Restaurant marketing

Why traffic generation is always at the heart of restaurant marketing

The fast food industry has seen upheaval in recent years as the ways in which customers interact with brands and how they shop have evolved dramatically. Brands have been forced to completely rethink the customer experience. The provision of in-store tablets and touchscreens to enable self-service ordering and the implementation of digital signage and the opening of click-through and online collection services is rapidly becoming a focus. Heavyweights like Burger King and McDonalds are leveraging early digital touchpoints to attract eaters, using branded apps that offer discounted prices, prepay, and even mobile payment.

While tactics and media plans may evolve to adapt to changes in consumer behavior and technological advancements, the overall goal remains the same: to get customers to physical stores. Drive-to-Store (DTS) advertising is any form of advertising with the direct intention of increasing foot traffic to physical locations. Sure, brands do indeed intend to take advantage of app downloads and third-party online delivery services so that consumers can have their meals at home with just a few clicks, but the bulk of their marketing is always focused on getting people to visit.

As a dominant vertical market with $ 256 billion in revenue in 2018 (according to Statista), there’s a lot at stake for fast food players to get it right. As IHS Markit reported this year, nearly $ 6 billion worth of quick-service marketer advertising invested in 2018 was aimed at enticing diners through their doors.

Why drive-to-store advertising is so appetizing for fast food restaurants

A recent study by IHS Markit found that in 2018, 67% of the total amount invested in advertising by US fast services was allocated to DTS advertising. Globally, the United States is one of two countries, along with France, that have recorded above-industry investment in drive-to-store restaurant investment, the level of investment to reach 77% by 2023.

So why do restaurants place such a high value on drive-to-store advertising? The level at which brands can measure results with the method is a key motivation to invest in it. US retailers appreciate the impact on visits and sales that DTS can generate for their brands and cite this as a top reason to invest. Additionally, several marketers have focused on the importance of not only looking at the total number of visits, but also specifically measuring incremental visits to understand a more precise impact of their advertising. These visits are those that can be directly attributed to their campaigns. If they’re not able to isolate their additional visits, they may be measuring and paying for traffic caused by organic or other advertising channels.

The most efficient way to generate additional visits

In the United States, marketers have expressed a clear preference for digital channels over traditional channels such as print and outdoor advertising for their DTS campaigns. This is due to the ability of digital to measure overall visits and incremental visits. Mobile is performing well, with 60% of marketers seeing it as the most effective channel for DTS. Mobile will maintain its lead in the U.S. DTS market, closely followed by social media, increasing its share as a key method from 22% in 2018 to 28% by 2023, according to IHS Markit.

The use of mobile for drive-to-store campaigns is an increasingly key strategy to generate incremental store visits. An international sandwich franchise recently launched a mobile-to-store campaign to increase footfall to its stores in France. The innovative campaign delivered measurable results on behalf of the brand, including increased visits and sales.

In addition, the increased reach and improvements in the quality of customer data and information that DTS provides are important motivators. Marketers have started to move away from vanity metrics like frequency, impressions, and click-through rates to adopt measurable KPIs that help them meet business goals like increased revenue. So, while quick-service restaurant brands can leverage the growing array of digital branding and performance tactics, their priority remains to get consumers to their restaurants.

As Chief Revenue Officer, North America at S4M, Ed silhan is responsible for leading the strategic increase in turnover and sales for the entire region. With nearly 20 years of experience in the digital and advertising space, Ed is an executive with a history of driving growth in mobile advertising, data monetization, and cross-channel digital media. Prior to S4M, Ed held senior sales positions at PayPal, eBay, Meredith, and Remedy Health Media. Most recently, he served as Executive Vice President, Head of Sales at SITO Mobile, where he led the substantial increase in their revenues as well as the development of their presence in the marketing technology industry.