As the number one traffic driver to brand sites this year, search is a crucial digital marketing platform for spirits brands to capture and convert consumers on Google. Gartner L2’s Spirits US: Search Optimization report reveals the gaps that exist between leaders and laggards in their efforts on search, and how savvy brands are taking advantage of a first-mover advantage to innovate on search and capture market share. These digitally nimble brands identify search niches that allow them to drive traffic to their brand sites, even when consumers aren’t searching for their brand name directly.
Across the 24 Gifted and Genius brands in this years’ index, half of the top 100 paid keywords driving to those brand sites are nonbranded. Leader brands strategically bid on category keywords that prove to be effective in directing traffic to their owned channels. Some categories lean into this more than others, especially for brands in increasingly crowded and competitive product categories. Across the five Genius and Gifted vodka brands, paid keywords made up two-thirds of their top 100 paid search terms driving to site, on average. More so, just 6% of incoming traffic to Grey Goose vodka comes from paid keywords that include the brand name. Instead, the brand’s paid search strategy focuses on investment in vodka flavor terms like “vanilla vodka” and education terms like “best vodka.”
By backing search strategies with paid investments, these brands are seeing a return on their investments. However, they aren’t just setting and forgetting. Instead, leader brands are also accelerating this effort over time. During peak alcohol sale seasons in December, on average, Genius and Gifted brands buy 21 times more paid search keywords year-on-year compared to Challenged and Feeble brands that only increase investment at a rate of six times during the same period.
Brands should prioritize a diverse search strategy with paid investments to capitalize on existing opportunities on search before their peers wake up to the current state of search within the industry and the results page becomes even more competitive. Because the paid landscape isn’t as crowded yet as it is in more digitally mature sectors, a small investment now can have a big impact, and brands still have opportunities to make significant gains in visibility.