Last summer we published a column about an exciting proof of concept study that showed how some quick-service franchise owners used out of home (OOH) technological capabilities to plan campaigns that reached specific groups of customers, and, that measured the effectiveness of their campaigns with highly accurate metrics.

A year later, we’ve proven this wasn’t an anomaly. In fact, a suite of new quick-serve brand studies show that whether the quick-service franchise is promoting a particular product or driving greater brand awareness to draw customers into restaurants, OOH media is delivering in big ways, and, for the first time, we know exactly how much.

Moreover, new data show two important findings: No. 1, frequency matters—consumers exposed to OOH quick-service restaurant campaigns with greater frequency showed a remarkable increase in restaurant visits; and No. 2, the combination of OOH plus mobile retargeting (where ads are sent to devices that passed the OOH units) proved most effective at driving consumers into restaurants.

So, what’s the secret to this newfound interest in OOH by quick-service chains?

OOH’s New Capabilities Reach Discrete Customer Segments to Drive Sales While Accurately Measuring Results

Now that OOH leverages aggregated and anonymized mobile location data, the medium offers quick-service advertisers a highly visible and measurable medium that drives sales directly to franchises. The data can do this in two ways:

Location-based mobile data gives quick-service restaurant franchisees a powerful purchase intent signal. With this, we can verify that a customer whose mobile device was recently exposed to an ad subsequently walked into your restaurant. And this sophisticated mobile location data is giving quick-service franchises a legitimate way to measure a quick-service restaurant ad campaign’s success.

Location data provides rich behavioral data, which means these new OOH tools help quick-serves on the front-end of the sale, as well, by understanding which customer segments to reach. And this is a first-to-market tool for quick-service marketers.

Here’s how these new OOH capabilities are driving customers into restaurants at myriad QSR chains.

Data-Driven OOH Campaigns Boosts Quick-Service Restaurant Visits

Including the study released last year, we now have four different studies that show impressive results from QSR campaigns leveraging these new OOH data-driven tools:

Quick-Service Brand 1: This leading, national quick-service chain sought to generate awareness for a new time sensitive menu item targeting A18-34. The campaign featured strong images of the new item to drive restaurant visits in priority markets. This campaign combined demographic and proximity targeting with behavioral insights to select printed and digital OOH inventory over indexing for quick-service restaurant visitors.

Quick-Service Brand 2: This leading burger chain sought to generate awareness and increase sales of a particular menu item in addition to other menu items, available in Los Angeles. This campaign used a mix of long and short term, roadside and street level media to saturate the market. It further amplified menu offering awareness using mobile retargeting to deliver ads to consumers exposed to OOH ads.

Schlotzsky’s: The goal of this campaign was to generate awareness and consideration of Schlotzsky’s restaurants, drive incremental foot traffic and remain top of mind for customers. The campaign used strategically selected printed and digital billboards in high traffic areas for maximum reach and frequency throughout Dallas using humorous and contextually relevant creative to engage consumers.

Key Findings:

All Brands Showed a Significant Lift Among Consumers Exposed to the OOH Campaign Versus Those Unexposed:

  • Quick-service brand 1 showed a lift of 115 percent.  
  • Quick-service brand 2 showed a lift of 365 percent.
  • Schloztsky’s showed a lift of 148 percent.

Increased Frequency of Views Drives Exponential Increase in Visits: In the three campaigns where we tested frequency, we found those exposed to the OOH ads with 10x-plus frequency, had a visitation rate 2–3 times higher than average. 

In Schlotzsky’s, for example, the average exposed visit rate was 1.12 percemt, but those who saw the ad 10 or more times had a visit rate more than double the exposed visit rate.

OOH Drives Repeat Visits: We also discovered OOH drives the frequency at which consumers visited the restaurants. With quick-service brand 2, compared to those who did not see the OOH campaign, those who saw the campaign were over 40 percent more likely to visit a restaurant multiple times over the course of the campaign.

Distribution of the Campaign Throughout a Customer’s Journey Works: In the Schlotzsky’s study, we also found 26 percent of those who visited, went to a location that was 15 or more miles from where they live. This underscores the importance of distributing the campaign throughout the market and the consumer’s journey.

When Combined, OOH + Mobile Are Most Effective at Driving Quick-Service Sales: Quick-service brand 2 used mobile retargeting to enforce their OOH message even further. By sending mobile ads to consumers who passed the OOH campaign, they achieved a lift that was 365 percent higher versus the unexposed group (consumers who did not see OOH or mobile ads) but among the hyper targeted group that was retargeted with mobile ads, the lift was an impressive 729 percent, illustrating the power of OOH-plus Mobile working together.

More work needs to be done to fully understand the differences in mobile, OOH and combined lift in quick-service restaurant campaigns, but these studies identify one inescapable conclusion: OOH drives consumer visits to quick-service locations in powerful ways.

And while there is still much to learn about the interplay among other variables like effective creative, proximity and targeting more specific consumer segments, it’s exciting to know that the effectiveness of OOH for quick-service brands—something that we’ve all known intuitively for some time—has been proven in measurable and meaningful ways.

Sarah Garonce is the Director of Research at Clear Channel Outdoor where she leads the company’s attribution product. In this role, she designs and runs research studies to evaluate the impact of OOH campaigns, which helps clients understand campaign performance and results, and helps them better optimize their overall media plan. Sarah has held a variety of other roles in advertising, including working on the New Business team within direct response focused agency, ID Media (Interpublic Group) and previously at Nielsen where she served as the measurement/data client rep for various local TV networks.
Marketing & Promotions, Outside Insights, Story