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Outback Steakhouse leverages mobile location to target competitors' customers

A recent mobile campaign from Outback Steakhouse saw a 78 percent lift in the click-through rate for ads delivered to users within five miles of a competitor?s location.

The campaign also included a geo-fence around Outback locations to reach loyal customers. A key learning was that post-click activity was highest on the portion of the campaign targeting competitors, showing an 11 percent lift on conversion actions such as accessing a store locator compared with standard geo-fence ads.

?Location is a major factor in a consumer's decision in choosing a place to dine as seen in our Mobile Path-to-Purchase research study on Restaurant users ? 65 percent of consumers say they choose the restaurant based on its proximity to their existing location,? said Monica Ho, vice president of marketing at xAd, New York.

?As a result, through geo-conquesting, Outback was able to reach and engage consumers who were already nearby other casual dining locations with a timely offer, complete with information on how close the nearest Outback location was from the consumers' exact location,? she said.

?The response to these targeted ads shows the value of right place, right time messaging in mobile.?

Dining options
Outback was looking to increase intent to dine for lunch and dinner. At the same time, the chain wanted to drive traffic into restaurant locations from both loyal customers and those considering other casual dining restaurants.

To achieve these goals, Outback worked with xAd to put a 10-mile geo-fence around Outback Steakhouse locations and a five-mile geo-fence around other casual dining locations, which is known as geo-conquesting.

One series of ads promoted Outback's sirloin and crab legs menu options and encouraged users to click to view the menu.

Another series prompted users to use an Australian accent while they said key phrases and enabled them to click to make a reservation.

Overall, the campaign exceeded the industry benchmark of 0.5 percent by nearly 78 percent, with the geo-conquesting portion performing similarly to the loyalty portion.

The higher post-click activity on the geo-conquest portion of the campaign suggests patrons of other casual dining locations were considering Outback as an alternative dining option.

The next level
Geo-conquesting is becoming increasingly popular with mobile marketers as initial geo-targeting strategies reach for the next level.

A new report from xAd shows that 32 percent of geo-precise campaigns in the second quarter of 2013 included geo-conquesting,

Geo-precise targeting refers to targeting areas that do not conform to standard geo-boundaries and are based on more granular areas dictated by a GPS location or specific behavioral data

Overall, 90 percent of xAd?s campaigns during this period employed some form of geo-precise targeting. This number is up 41 percent compared with the same period a year ago.

Geo-precise campaigns tend to be more popular during the fourth quarter and second quarter of the year, driven by seasonal activities such as the holidays and summer vacations. However, xAd reports that there is also a clear overall upward trend.

Local relevance
Other key findings include that location-based targeting for the retail and automotive sectors is becoming increasingly popular.

Additionally, geo-conquesting was most heavily adopted across categories that do not require an in-depth purchase consideration. The top three sectors for geo-conquesting in the second quarter in order were: restaurants, retail and financial services/insurance.

The report also shows that local relevance drives performance for marketers, outperforming industry standard click-through rates of around 0.5 percent, with display ads delivering a click-through rate of 0.58 percent, search 9.1 percent and geo-conquest campaigns 0.57 percent.

?As the majority of casual dining restaurant visitors are walk-ins vs. advanced reservations, local marketing and promotions are essential components to driving customer awareness and sales,? Ms. Ho said.

?Locally-targeted mobile ads delivered at the critical moment when dining decisions are being made can make the difference in your seats being filled vs. your competitors,? she said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York