Which Beer Brand is the King of Facebook Marketing?
It's not totally out of left-field to assume that the brand with the most marketing dollars to spend, or the largest Facebook fan base would achieve the highest level of social media marketing success. Well, it turns out that marketing departments don't openly disclose budgets but there is lots of good data available that tells interesting stories of Facebook marketing success.
Using data on Facebook engagement from Expion, we compared six different beer brands that vary in size and style, including, Budweiser, Coors Light, Miller Lite, Sam Adams, Pabst Blue Ribbon (PBR), and Fullsteam Brewery, to see whose Facebook marketing is chugging along and whose is skunked.
Facebook Engagement Data Brew
We analyzed the engagement data compiled by Expion for all of the Facebook posts from the six different beer brands in a three-month span, May through July. We built a simple weighted average “Engagement Score” to determine the effectiveness of each post. The equation factors in every post's Likes, Comments, and Shares, and weights each element according to its marketing “value”, with Likes valued at x1, Comments x2 and Shares x5:
A post with 1 Like, 1 Comment, and 1 Share would have an Raw Engagement Score of 8. (1 Like X 1) + (1 Comment X 2) + (1 Share X 5).
To ensure a fair comparison, we normalized the Raw Engagement Score per 1,000 fans so that we can compare apples to apples and reasonably equate engagement in Budweiser's Facebook Fan base of 10 million to Sam Adams' community of 800,000 to Fullsteam Brewery's 10,855 Fans.
Are you having math class flashbacks yet?
It's Not The Size Of The Community That Matters
Budweiser has the largest community by about 8 million fans. If we’re measuring brand reach or brand engagement in absolute numbers, Budweiser is crushing the competition. Doesn't seem fair, right?
Budweiser is the biggest, followed by Coors Light and Miller Lite. But does a big community mean big engagement? According to our data the answer is no.
You Need To Have Good Content On Tap
Would you rather have an 8oz glass of really good beer? Or would you rather have a warm 40oz Olde English? We all have our own taste but I'm guessing that most of you shuddered a little bit over that second option. More isn't necessarily better. Marketers should be thinking of quality over quantity.
Budweiser published 195 posts on its Facebook Page in the three-month span; Fullsteam Brewery was 2nd in posting frequency with 129 posts. Sam Adams and PBR published 66 and 72 posts respectively, the fewest of the six brands. Which brand do you think saw the most Facebook engagement?
PBR Gets the Blue Ribbon. How Fitting.
We sorted the Post engagement data, and of all 675 posts from the six different brands, PBR posted six of the top 10 posts that yielded the highest engagement. Meanwhile, Budweiser, which has by far the largest community and we can assume, one of the bigger social marketing budgets - doesn't have a single post in the top 10. In fact one of Budweiser's posts doesn't show up on that list until number 28.
This post from Pabst Blue Ribbon tops the list with a score of 97.7:
The 2nd most engaging post according to our index with a score of 74 is also from PBR:
Do you see a trend? I do. Both of these posts are images, which we know get the most love on Facebook. The posts also leverage pop culture in a very simple and broadly applicable way, meaning I don't need to be a raving PBR fan to think the Iron Man post is cool. These posts relate to PBR's hipster sub-culture, meaning the posts aren't necessarily about beer. Instead, they reflect the broader halo of values, culture, and activities that are important to PBR customers.
The 3rd and 4th most engaging posts in this series, from Sam Adams and Fullsteam Brewery, respectively, don't use images or leverage pop culture. Sam Adams simple text post is relatable:
I know I'd prefer a beer over a Monday, and the 66.5 engagement score says that I'm not the only one that feels that way.
Durham's Fullsteam Brewery celebratory announcement post garnered an engagement score of 45.4:
The engagement level for the previous four posts is not the norm. Think of your post as a record topping the Billboard charts. There is a ton of music released everyday, but so few make it to the top of the list. The same goes for brand Facebook posts. Look at how steep the post engagement drop is.
Our index ranks engagement from zero to 100. Of the total 676 posts we analyzed, only 141 (or 20.9%) scored double digit engagement numbers. The overall average was a 6.6 engagement score. Engagement can be likened to a domino effect. If someone interacts with a post, there is then a chance that person's friends will see the interaction, causing them to interact and so on.
Facebook Marketing Takeaways for Brands
The posts that most reflect a brand's customers self-perception, values, culture, etc. are the posts that do the best in terms of Facebook community engagement. It's not just about using images and leveraging pop culture or current events, though everyone loves a dog in a tie.
Marketers first and foremost need to understand and clarify their brand's values and then get to know and understand their brand communities. Figure out what your audience reacts to and create a content mix that strikes that cord.
What engagement tactics have you found to be the most successful? Let us know in the comments below.
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