Study analyzes mobile marketing for QSRs

A recent survey revealed the results of nearly 9,000 mobile marketing campaigns on behalf of 125 quick-service restaurants (QSR) to help them determine the best ways to successfully market via smartphone and mobile devices.

The poll, conducted by mobile customer relationship management company Cellit, revealed that the tactics generally used most often by businesses to obtain new subscribers were on-premise, social media, advertising and refer-a-friend.

On-premise refers to using menu call-outs, in-restaurant signage and box toppers for delivery and takeout service to gain followers, according to QSR Web.

Social media can drive traffic to a mobile ad with the most speed, and it was found that an average of 10 percent of users on sites such as Facebook and Twitter signed up for a mobile program.

Previously used advertising campaigns were tapped into by some companies, with a call to action integrated into media buys.

However, refer-a-friend was found to be the most effective tactic, with 21 percent of subscribers participating. While the average conversion rate was lower than social media - 6 percent - the average email database increase after one refer-a-friend program was found to be 16 percent.

Content within mobile campaigns were also analyzed. Typically, these included announcements, contests and promotions, however the most popular tactic was mobile couponing. Examples include set priced value deals (such as a buy-one-get-one offer), which 68 percent of clients believed to contain the highest perceived value. Free items upon opting in or discounts off menu items were also frequently used. The coupon redemption rate averaged 23 percent, with a minimum of 6 percent and a high of 40 percent.

There's a psychological angle to mobile coupons as well, according to a group of researchers who recently published a study in the Journal of Research in Interactive Marketing.

"When messages are received from mobile phones, we are often distracted while in other activities," notes author and assistant professor of marketing at the University of Michigan, Sy Banerjee. "Surprisingly, we find that the memory of mobile messages (with fair amount of accuracy) often outlasts the expiry dates on the coupons themselves."

In terms of timing, Cellit researchers found that subscriber numbers increased on weekdays more than weekends (7.67 per QSR compared to 5.12). Also, customers preferred no more than one message per day, but no less than one text or email per month.