It has been widely reported that McDonald’s Foursquare campaign in April saw a 33% increase in footfall at their restaurants. However, as is often the case with digital media, and mobile marketing especially, the metrics are a little bit loose. It turns out from Wion, the company that ran the campaign for McDonalds, that they measured check-ins. It would be pretty hard to measure actual visitors to the stores, especially as the staff at many of them didn’t know much (or even anything) about the campaign. They could have measured voucher redemptions for sure, but maybe that casued problems again for the staff. What they did instead was to measure the increase in check-ins on the day of the offer against previous ones.
A spokesperson for Wion explained:
“During the pilot program we saw a 33% increase in check-ins from people visiting our restaurants. We measured this by indexing the amount of check-ins across all McDonald’s restaurants in the days leading up to the pilot and then on the pilot day itself. While a check-in isn’t the same thing as foot traffic or sales, it does show an increased level of engagement with our brand and that social media can be used to drive folks into our restaurants.”
There’s nothing wrong with brand engagement, especially for someone as high profile as Mickey Ds, but it is important that this data is correctly reported. If it isn’t, agencies and brands will be naturally suspicious of mobile as a marketing channel.