Does Paid Social Work? (A Case Study)

At some point, every marketer wonders: Does paid social work? With a solid social media presence, our quick-service-restaurant (QSR) client had a hunch social media ads were making an impact on their business, but they wanted to know for sure. They wanted to know if paid social was in fact driving customers into their 600 brick-and-mortar locations around the country day after day. Rather than continuing to trust a hunch or go with their gut, they took action and turned to Goodway Group to help match their social media performance to real-life business results. Here’s how:

Leveraging Facebook Store Visit Ads

Over half of frequent restaurant-goers turn to their smartphone first when deciding where to eat, so mobile Facebook ads are a perfect fit for this industry. Facebook store visit ads let you promote one, or a few, or all your physical locations (such as retail shops, restaurants, gyms or salons) in the same or different cities and include personalized content, such as sales and special offers, to boost store visits. These ads can each include custom info, such as an individual restaurant’s address, phone number, hours, and map. They can also include call-to-action buttons, such as Get Directions, so people can visit the closest nearby store. Most importantly, Facebook store visit ads match users who were exposed to an ad on Facebook and visited a restaurant location (for users who have opted in to allow Facebook to track their smartphone location) — enabling our QSR client to unmistakably tie back customer visits to their marketing efforts.

Using Hyperlocal Targeting

When it comes to traditional media planning, buyers know different parts of the country typically have different cultures and lifestyles that influence the effectiveness of their advertising campaigns. But in today’s digital and mobile world, we can take a hyperlocal approach to reach your ideal audience, wherever they are. Geofencing, a specific type of hyperlocal targeting tactic, creates a virtual perimeter to prospect new customers and increase in-store foot traffic for advertisers. It allows advertisers to reach people near specific latitude and longitude coordinates for your store locations. For other use cases, you can also use geofencing to target:

  • an audience for your upcoming event to help attract the right customers and boost attendance.
  • competitors’ locations to tell shoppers or customers why they should shop or visit you.
  • airports, hotels, museums, and other attractions to reach tourists who may have time on their hands and could visit if they knew you and were interested in what you have to offer.

In this case, we set up a three- to five-mile geofence around each of our client’s restaurants in more than 60 DMAs, with some cities having hundreds of individual locations. Our virtual perimeter then used the GPS information on mobile phones and apps to target and serve ads to anyone who crossed the geofence threshold, ensuring impressions were delivered to customers close enough to visit.

Putting Paid Social to the Test

Going with Facebook store visit ads can give advertisers measurable results. They show real-time measurement signals, such as info shared by people who have their mobile devices’ Location Services turned on and third-party satellite imagery and mapping data that show a physical location’s boundaries. What’s more, Facebook is able to estimate the number of times people visit locations after seeing ads one day, seven days, and 28 days after a person clicks on an ad. It’s also able to exclude store employees and those people who simply pass by a location. Drumroll, here’s the verdict: Paid social media does work. It is effective at driving more foot traffic and sales for advertisers with physical retail locations. In fact, by combining both Facebook store visits ads and hyperlocal targeting, we ended up generating more than 653,000 store visits for our QSR client at an average cost of $0.61 a visit! We got this added bonus too. Facebook was able to track customers’ attributes and behaviors – such as age, online activities, and customers’ distance from a restaurant location when they saw the ad. Through the campaign, our client could better understand their ideal audience and use that information to enhance targeting on future campaigns. Are you still wondering if paid social media is the right channel for your advertising dollars? Stop guessing. Work with us, and we can help you implement the right paid social strategy for your business.