McDonald’s Foursquare Campaign Yields Positive Results (How Positive is Still Being Determined)


If you’re like me, you’re not a big fan of location-based social media. My general view is that unless you’re my child (or dog, in my case), I’m hoping to rob your home or I’m stalking you, I don’t need to know where you are or what you’re doing. However, some businesses have been using Foursquare as a way to engage loyal customers via discount offers and rewards. Case in point, McDonald’s recently gave it a shot and generated as much as 33% more foot traffic:

With so many brands trying their hand at location-based marketing campaigns, one has to wonder: is Foursquare really effective as a platform for bringing in new business? McDonald’s seems to think so; the company’s head of social media Rick Wion recently spoke of the fast food giant’s big wins from a spring pilot program using Foursquare.

At the Mobile Social Communications conference yesterday, Wion shared that McDonald’s was able to increase foot traffic to stores by 33% in one day with a little Foursquare() ingenuity. McDonald’s total cost for the successful campaign was a measly $1,000.

Econsultanty reports that McDonald’s, with Wion driving campaign direction and strategy, opted to try and take advantage of Foursquare Day (4/16) to bring in more business. The company used 100 randomly awarded $5 and $10 giftcards as checkin bait to lure in potential diners. The bait also worked to attract the media’s attention and resulted in more than 50 articles covering McDonald’s Foursquare special.

The campaign worked in both digital and real world capacities. Patrons flocked to McDonald’s restaurants for the chance to win giftcards in exchange for checkins, and 600,000 online denizens opted to follow and fan the brand on social media sites.

“I was able to go to some of our marketing people — some of whom had never heard of Foursquare — and say, ‘Guess what. With this one little effort, we were able to get a 33% increase in foot traffic to the stores’,” Wion explained to conference attendees.

A company of McDonald’s size spends millions on advertising every year, and yet a simple $1,000 Foursquare campaign netted the company measurable success. Of course, the metric here was checkins (not sales), and there were likely several other factors contributing to the campaign’s success, but it’s still a story that many an agency should pay heed to.

McDonald’s is not alone in their Foursquare success. Earlier this year, Domino’s UK attributed social media, and its Foursquare pilot program in particular, as a primary factor in helping the company increase profits by 29%.

But NOT SO FAST, says ReadWriteWeb. The site asserts McDonald’s claims are a bit, shall we say, super-sized.

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