Cocktail searches ‘massive opportunity’ for brands

19th December, 2016 by Kristiane Sherry

With online searches for cocktail recipes ramping up in the run-up to Christmas, spirits brands large and small have a “massive opportunity” to engage with consumers, says one media analyst.

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Google search terms driven by at-home cocktail consumption present an opportunity for smaller spirits brands, one analyst says

Research from UK-based Equimedia compared online search trends so far this year with those recorded during the 2015 festive period.

While the peak search times for cocktail recipes are Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve – when shops are likely to be closed – savvy brands can act now to make sure they rank highly in the findings, the analyst said.

Citing Google data, 2016 trends are broadly in line with last year’s with Mojito recipe enquiries leading search enquiries.

Rum experienced a “significant drop” in interest, according to the analyst, but it has recovered as Christmas Day draws nearer.

The research also found that consumers don’t Google specific brands when looking for at-home recipes, instead opting for generic terms such as ‘vodka cocktails’ or ‘gin cocktails’. This gives smaller players the opportunity to leverage their digital strategies and reach consumers over the festive period.

While major brands remain dominant in their categories, smaller brands are mounting a challenge in the search interest rankings. Smirnoff is leading vodka and Jack Daniels whiskey, with Bacardi the “clear leader” in rum, closely followed by Captain Morgan and Havana Club. In the gin category, Gordon’s is top, but Sipsmith Gin is “within striking distance” with Plymouth Gin third.

“We all know the crucial importance Christmas tipples have for alcohol brand annual sales,” said Mike Sharp, head of paid search at equimedia. “These findings demonstrate the massive opportunity for up-and-coming challenger brands to give themselves an early Christmas present by leveraging the power of digital, to educate, inspire and engage consumers in advance with fresh cocktail ideas designed to impress.

“Marketing tactics should revolve around the cocktail making search trends, and leverage consumer interest and the opportunities within content creation and paid search to compete with the bigger brands. Sipsmith has demonstrated this well, making some significant gains in search trends this year, and there’s plenty of room for other brands to jump on board.”

The research was carried out before Beam Suntory took a “controlling stake” in Sipsmith, announced last week (16 December).

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