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Monthly searches for beverage brand terms were up by 16% in July compared to the beginning of 2014, driven by a 23% increase in the soda category. And L2’s Digital IQ Index: Beverages found that brands are not taking advantage of this increase and are still underinvested in paid search.

Paid ads appear on 80% of Google brand searches, but brands are controlling just 17% of the paid results. Furthermore, they are not being strategic in their purchases. Red Bull is the only brand buying against its competitor (Monster Energy) and 5-Hour Energy, Vita Coco and Zico are the only brands that offer a paid retail handoff in their ad results.

Instead, e-tailers are recognizing the importance of SEO and SEM. Third-party retailers own just 6% of organic results, but they are making investments in paid search. Walmart and Amazon are optimizing for brand search terms to direct consumers to their site. Amazon owns 44% of the first page organic search results for beverage brand terms dominated by retailers, and Walmart owns 32%.

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