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Buffalo Wild Wings mobile campaign increased purchase intent by 45pc

April 15, 2013

NEW YORK – A Buffalo Wild Wings case study that was presented at the 2013 IAB Mobile Marketplace last week points to a big opportunity for using mobile to increase purchase intent.

Executives from Buffalo Wild Wings, space150 and Nielsen presented a case study from the casual dining restaurant during the “Measuring Mobile ROI: How Do I Know It’s Working?” session. The campaign took place during the 2012-2013 football season and was meant to help drive consumers to Buffalo Wild Wings locations.

“We know that our MVP – our target – is very mobile. They are checking their sports scores, their social updates, their reviews,” said Ryan Richardson, manager of digital media at Buffalo Wild Wings, Minneapolis.

“They are on their mobile phones, they are on for a specific purpose,” he said.

“Football season is like our Christmas season – this is when our fans are there.”

Buffalo Wild Wings claims to be the largest sports bar in the United States with nearly 1,000 locations.

Driving in-store traffic
The “Protect the football” campaign included desktop and mobile components and included a landing page on the brand’s site.

The target demographic was males aged 18-35 years old.

Buffalo Wild Wings also made a media buy to drive consumers to the site.

Similar to other restaurants, the goal was to get consumers into locations and to do so by proving it with traffic-driving metrics, such as intent to purchase.

“We wanted to understand and prove that our consumer is using mobile,” said Craig Key, associate media director at space150, Minneapolis.

“Their time spent in mobile has gone way up – we know that they are there,” he said.

“How is the effectiveness of mobile compare to say desktop or traditional digital media?”

Buffalo Wild Wings targeted mobile and Web ads to consumers within five-mile radiuses of locations. The ads were targeted towards consumers that were reading sports content.

The experience on the landing page was similar across desktop and mobile with a game that challenged users to make their way through an obstacle course to end up at a Buffalo Wild Wings location.

Buffalo Wild Wings worked with Nielsen to survey consumers in real-time throughout the campaign. Two groups of consumers were polled – those who had seen the ad and those who had not. The surveys were given to mobile and desktop users.

Consumers were asked if they planned to visit Buffalo Wild Wings within the next 30 days.

Of the mobile group, the campaign generated a 45 percent increase in purchase intent between consumers who saw the ad and those who did not see the ad.

On the desktop side, purchase intent increased 26.3 percent for the group that saw the ad.

Social engagement
More than 200,000 people played the Buffalo Wild Wings game. The average user played five times with an average play time of 90 seconds per session.

In total play time, consumers spent 27,000 hours interacting with content.

“That’s getting them to watch three 30-second TV spots and even more so because they are interacting with the brand as opposed to just passively watching,” Mr. Richardson said.

Additionally, the game garnered 27,000 Facebook shares. At the time of the campaign, Buffalo Wild Wings had around nine million Facebook fans.

In general, Buffalo Wild Wings averages 30,000 Facebook shares a month, per Mr. Richardson.

“What we get out of this is an effective branding tool,” Mr. Richardson said.

“It showed us using apples-to-apples measurement that we were getting people to say that they would go and fewer to say that they don’t go to us through delivering this mobile experience,” he said.

“Though it’s new, I answer to metrics. The only way I make money is when people come to my restaurants and buy wings and beer. It’s really cool to deliver an awesome experience, but if that’s not driving them into my restaurant door, it’s not making me money.”

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

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