Industry News | June 11, 2008

McDonald's Ranked Top Online Display Advertiser

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comScore Inc., a leader in measuring the digital world, released a study based on data from the comScore Ad Metrix service that analyzes online display advertising by quick-serve restaurants (QSRs) in March 2008, revealing that McDonald's ranked as the top online display advertiser in the U.S. with more than 295 million ads delivered during the month.

comScore Ad Metrix provides detailed reporting of the number and types of online display ads viewed by Internet users for the U.S. market. The syndicated service measures the number of times each advertiser's ads are viewed and where they are viewed, the demographics of those exposed to the ads, the reach and frequency of an advertiser's campaign, and provides samples of the creative ad units with information on ad sizes.

McDonald's delivered more than 295 million display ad views (34 percent share of voice) in March, reaching 52 million Internet users an average of 5.7 times during the month. Quizno's ranked second with 11.1 percent share of voice, followed by KFC (9.6 percent) and Papa John's (9.3 percent).

To provide some dimension to the share of voice ranking, the study also looked at the share of visits to the Web sites of each of the top 10 restaurant companies to see if there is any relationship with the share of voice. It appears that there is little relation between the two metrics, since site traffic seems to be more heavily influenced by televised promotions and online ordering functionality at a few of the companies. For example, PizzaHut.com, whose online advertisements promote online ordering for home delivery or in-store pick up, has a disproportionately high share of site traffic (23.3 percent) relative to its share of online advertising voice (6.8 percent).

Despite McDonald's position as one of the top U.S. advertisers (#16 in 2006, according to Ad Age), in terms of overall dollars spent on advertising, the company ranked just #113 in terms of the total number of online display ads delivered in March 2008, according to comScore Ad Metrix.

"It's clear that that the quick-serve restaurant industry has been slower than many other industries to move its advertising dollars online," says comScore Chairman Gian Fulgoni. "But, given the Internet's broad reach and ability to selectively reach consumer segments, its potential as a brand-building advertising medium is beginning to attract more attention. The reality is that while most working Americans do not watch TV during the day and therefore cannot be reached via this medium, many do use computers during this day-part. For the working population, online advertising is a highly effective way to put one's QSR brand top of mind with the consumer in the hours and minutes before they decide where to eat lunch."