How would you describe the social landscape for restaurant chains right now? What seems to be resonating, and what’s falling flat?
The quick-serve category is one that has always relied on fun- and eye-catching creative and value-based advertising and marketing strategies. Now, if you're only communicating value and missing out on other keywords or promotions, and not thinking about quick-service restaurants that aren’t in your immediate category, you’re being left behind in the consideration phase by consumers.
What are some examples of brands getting it right?
Chick-fil–A and Wendy’s are brands that are leveraging social media immensely well, leading in SOV in the category in our recent report. Chick-fil-A drove the highest volume of paid media engagements overall. This was driven by the animated holiday film they had introduced called Spark Hope and Light the Way. Wendy’s had the most successful mid-level communications from a conversion standpoint. Ads promoting the brand’s 4 for $4 offer (which gets consumers a sandwich, nuggets, fries, and a drink) had the highest volume of engagements in this reporting period.
How about the chicken sandwich wars? Just how big of an impact is being seen of late?
According to our AI-driven messaging analytics, nearly every quick-service brand, even ones you wouldn’t associate with chicken, have ads communicating their chicken sandwich offerings. Chick fil-A, Wendy’s, and even Taco Bell all have been brands that have been producing ads around the "chicken" and "chicken sandwich" topic in recent weeks. The competition in the chicken sandwich wars is one of the most competitive topics for restaurants on social media.
Moving forward, how would you advise restaurant chains to treat social? What are some ways they can reach guests more effectively than in the past?
Moving forward, I think quick-service restaurant marketers should keep this mindset; social media isn’t only for the bottom of the funnel marketing in quick-service, it can be integrated into all phases—top and middle of the funnel. By optimizing more areas of the funnel, you’ll see more consumers go through the funnel and convert online and in-store, once that’s a more regular option. With any category, measurement on social is especially hard, but important, so I recommend being more critical of the data and insights platforms provide and work hand-in-hand with measurement partners that can enhance your ability to correlate social ads to conversions.