When it comes to social media, there is nothing cheesy about Taco Bell and its cross platform video marketing strategy. It was one of the first food chains to leverage social media platforms, and continues to see increased sales and stronger relationships with their customers as a result. By utilizing a broad strategy across multiple platforms, they strengthen their brand image and keep their fans engaged, especially millennials.

The brand has been uploading video content since 2011, and has a presence across all of the major social video platforms.  And although they have uploaded more content to YouTube, it’s Facebook that’s generating the most views for the fast food company – in fact, 75% of the 251M views generated by the brand since 2011 come from Facebook. Aside from views however, it is generating the highest viewer engagement via micro-video, with a hugely impressive 33% engagement rate on Instagram, and a lower, but still significant 4% for Vine (a platform the brand hasn’t been active on for at least a year). That compares to 0.5% for YouTube, and just 0.3% for Facebook.

taco bell video uploads

Taco Bell – online video cross-platform uploads 2011-2016 (All data via Tubular)

Taco Bell on Facebook: 92% of All Video Views 

Facebook appears to be the main hub for Taco Bell’s interactions right now. The unique thing about Facebook is that it accepts all types of content and allows for the same types of interactions that happen across virtually all platforms. It is the most flexible platform, so it’s no wonder that Taco Bell is using it as a hub for their content. As a matter of fact, Facebook accounted for roughly 33 out of 36 million video views the brand got in March according to Tubular data. And of the 203M video views generated for the brand’s official videos in the past 365 days, 188M were from Facebook – that’s 92.6%! With over 10 million followers on the platform, it seems that followers love the video content being posted – whether that’s organic or paid.

While each of the other platforms seems to have a specific use and strategy, Facebook is a catch-all for customers and fans of the brand. On Facebook, Taco Bell interacts with fans similar to the way it does with Twitter, frequently and with quick-witted comebacks. It also posts short videos, similar to the gifs posted to Twitter and the shorter videos posted to Instagram. The only Taco Bell content that doesn’t appear to reside on Facebook is long form video content. The brand’s most watched upload is this promo for the Breakfast Crunchwrap which has generated nearly 49M views, 21M in the first 30 days after being natively posted to the social platform.

YouTube and Taco Bell: Home of Commercials 

There are a few ways that Taco Bell is using YouTube as part of its overall video marketing strategy. First of all, it’s using the platform as a home for TV commercials, whether that’s the full version, or one that’s been cut down into more snackable content. But it isn’t just using YouTube as a TV ad dumping ground, it is also using the site to host more quirky, derivative video content, often taken from the same long-form commercial content. The derivative content could actually pass as full commercials by themselves, but by putting the alternate versions on YouTube they not only get to test which versions work the best for their current ad campaigns, but they also get to connect with audiences who may react different to the same message as told by different commercials.

Taco Bell is also using YouTube to connect with fans through video. Their most recent fan-based contest has been their Live Más Scholarship series, which features submission videos from fans who are looking for Taco Bell’s support to follow their dreams. This is the type of interaction that turns a normal fan into a super fan for life.

Instagram: Engaging Fans Via Short-form Video

Instagram doesn’t allow Taco Bell the same ease of interaction as some of the other social video platforms, like Twitter, but it does allow the brand to reach a similar audience. As a result, Taco Bell is posting much of the same content to Instagram as it is to Twitter, minus the clever direct interactions.

With 800K followers, Taco Bell is making sure to keep up with regular content to keep its fans engaged. The content may have overlap with Twitter and Facebook, but Instagram still reaches a somewhat different audience and Taco Bell is showing that every customer matters to them by remaining dedicate to the biggest platforms. It’s most watched video is this teaser for Cinnabon Delights which appeared on its $1 Morning Value Menu. It attracted over 140K views, but more importantly, it has an engagement rate of 33%, which includes 45K likes, and nearly 10K comments.

Taco Bell & Twitter: More Gifs, Less Video

Surprisingly, Taco bell isn’t using video as heavily on Twitter and is using it primarily as an engagement tool, using gifs to promote the brand and its products. The company is regularly engages with fans and customers through replies. And whether it’s a quirky comeback to a clever tweet or their most recent experiment with the “Taco Emoji Machine”, the attention it is doling out goes a long way to make a brand feel less like a big company and more like a relationship that matters.

Ultimately what Taco Bell is doing with its cross-platform video strategy is focusing on their engagement with Millennials. Why is this generation so important to marketing? By engaging with Millennials, brands can take some of the heavy lifting away from their marketing team and trust that their fans will do it for them.