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  • "A study exploring the impact of social media marketing within the Irish drinks industry and how this activity influences the purchasing intentions of the millennial generation." by Mary Culhane

    Moyosore Oluwatoyosi OsokoThe power of social media and the impact it has upon the consumers decision making process has been a topic of much debate in recent academic studies. Millennials have the highest buying power of any generation and therefore the researcher felt it was important to investigate the correlation between social media and millennial’s purchase intentions in the Irish drinks industry. This paper builds upon these learnings to examine how Irish drink brands use social media to engage millennial consumers and entice them to buy their products. The investigation at hand examines millennial’s social media activities toward Irish drink brands, and what entices them to purchase. This investigation aims to provide deep insights into the minds of millennial consumers and their likes/dislikes on social platforms.

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    The main objectives of this research are: To evaluate what factors, lead to engagement between the millennial generation and the social media efforts of drinks companies. To assess whether these engagement factors lead to follow on purchase intention on Facebook and Instagram with millennial consumers. To evaluate what type of influencer marketing works best in the drinks industry and the various qualities an influencer must possess to engage followers. To determine the timeline and type of influencer (micro- or macro- influencer) which leads to increased audience reach. To understand if there are any negative impacts of social media on the business.


    The investigation used a mixed method approach in which the researcher carried out semi-structured interviews with experienced marketers. This qualitative data was the foundation of this research paper and it was complimented with quantitative data from two Irish drink brands using analytical social media data and sales data.

    The main findings of this study indicated that the most engaging social media posts include videos, competitions, and key topical interests for millennials. This study found that 83% of brands perceived millennials as the most engaged demographic on social media. Very few participants had any negatives connotations with social media marketing although some felt it was extremely time consuming for small businesses and poor execution could lead to a lack of brand growth. This study’s quantitative data from the two drink brands underpins the qualitative data as the demographic of both brands positively skews towards millennials consumers regarding followership and engagement. Another key finding in this study is the difference in advertising cost between Facebook & Instagram, with cost per engagement significantly lower for Instagram. This study reveals that sales data from the e-store of Brand 2 indicate a 66% sales increase due to a specific product being sold namely a drink subscription club.

    This study discovered a direct correlation between a social media campaign directed at millennials and a significant increase in company sales, however it is pertinent to note that the type of product being sold affected this purchase intention. This paper discovered that millennials are more likely to buy items dubbed as exclusive or community based. It revealed that while influencer marketing is important to drink brands, this research shows that there is no clear increase in sales upon its use. However, it is evident that brand advocates play a key role in boosting brand awareness and sales. Additionally, this study gave a rich and insightful understanding on the type of social media posts which led to the highest level of engagement for millennials.


    Millennials who engage with Irish drink brands will increase their company sales and their brand image. It is crucial that brands invest heavily in social media marketing and strategies.

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