Bud Light topped L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beer, released today. Behind the digital Genius is a combination of strategic search investments, social efforts and prime-time purchases. The brand has the largest Facebook audience of all brands in our Index, and claims a 6x return on spending on the platform in addition to a 3.3% sales lift among households exposed to Bud Light Facebook ads. And though it honors the “gentlemen’s agreement” among Beer brands to not participate in competitive SEM, Bud Light has strategically purchased football related terms to increase its visibility. (Purchasing generic terms is a common strategy for Beer brands as a loophole the agreement.) The keyword NFL draft resulted in more than 2,500,000 BudLight.com impressions between August 2012 and 2013.
Bud Light’s large budget enables prime time purchases such as the Super Bowl ad, but the brand leverages them with digital efforts. For Super Bowl 2014, Bud Light used the hashtag #UpForWhatever to build up anticipation for the game and #BestBuds during game time. It released a number of pre-game teaser videos on YouTube with “Up for Whatever in the Title” before debuting at the Super Bowl. Bud Light went as far as creating apps to leverage its offline sponsorships. The Fan Zone app, created in partnership with sister brand Budweiser, has games for play during sports events. The Music First app provided additional engagement for the brand’s sponsorship of 50 concerts in 50 states.
While Bud Light’s path to digital competency could be difficult to emulate for all brands, it offers good takeaways on combining online and offline efforts.