Case Study: St Austell Brewery
St Austell Brewery is an award winning family brewery based in Cornwall. Founded in 1851 by Walter Hicks, today they are a leading light in the UK brewing industry brewing many of the South West’s most popular and award-winning beer brands including Tribute Pale Ale, Proper Job IPA and Korev lager as well operating a thriving pub estate of 169 inns and pubs. In addition to running pubs and brewing beer, St Austell Brewery is the South West’s leading drinks wholesaler supplying wines, spirits, ciders, beers and soft drinks to customers from Gloucester to the Scilly Isles. St Austell beers are available nationally and are exported to 22 countries.
Social Media Audit & Data Analysis
St Austell Brewery originally engaged Minchin & Grimshaw to carry out an initial audit of their social media properties. With a presence on a number of platforms the Brewery was keen to understand the value of their current network, identifying how their activity to date has impacted on the bottom line of the business.
With the brewery operating a number of tied pubs and inns, producing and distributing a number of popular beer and ale brands – sold through both tied and free houses, as well as through retail stores and supermarkets – and in addition to that operating an online store, visitor centre and museum any analysis needed to go beyond any standard evaluation of key performance indicators.
The initial audit revealed how the current engaged network had grown organically out of a customer passion for their products and services; however, the effect of reducing organic reach had meant that often their most loyal supporters were not always exposed to company updates and information.
Feeding back the results of the initial audit to the marketing and communications team it was established that the Brewery should look towards the use of paid distribution on key networks such as Facebook and Instagram to boost reach and drive business. This activity would need to engage both existing customers and brand loyalists, as well as reach out to key market segments that would be warm to the company’s products and services.
Audience Profiling, Segmentation & Creation
With the Brewery’s detailed understanding of its market, combined with trading and customer data, we were able to profile a number of key audience groups, feeding back to management current levels of reach and engagement.
Using Facebook’s native tools, we were able to create a series of defined audiences that could be easily targeted with future campaigns and promotions. The audience segments created cover both engaged users (such as Fans, website visitors and email subscribers), non-engaged customers (those purchasing or accessing services but not actively engaged on social platforms) and new prospects (key audience segments with no previous customer history or engagement with the brewery that provided opportunity for growth).
These audiences are held within the Facebook Ads Manager system and provide saved, current audience segments for controlled distribution. Each segment displays how many individuals are included, and offer the ability to access detailed demographic, geographic and psychographic information for that segment, or multiple segments.
In-House Training & Staff Development
With a team of 1,400 full and part time employees, including a dedicated marketing, communications and promotions team, the key to the Brewery making the most of social media relies largely on their internal resource.
Working with the digital marketing team we identified opportunities to build on existing skills and improve the in-house knowledge to include a range of paid for advertising systems, particularly around the use of Facebook Business Manager, Power Editor, Adverts Manager and Ads Reporting. This allows the brewery’s marketing team to manage much of the day to day advertising and paid for distribution requirements themselves.
Local Awareness Campaigns
With the Brewery operating a 26 managed pubs within its 169 strong estate, it was felt that testing of Facebook’s Local Awareness Advertising should be performed. This advertising objective provides the opportunity to advertise a location business to a local audience, making use of Facebook standard targeting to narrow and refine that audience on the basis of age, gender, employment status, income level, or a range of other factors.
The Samuel Jones Craft Ale and Smokehouse in Exeter was selected for the initial trial. The trial would look to engage two specific new audience segments with targeted offers, driving those audiences into the business over the period of the campaign.
The effectiveness of the campaign would be measured on the basis of reach (number of individuals exposed to the message), the frequency of exposure (number of times ads were seen by each individual within the market segment), the cost of reaching the audience and trading data, directly reported by the management.
Christmas Conversion Campaigns
Over the Christmas period St Austell Brewery were keen to promote sales of their products, both as gifts and for parties or other events, through their dedicated web shop.
We were engaged to produce the various adverts required, making use of photography taken in-house. The brief was to advertise to a mixture of existing customer groups and brand advocates, as well as to target new customer groups and potential first time visitors to the site.
These Campaigns were setup on a Website Conversions Objective, with advertising optimized for display towards those most likely to convert into a purchase. All purchases resulting from the adverts were tracked through the implementation of Facebook’s Conversion Tracking Pixel, which would provide a breakdown of the number and value of purchases.
A/B Split Testing & Advanced Reporting
With a complex set of advertising objectives, creative options and audience targeting opportunities it has been necessary to ensure that Facebook’s Campaign/Ad Set/Advert structure is fully utilized, along with a standardized naming conventions. This allows us to identify what works well within each campaign and provides a route to benchmark and improve performance at every stage of the process.
Alongside Facebook’s native reporting system we make use of Google URL tags to monitor performance within Google Analytics. This allows us to accurately monitor visitor behavior beyond click through, conversion and purchase value – revealing behavior such as time on site, bounce rate and percentage of new to returning visitors.
A/B style Split Testing is routinely carried out on campaigns to identify the performance of different ad creative, calls to action and audience groups. The information gathered is used to improve campaign performance and lower cost per acquisitions (CPAs).
Remarketing, Retargeting & Dynamic Product Ads
The new Facebook Pixel has been installed across all St Austell Brewery properties enabling remarketing or retargeting of site visitors within their Facebook or Instagram newsfeed. Within Facebook’s Audience Manager audiences have been created according to business need, creating segmented audiences for different types of customer; shop customers, food and drink patrons, hotel guests, wedding venue enquiries and so on.
These pre-defined customer groups build naturally from month to month and offer a quick route to advertise to potential customers with an interest in a specific area of the company’s offering.
Work is underway to introduce Dynamic Product Advertising for the web shop over the coming months, this will enable targeted remarketing of products to those abandoning their purchase prior to completing their order.
The results across all campaigns have been extremely encouraging; however, the easiest campaigns to measure results against are those with a clear financial measurement, such as those to promote the web shop in the run up to Christmas.
Taking the six web shop campaigns run between the 13th November and 21st December 2015, a total of 146,395 individuals were exposed to the advertising, with each seeing an advert an average of 2-3 times over the period (2.75). The adverts were displayed a total of 402,992 times at a cost per thousand displays (CPM) of £2.52.
The campaigns drove a total of 5,451 website sessions, with The Click through rate (CTR) as an average across the six campaigns coming in at 1.35%, at an average cost per click of £0.19.
Using the standard attribution model (measured as those falling within 24 hours of viewing an advert, or within 28 days of clicking on an ad) there were 236 purchases as a result of the advertising with the total value of those purchases coming in at £5,840. Extending the attribution period to cover all conversions occurring within 28 days of seeing an advert the conversion value increases to £8,863 and a total of 394 purchases.
Facebook Advertising was the number one source of traffic to the St Austell Brewery web shop over the period of the six campaigns (as shown in Google Analytics), accounting for more than a quarter of all traffic to the site. More than 80% of the website sessions were from new visitors, rather than returning customers.
In addition to the financial and business outcomes, St Austell Brewery gained 510 new Page Fans as a result of the Campaign. Engagement with the adverts was high throughout the period, with 3,397 Post Likes, 308 Post Comments and 366 Post Shares – in total the adverts generated 12,047 separate interactions from the audience, translating to 2.99% of the audience engaging with the advert content.
The total advertising media cost for all six campaigns was £1,014, providing a return on investment for each £1 spent under the standard attribution model of £4.76, or £7.74 within 28 days of viewing an advert.
“It’s always nice to see a healthy return on a marketing investment, but to have this sort of RoI on a campaign that ran at the most competitive time of the year is particularly impressive.”
“Looking forward, the possibilities that we are seeing for remarketing, building local awareness for the estate properties and growing a loyal and engaged audience for the St Austell Breweries brand are very exciting.”
Neil Simpkin, Direct Marketing Manager, St Austell Brewery