AB InBev cites social media for profit boost

Anheuser-Busch InBev, the owner of Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, has hailed its “increasingly important” Fans First social media marketing strategy for driving full-year revenue and profit.

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The company reported a 4.6% rise in revenue to $39bn (£23.6bn) for the year to December 31 2011, while profit rose 7% from $20bn to $22bn over the same period.

It cites “intensified” social media interactions with consumers on Facebook as a key driver in its surge in profits last year alongside the performance of its three core brands, Budweiser, Stella Artois and Beck’s, which collectively grew 3.3% in 2011.

The gains come despite the brewer selling less beer globally than in 2010, including in the UK , where beer sales were down by 6%.

The dip was offset by the focus on premium brands and the introduction of the Stella Artois Cidre brand in the UK, which the brewer claims contributed to an 89% incremental sales to its business. Since it launched in April, Stella Artois Cidre is the number two premium cider in the UK off-trade, according to Nielsen.

Felipe Dutra, AB InBev finance chief, says: “In 2011 we delivered another year of strong performance. In 2012 we will continue to lean heavily on our strategic brands.”

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Tom Fishburne is founder of Marketoon Studios. Follow his work at marketoonist.com or on Twitter @tomfishburne See more of the Marketoonist here