you’re going to start posting a series. You have to be selected by Snapchat.”

The first two creators that Jellysmack onboarded at Discover were reaction channel Reaction Time (Aug. 2019) and hairstylist Brad Mondo (March 2020) after the company helped both usher in substantial growth on their respective Facebook pages.

Today, Reaction Time — which airs three times weekly on Discover — counts 6 million subscribers on Snapchat, whereas Mondo, whose show airs twice weekly, has amassed 4.5 million subscribers. Other creators that Jellysmack works with on Snapchat include LaurDIY, Philip DeFranco, D’Angelo Wallace, and Nas Daily.

It’s way more than just going vertical

In terms of translating content from other platforms to Snapchat, Fischer notes that the process is far more complex than a vertical reformatting. It includes the addition of graphics, a quicker-paced edit, and narrative restructurings to appease a more mobile, Gen Z-leaning audience. Snapchat, for its part, says it reaches 293 million users each day, including 75% of millennials and Gen Z.

Discover episodes are cut into Snapchat’s native viewing format, skippable Snaps, which is different from videos on YouTube or Facebook, which play seamlessly.  The Jellysmack team aims to keep these Snaps as short as possible so that when viewers skip ahead, they’re not missing much. Episodes of HellthyJunkFood, for instance, comprise roughly 30 Snaps apiece and typically clock in at roughly three to five minutes.

“Snap itself is meant to be consumed on a phone, and with that comes a younger demographic that’s used to getting content really quickly and all at once,” Fischer says. “They can handle it and they want to get right to it. Do not give me a two-minute, ‘Hi, how are you? This is what I did today’. There are no intros on Snapchat.”

Keeping shows snappy also helps with viewer retention, which in turns translates to more viewership of ads — which are interspersed into Discover episodes. Within Discover, Snapchat also offers “premium” shows, which tout unskippable ads and higher CPMs. All of Jellysmack’s shows hold this distinction, Fischer says.

Snapchat tells Tubefilter that while advertisers can purchase Discover show takeovers, most advertisers purchase programmatic ads that run across Snapchat based on factors like age, gender, language, interests, and location. Ads aren’t necessarily served every certain number of Snaps or based on watch-time the company says, and it does not disclose its rev share with creators.

“By partnering with someone like us, who has a proven track record of launching and maintaining successful shows for years, it helps Snapchat want to bring our shows to the platform,” Fischer concludes. “We have this amazing system and machine behind us of editors and content strategists and people making sure that everything is going to be delivered on time.”

It’s a win for creators as well. “With us being fresh on Snapchat, it’s kind of reinvigorated what we’ve been doing all these years on YouTube,” Lambiase says, “and its becoming a new revenue stream in addition to Facebook and Instagram.”

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