Consumer motivations for buying a new alcoholic beverage/craft beer brand include taste/trying a new flavor, style/trying a new type (e.g. IPA, stout), and price. Digital marketing trends in the beverage industry include boosting engagement on Facebook and Twitter, tapping influencer marketing, and publishing branded videos on YouTube. A deep dive of these findings has been presented below.
Consumer Motivations for Buying a New Alcoholic Beverage/Craft Beer Brand
1. Taste / Trying a New Flavor of Craft Beer
- A survey of 2,000 Americans found that taste is the number one factor craft beer drinkers look for when choosing a brand, with around 90% of respondents agreeing.
- The taste of craft beer is so important to consumers, likely because the taste is the number one factor driving the growth of craft beer, according to nearly 70% of survey respondents.
- Corroborating these recent findings, an academic study was conducted in 2014 which concluded that “craft beer is chosen according to different flavor preferences.”
- Likewise, a survey of 300 respondents found that taste was the most important factor when choosing a beer to purchase (85%).
- A Nielsen survey found that flavor is a key factor that influences which new beers consumers try.
- A Mintel survey conducted in 2018 found that “Flavor I Enjoy” was ranked by consumers as the number two motivator for what makes them try a new drink away from home.
- An academic study conducted of college students in Nigeria found that taste was one of three major determinants of brand switching behaviors among alcohol consumers.
- Among younger consumers surveyed, 50% say they drink craft beer because they like trying new things. Among craft beers, there is a wide variety of taste profiles to choose from. This was true for 61% of those in the U.S. and 59% of those in the U.K.
- Likewise, when asked about closely they pay attention to the taste of craft beer they purchase for at-home consumption, 90% of U.S. respondents said they pay a lot of attention to this, while 87% of those in the U.K. said the same.
2. Style/ Trying a New Type of Craft Beer
- A survey of 2,000 Americans found that style/type (e.g. stout, IPA, etc) is the number two factor craft beer drinkers look for when choosing a brand, with around 65% of respondents agreeing.
- Likewise, a 2020 survey of over 1,200 Americans found that the type of beer (e.g. IPA) was the number one factor that is most important when choosing a craft beer (53%).
- Another survey, this time of 300 respondents, found that the style of beer was the third most important factor consumers consider when choosing a beer to purchase (55%).
- A Mintel survey conducted in 2018 found that “Alcohol Type I Enjoy” was ranked by consumers as the number one motivator for what makes them try a new drink away from home.
- IPA is the style of craft beer most preferred by millennials. Although IPAs are widely liked by millennials, craft beer industry experts, such as Carole Kennelly of Historic Brewing, note that the wide variety of IPA craft beers actually has dissuaded some from trying new types of craft beers because they are turned off by the taste of hops and assume that all craft beers taste this way, since many craft beers are IPAs. Therefore, she says that its “vital to educate new customers that many beer styles do not have a hop heavy taste profile.” Roxane Nielsen of Prescott Brewing seconds this opinion, saying, “A previous bad experience with an IPA that someone was not prepared for can lead to a bad connotation of craft beer as a whole.” According to data, among craft beer drinkers, 45% like hoppy flavored beers, while 24% do not. Overall, 76% say they like beers that have a clean and crisp style.
- A Nielsen survey found that bitterness level is a key factor that influences which new beers consumers try.
- A survey of 2,000 Americans found that price is the number three factor craft beer drinkers look for when choosing a brand, with a little over 50% of respondents agreeing.
- Likewise, a 2020 survey of over 1,200 Americans found that the price of beer was the number three factor that is most important when choosing a craft beer (34%).
- Furthermore, a survey of 300 people found that price was the second most important factor consumers consider when choosing a beer to purchase (62%).
- A Mintel survey conducted in 2018 found that “Special Pricing” was ranked by consumers as the number three motivator for what makes them try a new drink away from home.
- An academic study conducted of college students in Nigeria found that price was one of three major determinants of brand switching behaviors among alcohol consumers.
- 25% of beer drinkers surveyed said that price is important when it comes to craft beer. A majority expect to get an honest brew at a reasonable price.
Digital Marketing Trends: Beverage Industry
1. Driving Facebook and Twitter Engagement
- 97% of craft beer drinkers say their purchases were influenced directly by social media, blogs, and ads.
- In 2019, Statista reported that the alcohol vertical has the second highest engagement rate in regard to brand posts on Twitter, with a rate of 0.08%. The food and beverage vertical overall had a rate of 0.06%.
- A 2017 industry report states that “food and beverage fans on Facebook are twice as likely to engage with organic content or ads from brands than the average Facebook user.”
- Food and beverage businesses hold a 32% share of brand mentions on Twitter and Facebook, making them the most mentioned category of businesses on the platform.
- “Out of the hundreds of groups dedicated to beer on Facebook, over 130 have greater than 1,000 members, and dozens have 5,000 or more members.”
- Likewise, 60% of the most popular brands on Facebook are in the F&B industry. Due to the popularity of these verticals on these platforms, these are seen as highly effective channels for beverage brands.
- Carlsberg UK used Twitter to advertise its new beer product and garnered 50 million impressions. The brand now has over 34K followers on Twitter.
- Red Bull has 2.2 million Twitter followers and 48 million Facebook followers.
- Budweiser had 14 million Facebook followers and 154K Twitter followers, as of 2017.
2. Publishing Branded Videos on YouTube
- Food and beverage brands post over 200 YouTube videos per month.
- “The ten most-viewed brands on YouTube are all beverage, alcohol, or quick-service restaurant brands.”
- An academic study published in 2018 examined 187 ads on YouTube and found that 38% were from the F&B category.
- Between 2016 and 2017 annual views of F&B content on YouTube grew 60% YoY.
- On YouTube, there are over 6,549 channels related to craft beer specifically, and over a million channels about beer overall.
- YouTube has a large following of users who come to the site looking for food and beverage related videos, with 50% of adults saying they watch videos in this vertical. Using the site to learn how to make new drinks, for example, is a popular activity. For instance, 86% of millennials say they use YouTube to get guidance on topics like meal preparation.
- Robinsons Brewery used YouTube video campaigns to garner 60,000 video views and a 25% engagement rate.
- Red Bull has 1.9 billion views on YouTube, with 6.4 million subscribers. They have posted a total of 6.7K videos on the platform, as of 2017.
- As of 2017, Budweiser had 97 million views on YouTube, with 155K subscribers.
3. Tapping Into Influencer Marketing
- There are over 9,050 active beverage influencers across North America and Europe, according to Traacker. When craft breweries use influencers, they get twice the engagement levels that big brand breweries do.
- 92% of consumers say they trust recommendations from people they know, and customer-to-customer referrals have a 37% higher retention rate. Likewise, 67% of marketers say they advocate marketing campaigns are a key way for them to engage with their audiences.
- Influencer marketing is attractive to beverage brands, as the top food and beverage influencers earn twice as many views and four times the engagement levels as the top food and beverage brands on YouTube.
- Guinness relies on a network of over 2,245 influencers, making it the largest influencer network in the beer industry. Corona has the second largest influencer network, but Guinness has 2.5x more.
- The Tipsy Bartender is among the most prominent influencers in the beverage industry, with 4.08 million subscribers on YouTube alone and videos that amass tens of thousands of views each.
To conduct this research, consumer surveys were analyzed to understand the motivations of consumers when it comes to buying a new craft beer product. There was a wealth of information available regarding craft beer consumer behaviors. Information regarding digital marketing trends specific to the beverage industry was found to be much more limited. Although there exists a number of surveys of beverage brands regarding their marketing habits, it was noted that these surveys are largely locked behind paywalls which makes them unavailable to our team. Despite this, our team relied on available consumer, industry, and marketing data published over last few years to gain an understanding of the digital channels and tactics that beverage brands are relying on the most to reach their audience, as well as which of these channels and tactics are proving to be the most effective. In doing so, we were able to gain a broad view of the core digital marketing trends within this industry while providing detailed statistics that support and explain each.