Traditional categories such as soft drinks and juices, and emerging categories such as milk alternatives and kombucha play side by side in the beverage landscape, intensifying competition between enterprise and indie brands. Successful enterprises are leaning on their size and scale for dominating the digital share of voice and engagement by strategically prioritizing pay to play platforms. On the other hand, indie brands are more aligned to search trends and win with a content strategy focused on education, health, and brand storytelling. But both enterprise and indie brands face a bigger threat in the form of private label brands, the third major force in this competitive landscape with products in 97% of categories.
Bypassing e-tailers and going direct to consumers is an alternative, but not one that all brands can profitably pivot to in the short term. As competition intensifies, these ten brands have asserted their value proposition and ensure a coordinated strategy to drive awareness, engagement, and commerce.
1. Starbucks Digital IQ: 143
Starbucks leads across the board with the best nonbranded SEO performance on Google, highest interactions per post on Instagram, and 50 times higher brand site visits than the index average. Starbucks rounds out its strength in organic search performance on ready-to-drink coffee keyword searches with investment in mobile text and showcase ads against nonbranded queries for ground coffee and k-cup formats.
2. Gatorade Digital IQ: 142
Gatorade utilizes robust PDP featuring ingredient content, product recommendations, reviews, and ratings on its brand site and also leads search visibility against sports drink keyword searches on Amazon Fresh. The brand boasts six times the index average in its share of desktop ad impressions and also ran a successful ad campaign, “You Fuel Us, We Fuel You,” featuring celebrity athletes that earned over 100 million views on YouTube.
3. Coca-Cola Digital IQ: 140
Coca-Cola outperforms the index average across all e-tailers, especially on Amazon Fresh and Walmart Grocery, with more than 50% visibility against soft drink keyword searches. Additionally, the brand focuses on high volume queries in its category to drive strong organic and paid search visibility on Google. The brand also drives Instagram performance through both its brand posts around the #WorldKindnessDay campaign and the successful use of influencer posts, outpacing the index average of 1.3 million interactions on branded posts on influencer channels by more than 12 million interactions.
4. Red Bull Digital IQ: 138
Red Bull leads the index on both Facebook and Instagram, owning 80% of interactions among tracked brands on Facebook with its extensive sports and live event footage. On Google, Red Bull earns the second-highest text ad visibility on desktop and mobile, which bolsters the brand’s paid search performance against energy drink keyword searches. Red Bull also owns an 11% share of all mobile video impressions, the third-highest in the index.
5. Pepsi Digital IQ: 133
Breaking into the top five in 2019, Pepsi was buoyed by a more than five-fold increase in organic visibility in the soft drinks category as compared to 2018. A holistic e-commerce strategy resulted in the highest visibility in the soft drinks category on Target and Kroger, while finishing in the top three on Amazon and Walmart. Pepsi also rounds out its performance with strong media support in the form of promoted Facebook posts and mobile display ads.
6. Silk Digital IQ: 130
E-commerce is the biggest strength for Silk, as it remains one of the leading brands across all e-tailers through strong PDP merchandising and search visibility against various non-dairy keyword categories. Silk also successfully uses organic and paid search to appear against both soy milk and almond milk keyword searches on Google supported by relevant educational content on its site.
7. Coffee-mate Digital IQ: 128
Dominance in the creamer category gives this brand an edge on search performance, both on Google and on e-tailer platforms. It is not only the index-best on both Amazon Classic and Amazon Fresh with 78% and 84% visibility in the creamer category respectively, but is also one of the top five brands on nonbranded SEO on Google for both desktop and mobile.
7. Monster Energy Digital IQ: 128
Monster Energy, like Red Bull, primarily derives its digital media strength from social media channels, where it accounts for 10.4% and 7.2% of the total interactions among index brands on Facebook and Instagram respectively. The brand further supplements this with investments in paid search on Google and mobile web advertising, where it owns a 31% share of all mobile video impressions in the index.
9. Ocean Spray Digital IQ: 127
Ocean Spray’s success is primarily driven by strong paid search performance on Google, especially in shopping ads, with 41% visibility in the cranberry juice category. The brand also boasts best-in-class site features including educational content on ingredients and production processes, the ability to filter by dietary characteristic, information on the sustainability of the harvest, and links to branded recipes. Ocean Spray focuses on e-tailer search performance as well, achieving over 90% organic search visibility against nonbranded cranberry juice keyword searches on all e-tailers.
10. Lipton Digital IQ: 125
Sophisticated PDP on brand site enables Lipton to provide a rich customer experience with user reviews and ratings, links to editorial content, and Smartlabel with ingredient information. Lipton is particularly strong on Amazon Fresh with 69% organic visibility against tea keywords and 88% organic visibility against iced tea keywords helping the brand land the second-best performance on Amazon Fresh.