Expertise | 7 min read

Why does champagne dominate other sparkling wines online?

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Is champagne the latest star of the US digital landscape? Linkfluence research teams identified more than 1,500 American websites and blogs dedicated to the best cork-popping experiences, showcasing this analysis with a keynote at Vinexpo in June.

Amid all wine-oriented discussion on the social web, the frivolity associated with sparkling varieties certainly drives a significant portion. Bubbly accounts for around a quarter of all wine chat, with 92pc concerning champagne varieties and perhaps a surprisingly small share covering its Italian and Spanish cousins Prosecco and Cava.

Aware that champagne sales figures barely top one-third of the sparkling wine market share in the US, it didn’t take long for researchers to pose the question: why does champagne account for a significantly larger share of social media conversation than sales might suggest?

The first step taken by analysts was to track all wine-oriented social web discussions that were publicly available in the time period, identifying, measuring and comparing relevant audiences.

At this stage, analysts sought to understand the data further, categorising online wine-enthusiasts according to more qualitative, community-oriented areas. Champagne drinkers were segmented into four consumer profiles: Hedonists, Big Spenders, SM ‘Freaks’ and Traditionalists.

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Cartographic visualisation, such as that shown above, was employed to understand networks within the broader digital landscape, identifying the most visible champagne-related words in the discussion. For example, “friends”, “night”, “city”, “dinner”, “party”, “money” and “photo” were more likely to be used by social media users dubbed Big Spenders, giving a general understanding of the tone of this conversation and perhaps more pointed analysis on how to better tailor an engagement strategy.

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Dom Pérignon, a brand at the pinnacle of the champagne market, sought to utilise the idea of “champagne culture”. The brand launched a phosphorescent promotional bottle: analysis showed that the brand generated 20-times the volume of social media buzz of competitor Veuve Clicquot during the period.

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We might understand the online experience of Hedonists, however, as slightly different, given the more visible terms relating to perhaps a more ‘refined’ appreciation of wine and fine dining. Crucially among these users, champagne generated more conversation on social media platforms despite prosecco more often being preferred by drinkers.

It was also apparent that content on this topic has become more visual over time, with users sharing an increasing number of images as a means of both increasing the reach of social media content and better understand those sharing it. With champagne, as with other sectors, a social media campaign that seeks to understand how its audience might appreciate and share content will be one that succeeds in reaching new consumers.

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