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Beer isn’t just for Boys: Using Social Data to Reach New Audiences

By Madi Harmon  •  August 11, 2016


Beer isn’t just for Boys: Using Social Data to Reach New Audiences

Posted by: Madi Harmon on August 11, 2016

Drinking beer is a boy’s club, or at least it was.


For years beer advertisements have targeted the most consistent and loyal consumers, men, and often have ignored or portrayed women as objects of desire.

Check out how far Bud Light missed the mark with women in its 2014 #UpForWhatever campaign by implying that beer should be used to “remove no from your vocabulary for the night.”

Despite a turbulent history with the female demographic, these companies have recently started trying to market their beer to women specifically, or at least in a way that is more gender neutral.

With the increasing popularity of wine, spirits and craft beers, American beer companies are facing more competition than ever for the attention of a limited audience, and the ‘uber macho’ and ‘frat party’ ad campaigns of the past aren’t as effective anymore.

So, what should the three best selling beer brands in America -- Bud Light, Coors Light and Budweiser -- know about this new audience? Let’s take a look at the data.

Women talk about beer… a lot.

Believe it or not, there is a huge population of women that drink beer and then post about drinking beer online. Between 2014 and 2015, the amount of conversation increased by 192% year-over-year among women alone.


However, high volume of posts weren’t always typical.
Three years ago, the amount of conversations women were having about beer were relatively low, which might explain why they were largely disregarded by the beer industry in ads, but in December of 2014 things started to get interesting.

According to data collected by Nielsen, the increase in conversation about beer is a good indicator that right now is a great time to be a beer drinker in America.

The Nielsen data also showed that while the beer industry has experienced growth over the past several years, in 2015 alone it generated 36 billion dollars in sales and earned 4.6% growth in total category sales. The good news for beer companies is that women, like everyone else, is more interested in beer now than ever.

In addition to an inflated volume of posts about beer, a new trend for online female conversation about beer developed. Conversation volume about beer sharply increases during the summer months, the holiday season, and on other holidays throughout the year (like St. Patrick’s Day, for example).

How women talk about drinking beer is important

There’s only one thing more important for beer brands to understand than knowing women are talking about beer online.

It’s knowing how women are talking about beer online, becauses that may dictate the direction of their advertising messaging.

First, let’s start with where women post most often online about beer.  When conversation volume began increasing in 2014, the most popular channel for posting changed from microblogs to blogs.

Interestingly, posting images about or including beer is a virtually non existent channel, so Instagram advertisements may not be a particularly lucrative investment for beer brands to make when targeting women.


When women post to blogs and microblogs about beer, their posts are typically connected to a personal experience or memory. For instance, ‘love’ is the word used most often by women and has the highest positive sentiment attached to it when talking about beer.

Remember how post volume tends to increase around the holidays and during summer months?

Well, other words with a strong positive sentiment for women like ‘Christmas’ and ‘friends’ are attached to posts that include memories and emotional connections during holiday celebrations, vacations or time spent with family and friends in which beer was also involved.

Screen_Shot_2016-08-10_at_10.39.53_AM.pngStrong independent women don’t need no man

A particularly negative point of conversation for many women is that ‘they aren’t supposed to drink beer’ or that ‘beer is a beverage they drink to please men.’

In fact, this topic of conversation accounted for the unprecedented increase in conversation that occurred between the April and September of 2015. This resulted from a viral Tumblr post that was shared and liked hundreds of thousands of times on the blogging site.

new.jpgSo, what does this mean for beer companies?

Bud Light, Coors Light and Budweiser have already started taking steps to reach out to women. Take this Bud Light ad featuring Amy Schumer, for example:



Pretty great, right?  

Having a better understanding of your audience can improve any strategy.

Let’s review what we have found about women who drink beer:

  • They exist! AND these women like to post about their beer drinking online
  • Women frequently connect beer drinking with memories and experiences
  • Online discussion peaks around holidays and the summer months

Social media insights can help brands understand and connect with a variety of desired demographics!

In this post alone, we were able to know when women talked about beer, how they talked about beer, and even which social channels were used when they talked about beer. All good insights to know especially if a brand is wanting to be prepared and informed when exploring a new or specific audience.

By leveraging these insights into the planning process, planners and creative teams are able better understand target audiences and fuel even greater marketing campaigns.

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Topics: marketing, social media, sentiment, audience segment, audience, social data, social data research, advertising, perception, social media research


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