Food and drink related Facebook conversations give insight into consumer behaviour and industry trends.
We’ve all been there. Sitting at the restaurant, eagerly waiting for that much anticipated meal. Finally, it’s set in front of you. Mouth watering, you’re about to dig in, but wait! Your friends stop you so they can take some pictures with their phone. Maybe you are that friend. If you are, you’re in good company. Facebook IQ recently found that a third of diners enjoy taking pictures of what they’re eating or drinking.¹Sharing these pictures through social platforms has become common practice, especially through Facebook and Instagram, making them strong influencers in the food and beverage categories.
Over 1 in 3 people in the U.S. use Facebook or Instagram while at a restaurant or bar, either posting and hashtagging pictures or simply perusing their feeds. These social networks have become a rich source of food and beverage related conversations. Facebook IQ analyzed these conversations and surveyed over 1,000 users to understand how consumers are engaging with the food and beverage market.
In the summer of 2016, Facebook found that 1 in 10 conversations on their site were related to either food or drink.² These conversations have a significant impact on those viewing the content, particularly with younger users. More than 40% of Younger Millennials agreed that seeing pictures and videos on Facebook and Instagram helped them decide to try a new non-alcoholic beverage. 50% also said that they’ve tried drinks that their friends and family have posted about on Facebook. Brands who want to target this generation would greatly benefit from putting these platforms at the core of their digital strategies.
Facebook and Instagram’s check-in feature lets users notify their followers of their exact location. In 2016, the number one check-in category was restaurants, with bars ranked at #3. In essence, customers are being exposed to new cuisine and beverages on their newsfeed while sitting in the very locations that offer these items, making the path between discovery and purchase short but extremely influential.
It should come as no surprise that 98% of the food and beverage related conversations on FB took place through a mobile device. Smartphones are the natural choice for consumers who are on the go, and who want a convenient way to post pictures of their eats online. 73% of consumers also said that they use their smartphones to find local stores selling the beverage products that they’re looking for. Consumers’ path to purchase can start and end through their mobile device, making smartphone compatibility and a strong mobile strategy critical to reaching the food and beverage consumer.
Most food and drink items are subject to seasonality. Refreshing cold drinks and salads are more prevalent in summer weather, whereas hot comfort foods and drinks are typical for our winters. The conversations on Facebook follow this course, however, they also pinpoint the celebrations and cultural moments that have an effect on purchase intent. For example, wine conversations peak on Valentine’s Day, tea is discussed more often around Mother’s Day, and milk is a hot topic on Christmas Eve. Analyzing the increase in online references for a particular food or drinks product can help marketers time new product launches and assess new seasonal opportunities to promote their existing products.
Food and beverage conversations spiked on Fridays and Saturdays, just in time for consumers to shake off the workweek for weekend pleasures. Marketers would benefit from coordinating their communications with this timing to reach consumers when they are already in a food and beverage state of mind.
Facebook and Instagram conversations uncovered differences between how men and women communicate regarding food and drinks. Generally, men mentioned specific brands of drinks while women discussed the actual details of the drink, focusing on flavor profiles, health benefits, and the events around which these drinks would be enjoyed. Consumers are looking for increasingly personalized communications. Crafting messages to fit organic conversations can help marketers better engage their target audience.
Market and Product Insight:
Facebook and Instagram conversations aligned with real world industry trends. Artisanal coffee conversations, for example, were in line with an increase in consumer demand for artisanal coffee. Through analyzing food and beverage conversations, brands can understand the appetites of their consumer, potentially translating into new product ideas or an expansion of an existing product line.
How can food and beverage related Facebook and Instagram conversations help you to devise an effective campaign? Let us know @stjoseph.