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Taco Bell beefs up mobile advertising play to drive in-store foot traffic

Fast food chain Taco Bell is expanding its mobile reach with a new mobile advertising campaign that encourages users to learn more about a new, limited-time-only product.

Taco Bell has run similar mobile advertising promotions in the past. The mobile ads are running inside the Spotify iPhone application.

"Taco Bell?s consumers lead an active, on-the-go lifestyle, and they value the convenience of mobile devices to assist in their busy day," Juliet Corsinita, senior director of media and brand partnerships at Taco Bell,  Irvine, CA.

"Mobile is often at the heart of Taco Bell?s digital marketing programs as consumers rely on the best screen available," she said.

"Our planning process always begins with the consumer and understanding their behaviors to identify the most relevant environments and the most appropriate moments to engage with them. In a world where concurrent media usage is the norm, we consider the value of all the screens and devices where our consumer is investing their time and attention, and mobile is a critical element." 

Mobile express
Taco Bell is running a mobile campaign that includes both audio and a mobile banner ad.

The copy for the ad reads, ?Get your nachos, wrapped up to go? and features a photo of the new beefy nacho burrito.

Users are then encouraged to tap on the banner ad to learn more about the product and find a nearby Taco Bell store.

When users tap the banner, they are taken to Taco Bell?s mobile site, where the new product is prominently placed on the top of the page.

Running a mobile ad campaign such as this is a great way for Taco Bell to promote a new product while also driving foot traffic to stores.

A store locator feature on the homepage lets users find a nearby restaurant by either using their device?s built-in GPS or typing in their location.

Additionally, consumers who tap on the promotion on the mobile site can find nutritional information for the beefy nacho burrito.

"I cannot envision a marketing program where mobile isn?t a key component," Ms. Corsinita said.

"It?s about the behaviors of our consumers and their mobile-centric lifestyles, and engaging at the right moment has never been more critical."

In-store traffic
This is not the first time Taco Bell has used mobile advertising to its advantage for a product launch.

For example, earlier this year the fast food franchise ran targeted mobile ads for the launch of its Doritos Locos Tacos. For the same promotion, Taco Bell also used augmented reality in its app and mobile bar codes (see story).

The mobile ad initiative is another example of how quick-serve restaurants are betting on mobile as a way to drive in-store traffic.

Not many fast food chains are using technologies such as mobile payments or commerce yet, making mobile advertising a natural channel to go after.

For this specific campaign, including a button for consumers to find a nearby restaurant not only gives users an incentive to tap on an ad but is also tied to a direct action ? visiting a store.

"Mobile advertising is a fantastic way to drive new product awareness, customer acquisition and higher sales," said Craig Davis, CEO/founder of Relevvant, San Francisco.

"Brands that successfully mix the power of mobile with social can not only target mobile advertising by standard demographic information and location but also based on behaviors, intent and interests.  By leveraging the power of mobile and customer data, marketers can reach the right customer at the right time with the right message," he said.

Mr. Davis is not affiliated with Taco Bell. He commented based on his expertise on the subject.

"Mobile advertising is one of the most effective ways to drive customers in-store. With customers connected on their mobile devices 24/7, mobile advertising allows brands to reach their audience anywhere, anytime."

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Marketer, New York