Alcohol brands dominated digital campaigns, driving high customer engagement rates during the second half of 2021, and accounting for five of the seven “Breakthrough Moments” (campaigns/ad spots with high click-through rates) noted by InMarket, a consumer intelligence/real-time marketing platform.
This marked a sharp increase from both the first half of the year, when none of InMarket’s four recognized Breakthrough Moments involved alcohol brands, and from 2020’s second half, when just one of five Breakthrough Moments did.
“What’s clear from the top-performing campaigns is that while alcohol prices are increasing and usage remains above pre-pandemic levels, consumers are seeking value during a period of record inflation,” Michael Della Penna, InMarket’s chief strategy officer, told Marketing Daily.
Indeed, the messaging of three of the Breakthrough Moments highlighted savings or rebate offers, Della Penna noted.
Bread & Butter Wines, with a 17.85% click-through-rate (CTR) -- or 29.8 times over the industry benchmark -- offered consumers $15 off their next purchase.
Anheuser-Busch used a $5 rebate offer to drive an 11.85% CTR for three hard seltzer brands: Bud Light Seltzer, Michelob Ultra Organic Seltzer, and Bon Viv.
And Anheuser-Busch’s Stella Artois beer, in a holiday campaign collaboration with Water.org, offered a $10 rebate, resulting in a 9.45% CTR.
The other two Breakthrough Moments alcohol campaigns were Proximo Spirits’ Pendleton Whisky, which invited users to click to enter a sweepstakes (14.66% CTR), and Tribute Wine, which highlighted a 90-point grade from Wine Enthusiast (13.30% CTR).
Della Penna added that alcohol brands have been engaging consumers through “personalized creative that offers discounts, contests, cocktail recipes, and exact in-store locations.”
In a related development, InMarket reported large growth in spending per customer for 40 beer brands on its platform since the start of the pandemic. While average spend was $13.11 in January/February 2020, the spend jumped to $22.17 during the same months in 2021 and was $18.23 this year, which Della Penna noted was still up 39% from the pre-pandemic spend. (Michelob Ultra, by the way, has led all beer brands this year, with a $32.59 per-customer spend, up 70% from $19.16 two years ago).
“As social distancing made access to bars and restaurants limited, alcohol sales soared,” Della Penna said. “Alcohol brands had to pivot their strategies to meet abruptly evolving behaviors of 21+ consumers, who were quickly stocking up on their favorite liquor.”
Consumer engagement successes aren’t just limited to alcohol brands, however, with the Florida Lottery and Barilla pasta also making the InMarket Breakthrough Moments list.
The Florida Lottery, in fact, achieved the highest engagement rate of all brands during the second half of 2021: 18.06%, or 30.1 times the industry benchmark.
The Lottery used a gamified, holiday-themed campaign titled "So Much Gift" that prompted consumers to drag gifts from Santa's sleigh into a series of chimneys. Players were then invited to 'Learn More' about holiday lottery games and their potential winnings.
Barilla saw a 5.41% CTR for a campaign promoting its Red Lentil Spaghetti, which included a Target logo.