L2 Digital IQ Index: Top Beverage Brands in Digital 2017

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L2 Digital IQ Index: Top Beverage Brands in Digital 2017

Have classic colas gone flat? Consumer shelf space is filling up with healthy newcomers, as sales of bottled water surpassed soda for the first time, last year. Beverage behemoths have turned to a cocktail of acquisitions and product innovation, to compete with newcomers. However, digital investments are necessary, to stay afloat.

Customer-facing efforts, including CRM programs and subscription services, offer opportunities for major players to establish direct-to-consumer relationships, in the face of a changing marketplace. Index brands have improved site functionality over the past two years. However, only 24% link to third party retailers, a critical but overlooked investment, as major retailers, including Amazon and Walmart, own the real estate for category search terms on Google, across waters, teas and soft drinks.

In lieu of direct-to-consumer ecommerce, best in class brands are instead focusing on e-tailer distribution, and cross-promoting third party availability on social platforms. Social platforms provide valuable tools for establishing an engaged customer base.

But key platforms, including Facebook and YouTube, are increasingly pay-to-play, dominated by major conglomerates, such as Coca Cola. However, on Instagram and third party sites, smaller brands can earn engagement by directly connecting with devoted fans, leveraging compelling creative.

In this year’s Digital IQ Index – Beverages, Red Bull rises to the top, behaving like a media company that sells energy drinks. Their sponsored sporting events and media partnerships provide a constant stream of compelling video that is well suited for social platforms. The brand accounted for 56% of total index brand interactions across Instagram, in 2016.

This study attempts to quantify the digital competence of 116 beverage brands operating in the United States.

For these and other insights, visit L2Inc.com.