During the year 2017, three advertising campaigns in the restaurant industry caught our attention. Only one was a strategically created campaign, the other two being social media events that had not been planned by the companies involved.
To get an idea of how events such as this reader store are going, we looked at whether these campaigns had been successful in gaining traffic from competitors. (The data used here were from mobile location-sharing enabled devices, aggregated into anonymized audience segments, and did not contain personally identifiable information.)
We examined three separate Chick-fil-A, Wendy and McDonald events, comparing their share of pedestrian traffic with competitors Subway, Burger King, Moe, Taco Bell, Arby, Qdoba and Chipotle.
Chick-fil-A Free Breakfast Campaign
For the month of September, mobile application users of Chick-fil-A could get a free breakfast if they ordered any of the three items via its “One: takeaway app in store. While almost everyone loves a free chicken cookie, how did this ad campaign affect pedestrian traffic?
The Chick-fil-A campaign was held from August 31 to September 30, 2017. During this period, Chick-fil-A increased its share of the pedestrian market relative to its competitors. During the four weeks of the campaign, they rose from 10.4% of pedestrian traffic the week before the start of the campaign to 11.3%, an increase of 8.6% of the market share. The promotion seems to have had a positive impact on pedestrian traffic.
#NuggsForCarter of Wendy
On April 5, 2017, a Twitter user, Carter Wilkerson, tweeted to Wendy & # 39; s to ask him how many retweets he would need for a year of Wendy’s free nuggets delivery. Wendy has cleverly responded and set the goal at 18 million retweets, and Carter is dedicated to achieving this lofty goal.
This social media event quickly became viral, with Carter having accumulated more than 3 million retweets, becoming the most retweeted tweet of the time. But did this viral event lead to an increase in Wendy’s attendance?
We observed an interesting trend in pedestrian traffic at Wendy’s while the viral Twitter event #NuggsForCarter occurred. Wendy’s benefited almost immediately from a boost of new pedestrian traffic compared to its competitors, boosted by new pedestrian traffic that went from 7.9% to 11.1%.
Once the gloss dissipated, pedestrian traffic declined from one week to the next and eventually dropped to 6%. It was a one-time, unplanned event, which is probably why it was less sustainable than the planned Chick-fil-A marketing campaign. However, we bet that any business would welcome positive viral social media events that would result in more sales without a marketing budget.
McDonald’s Sichuanaise Sauce
McDonald’s Szechuan sauce dip was released for a limited time in the summer of 1998 as a promotion for Disney’s “Mulan” movie. On April 1, 2017, the TV show “Rick and Morty” presented the sauce as a return from McDonald’s nostalgic that they would like to be able to taste again. Social media has exploded with requests for return of Sichuan sauce.
On October 1, 2017, McDonald’s tweeted that the sauce would come back someday in American restaurants on October 7, 2017. Would a single-day sauce have a significant impact on pedestrian traffic and would gain market shares?
The release of the McDonald’s sauce in Sichuan took place on Saturday, October 7, 2017. When we evaluated the traffic of one day, we found no significant gain compared to competition for the acquisition of more market shares.
When we expanded and we examined trends from one week to the next, there was also no significant gain in foot traffic compared to competitors . Despite the social media buzz, Sichuan sauce seems to have had little impact on national pedestrian traffic.
To ensure we did not miss anything significant in the three campaigns, we looked at trends in daily and monthly visits from May to October 2017, covering the period during which these three distinct campaigns took place.
When evaluating Chick-fil-A, Wendy and McDonald’s against Subway, Burger King, Moe, Taco Bell, Arby’s, Qdoba and Chipotle, we found no change significant in the long run in pedestrian traffic. We had to look into specific events, all described above, to see if there was a positive correlation between campaigns and foot traffic.
The big picture here is that new technologies are measuring the effectiveness of a campaign to generate new traffic and, ultimately, sales. This brings many new features, such as determining if the channel in which the campaign occurs affects the longevity and overall impact of the campaign.
This also means that advertisers will start – and many have already started – to judge the success of the digital campaign not based on click-through rates, but on the ability to bring in new and existing customers.
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land. The authors of the staff are listed here.