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Red Bull’s Dominance on Social Media and How Other Soft Drink Companies Are Stacking up

A summer poolside party wouldn’t be complete without a cold glass of Coke–or, as social media would have it, a swig of Red Bull.

As soft drink companies are doubling down on their summer social media campaigns, several companies are taking an early lead with campaigns driving fan engagement and strong branding. Using Zoomph, we’ve analyzed 13 leading soft drink brands across YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter. Here’s what we discovered in our first full month of analysis.

Most Influential

Rankings of Soft Drink Companies by Social Channel

 

Red Bull is setting the bar high with its Instagram and YouTube strategies. It’s the most influential brand of the lot, according to Zoomph’s influencer scoring algorithm, ZPoints, which factors in total activity and engagement around its YouTube and Instagram posts.

A closer look at Red Bull’s activity reveals that the brand prioritizes video, even on Instagram. Roughly 97 percent of its Instagram posts in June were videos. Perhaps one of the cleverest, most underrated techniques that Red Bull embraces is reusing YouTube content on Instagram and cross promoting its videos.

The company also remains steadfast in its mission to build up brand power by sponsoring extreme sports and stunts. This particular month, the company produced content focused on motocross in affiliation with the UCI World Cups and other competitions. Roughly 40 percent of its YouTube content and 15 percent of its Instagram videos included a bike or motocross object, according to Zoomph’s Image Recognition.

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On Twitter, Lipton Tea left its mark by emphasizing fan engagement. While Lipton only published a meager 58 tweets in this data period–90 percent of which were replies–Lipton succeeded in engaging a higher, steadier percentage of followers than its goliath competitors.

Instagram Activity

Total Activity of Soft Drink Companies on Instagram

 

Red Bull aggressively pumps out content for Instagram, producing over three times as much content as the second-most active company and its direct competitor, Monster Energy. In this period, Red Bull reached around 325.9 million unique users. By comparison, Monster reached around 67.4 million people and Nespresso, 988,500.

Red Bull and Monster both compete over a public image associated with extreme sports, but Red Bull seems to edge out Monster in influence on a post-by-post basis. Red Bull’s top post earned 116 ZPoints, while Monster’s posts maxed out at 77 ZPoints.

Monster also appeals to a narrower set of interests on Instagram. Nearly 60 percent of its posts in June featured a car or bike, compared to 25 percent of posts on Red Bull’s feed (granted, Red Bull has a separate Red Bull Racing handle).

YouTube Activity

Total activity of soft drink companies on YouTube

 
Interestingly, Coca-Cola gives Red Bull a run for its money when you look at how many public videos it published last month. Coca-Cola even published a video “Coca-Cola: Ojos Cerrados,” which earned over seven million views and became a top 20 most viewed video on its channel.

So why didn’t Coca-Cola land first place on our influencer leaderboard?

An influence score factors in engagement (comments, views, and likes) as a percentage of followers and total activity. Despite publishing videos that occasionally broke 100,000 or one million views, Coca-Cola ended the month at 1.5 million subscribers. It additionally hosted highly-targeted videos, evidently to engage its worldwide consumer base, that averaged several thousands of views.

By comparison, Red Bull flaunted 6.1 million subscribers by the end of the month and a portfolio of videos that consistently earned tens of thousands of views, if not hundreds of thousands. It targeted a primarily American audience with videos centered on events or athletes rather than its products (roughly 8 percent of Red Bull videos had cover photos with a clear Red Bull logo on it, whereas 30 percent of Coca-Cola videos had cover photos with its logo).

Twitter Activity

Total activity of soft drink companies on Twitter

 
Coca-Cola seemingly redeems itself on Twitter. On top of publishing almost twice as many tweets as Red Bull and nearly four times as many as Nespresso, Coca-Cola also receives the most mentions on Twitter (see chart below). Of those mentions, 92 percent were either positive or objective.

Only 24 Coca-Cola tweets in June featured a visual of some sort–the remaining 1,200+ were text-based, and entirely devoted to answering support calls or engaging fans on a 1:1 level.

Red Bull’s main Twitter handle doesn’t scream adventure in comparison to its other video-centric channels and is relatively inactive. It primarily provides support, though its micro-targeted handles (like @RedBullRacing) promises more activity. One interesting thing to note about its main handle is that it hasn’t quite given up on “Redbull #GivesYouWings,” a slogan that saw its dying breath (or so we thought) after a 2014 false advertising lawsuit against the company.

Red Bull can still be found offering ‘wings’ to Twitter users who need a little pick-me-up.

Most Mentioned

Total mentions of soft drink companies on Twitter

 
Considering the amount of attention each brand gave to Twitter and the amount of content that each pumped out, you would think that outside of Coca-Cola, rankings would be different.

Gatorade, for one, only tweeted 103 times in June but came in above Nespresso, Sprite, Diet Coke, and Nescafe–several of which tweeted over three times as much.

The quote “quality over quantity” comes to mind. For context, here’s a ranking of those handles by current follower count:

  • Gatorade: 338,626
  • Diet Coke: 317,995
  • Sprite: 279,346
  • Nespresso: 86,414
  • Nescafe: 67,743

And here’s a list of the top three hashtags associated with each company, alongside the total number of tweets with the hashtags from this data period:

  • Gatorade: #MakeDefeatYourFuel, #WinFromWithin, #ad (8,459)
  • Diet Coke: #Coke, #MadeForYou, #CokeandFood (561)
  • Sprite: #WannaSprite, #SpriteAd, #Betx (1,241)
  • Nespresso: #ShareTheCup, #شارك_فنجانك (Nespresso), #رمضان_كريم (Ramadan) (2,790)
  • Nescafe: #ResponsibleGaming, #KubambaBreakfast, #coffee (193)

Gatorade’s larger audience base, coupled with strategic hashtag campaigns that propel engagement for reasons outside of support, is one explanation for the attention it receives.

Another interesting thing to note: the male-gender split of Twitter users mentioning the top brands reflect each brand’s follower demographics. Below is the gender breakdown of the followers of each handle, according to their Twitter Follower Reports.

  • Coca-Cola: 53 percent male, 47 percent female
  • Pepsi: 55 percent male, 45 percent female
  • Monster: 71 percent male, 29 percent female
  • Red Bull: 75 percent male, 25 percent female
  • Gatorade: 72 percent male, 28 percent female

 
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