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McDonald's spies mobile opportunities

News, 14 July 2016

CANNES: McDonald's, the quick service restaurant chain, believes mobile efforts that leverage geo-location technology may soon play a more significant role in its marketing mix.

Silvia Lagnado, who joined McDonald's as Global Chief Marketing Officer last year, reported that its early geo-location experiments – such as those undertaken with Waze, a traffic and navigation-based mobile app – have seen positive results.

"We've got some early data showing that GPS-based mobile communication [works] near the restaurant at the moment with Waze, and very straight-forward location-based [marketing]," she said. (For more, including how McDonald's is using video, read Warc's exclusive report: McDonald's gets a taste for mobile marketing.)


One test exercise saw several McDonald's branches in Northern California use A/B testing on Waze to assess the impact of changing ad copy on traffic levels and offer downloads around the introduction of the All Day Breakfast last year.

One ad, for instance, read "We've changed how you do breakfast", and secured a 6.14% "pin navigation rate". The same image, coupled with the copy "When you want breakfast", logged 6.99% on this metric.

The learnings from programs of this type can help the restaurant chain secure a much deeper understanding of the role mobile should fulfil in its marketing mix going forwards.

"We tend to use television and then quite a bit of out-of-home near the restaurant," Lagnado told delegates at the 2016 Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity.

"I think it hasn't got there yet, but we see some really exciting data and ROI from mobile, especially location-based mobile, replacing out of home near the restaurant."

With the future promise of mobile payment tools gaining traction among consumers, these devices could become an even more powerful channel for brands such as McDonald's.

"The number of transactions at McDonald's is huge," Lagnado said. "And we're going to have, on the same device, engagement and purchase at the restaurant.

"So our ability to link the two and get to intelligence of what's working and what's not working is going to be phenomenal. And we have to be ready."

Data sourced from Warc