The beverage market faces a moment of upheaval. With consumers switching to health-oriented drinks, long-held loyalties are vanishing, and beer and soda brands must rethink their traditional strategies. As in other sectors, top brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages are embracing digital to maintain their competitive advantage.
The energy drinks mainstay takes the top spot in L2’s ranking thanks to its pervasive media presence across multiple platforms, focused on extreme sports. The Red Bull site features ample video content and links to merchandise e-commerce, while the brand’s Instagram and Facebook pages dominate rivals’ engagement. On Android, 70% of Red Bull apps boast more than a million downloads.
Digital IQ: 157
The only Index brand operating a chain of stores, Starbucks has succeeded in establishing mobile as a connective tissue, with digital payments accounting for more than a quarter of transactions. The brand app gets high ratings from users and extends far beyond ordering, with omnichannel capabilities like geolocation and various filtering methods as well as a comprehensive loyalty program.
Digital IQ: 151
Pepsi’s achievements center around social: the brand more than doubled its followership on Instagram in 2016, earning nearly 6,000 interactions per post. Yet social is hardly Pepsi’s only area of focus. The brand also possesses sophisticated Amazon product pages and achieves the second-highest number of impressions from desktop ads in the Index thanks to frequent placements co-promoting the NFL.
Digital IQ: 143
Rival Coca-Cola emerges slightly behind Pepsi but still ranks as a top performer. The MyCokeRewards program remains a leader in CRM programs among beverage brands, with wide adoption from sub-brands and accessibility from brand sites. Coca-Cola also delivers standout performance on YouTube, earning nearly half a billion views in 2016 with a notable share of organic views and the second-highest subscriber count in the Index.
Digital IQ: 140
Gatorade’s tweets, which focus on sporting events, generate more interactions than those of any other beverage brand. The brand also dominates retailer search visibility, appearing for more than a third of all category terms on Amazon and 59% of terms on Walmart, and boasts a best-in-class mobile site with both sports content and DTC e-commerce options.
6. Bud Light
Digital IQ: 137
The most visible beer brand on Walmart, Bud Light owns nearly a quarter of search results on each page which it appears. The brand also publishes the second-highest quantity of unique creatives on desktop and mobile, pushing significant spend behind its Bud Light Party YouTube campaign, which delivered strong engagement and view counts.
Digital IQ: 133
Budweiser earned the most engagement on Facebook among beer brands on the strength of its 2016 Super Bowl and “America” campaigns. The beer brand’s site features extensive and easily navigable brand heritage content, recipes, and videos, and Budweiser aggressively maintains search real estate with ads placed against brand terms.
8. Mountain Dew
Digital IQ: 129
The Super Bowl winner in 2016 might not have been the Broncos, but Mountain Dew’s “Puppymonkeybaby” spot, which racked up 30 million views on YouTube. Innovative features like Dew VR earn Mountain Dew the highest site traffic of any soda brand, but the site isn’t only gimmicks: visitors arrive at a fully optimized destination complete with a product carousel, large buttons, and links to the brand’s store on Amazon.
8. New Belgium
Digital IQ: 129
New Belgium continues to be a fan favorite, garnering the most Instagram interactions of any beer brand. Its Grand Cru loyalty program remains best-in-class, with rewards for completing challenges and a leaderboard for friends to share their results. And despite their infrequency, email campaigns earn high engagement with the third-highest read rate in the Index.
Digital IQ: 127
Despite its weaker showing, Monster outperforms rival Red Bull in Amazon search visibility, appearing on nearly a third of energy drink category searches. The brand also scores the second-largest fan and interaction count on Facebook thanks to its dedicated 25 million followers, who also ensure that more than half of Monster’s YouTube views arise organically.
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