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McDonald?s beacon strategy pushes in-store conversion rate to 20pc

McDonald?s recently leveraged a new proximity marketing strategy at 15 McD Cafés in Istanbul, Turkey, sending beacon-enabled promotions to customers within its venues via a mobile application, resulting in a conversion rate of 20 percent.

The brand sought to enhance its personal relationships with customers as well as increase awareness of a new line of coffee-flavored beverages, including ginger mocha, coconut latte and chai tea latte. McDonald?s ultimately ran two campaigns with company beacons over two six-week periods, which ended with the brand seeing 30 percent of users who received the promotion using it more than once.

?At McDonald?s we love to surprise and delight our customers not only with great food at a reasonable price, but also by enhancing their shopping experience using new technologies,? said Nedim Bali, marketing manager at McDonald?s Turkey, Istanbul, Turkey. ?We know that a mobile channel plays a crucial role in reaching out to customers and that it?s important to send relevant offers to users and not just spam them.

?Shopping Genie follows those simple rules, tailoring each users? special offers to his or her pre-selected likes, and results of the campaign are the strong indication of how good the targeting is.?

Increasing awareness
The strategy of targeting customers while they are in line at their local McD Café is a strong move, since they are most likely already fans of the brand. McDonald?s tapped the Shopping Genie mobile application, a popular Turkish loyalty app, to reach those fans and deliver relevant offers.

?Proximity marketing was selected to build in-depth relationships with our customers and to introduce to them our new set of coffee products,? Mr. Bali said. ?What?s more, the app and beacons make it possible for us to see the conversion rate of a visit resulting with a purchase in real time.

?The results of the campaign proved that our customers liked both: the products and the campaign mechanism.?

Each time a Shopping Genie user entered the beacon-enhanced premises, he or she would receive a mobile coupon prompting them to purchase one coffee and receive a beverage from the new drink line for free. The Shopping Genie app is also said to tailor users? promotions to their pre-selected likes.

Proximity marketing turned out to be a valuable tactic for the participating locations, as they were easily able to measure conversion rates, as well as consumers? interest in the new products.

The restaurants were also able to deduce which customers did not use their offer, paving the way for a potential second wave of retargeting in the future.

Valuable results
Due to the first campaign?s success, McDonald?s in Turkey also ran a second campaign with the same idea to promote a new series of burgers. was able to pinpoint that 20 percent of the loyalty app?s users identified themselves as interested in receiving the types of offers that McDonald?s was testing, while 30 percent who received a promotion used the offer more than once.

This aided the brand in figuring out which consumers were repeat customers, in addition to when and where they walked in from.

McDonald?s has been heading in an increasingly more mobile direction in the past year. In Britain, the brand provided wireless charging for consumers in an attempt to ramp up in-store traffic (see story).

Meanwhile, in the United States, McDonald?s is also turning to targeted mobile vouchers in a bid to salvage brand loyalty and drive in-store traffic as other food brands such as Dunkin? Donuts and Starbucks go from strength to strength with their mobile rewards platforms (see story).

?The key takeaway here is what McDonald?s was able to achieve with proximity: they wanted to advertise a product that they had just introduced, and they used beacons to identify customers who were at the point of purchase and change their behavior,? said Trevor Longino, head of public relations and marketing at, Krakow, Poland.

?There?s no other technology that can influence real-time context sensitive decisions like this, and that?s what makes beacons so attractive to businesses all around the globe: whether in Istanbul or in Idaho, the uniquely instant nature of this technology pays dividends in new and exciting ways.?

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Marketer, New York