- Examining consumers' social media conversations through metrics like the amount of mentions and reach to net sentiment and brand passion can illuminate how they feel about particular brands and categories, according to a new Netbase report analyzing 73 food and beverage brands.
- Skittles and Budweiser tied for the highest social rank, followed by Red Bull, Pringles and Coca-Cola. The five with the lowest social ranks were Rockstar, Cascadian Farm, Yellow Tail Wine, Kashi and Bawls Energy Drink.
- While dairy had the lowest volume of social media mentions out of the six categories studied, it was the leader in net sentiment, passion intensity and overall favorability.
The report showed many trends in the industry—but not all of them—are reflected in social media conversations.
Carbonated beverages ranked highest by far for number of mentions, showing how much consumers take to social media to discuss this currently controversial category. Coca-Cola was mentioned more times than any other brand (and represented 46% of the beverage category's mentions), but had a low favorability rank. Meanwhile, brands like Snapple, Vita Coco and Nestea held high favorability ranks among consumers, demonstrating the shift toward natural and low- or no-sugar beverages.
While beverage manufacturers have fought soda taxes and similar measures across the country, these regulations have mobilized consumers, for better or worse, to share their opinions on across social media channels. This demonstrates a continued interest in the category despite sales declines.
However, social media conversations were not all about health. Conversations surrounding snacks bucked the trend of the growing interest in "better-for-you" snacks. Many snack brand mentions were humorous and poked fun at qualities normally disdained in other products, such as empty calories or Doritos that "stain your fingers." Manufacturers marketing snack products, which were led by Kellogg's Pringles and Cheetos, Doritos, Fritos and Ruffles from PepsiCo's Frito-Lay, could find humor an effective way to engage consumers on social media.
In the dairy category, nearly half of the brands mentioned were alternative dairy products. General Mills' Haagen-Dazs led the category in social rank, a testament to the popularity of ice cream. But WhiteWave's Silk was one spot behind it, and its So Delicious alternative dairy brand also made the top five in the category. Whether conventional or alternative dairy, consumers' mentions centered around origins and ingredients, so transparency on social media is critical for these brands.