Food and Beverage Social Media Effectiveness in the Millennial Age

Open Access
Kretzer, Kelsey Marie
Area of Honors:
Advertising/Public Relations
Bachelor of Arts
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Frank Dardis, Thesis Supervisor
  • Frank Dardis, Honors Advisor
  • Ken E Yednock, Faculty Reader
  • social media
  • food and beverage
  • engagement
  • millennials
  • facebook
  • instagram
  • twitter
  • foodies
The food and beverage industry has always been an influencing culture in America, especially in advertising and marketing. However, social media has challenged the industry to strategize effectively towards the millennial audience. This audience is comprised of 18-24 year olds born in the early 1980s and late 1990s who have massive influence in the social space, but also in purchase decision making. Therefore, it is imperative that food and beverage brands are communicating in the best way to their audiences. Engagement rates define their effectiveness, however the definition is a relative and loose term because every researcher can define engagement in different ways. Some brands have different objectives and goals but the overarching one for social media initiatives involve communicating in real time with the audience and gaining relevancy and popularity in the space for awareness. A three-month study from December 2017-February 2018 was conducted under a content analysis of Nestle, Lagunitas Brewing Co, Domino’s Pizza, and Starbucks Coffee social media posts and focus groups involving students at the Pennsylvania State University in the millennial audience. Roughly 135 data items were collected from the content analysis and four focus groups were held. Analysis of engagement results are defined by the like-to follower ratios for each brand. From that measurement tactic, results indicated that product promotion and campaign content categories tended to generate higher engagement posts on the Instagram platform. With that being said, there was no statistical significance of this relationship, thus the need for further research to be conducted in the future.