Shawn Lim
Mar 26, 2024

Inside Burger King's performance-marketing strategy in Korea

The fast-food joint started with a vision to obtain high-value users in South Korea. We speak to the brand’s digital marketing representative to learn about the brand’s data-driven approach to obtain long-term users and optimise creative campaigns.

Inside Burger King's performance-marketing strategy in Korea

Performance marketing strategies for quick-service restaurants (QSRs) significantly impact revenue growth. These strategies focus on acquiring high-value users to boost profits.

However, existing user-acquisition channels in the QSR industry have experienced increased costs and have forced brands to use new channels to acquire incremental users on the open Internet outside the walled gardens of Facebook and Google.

Given that consumers are particular in their food and beverage preferences and may seek options associated with wellness, sustainability, and authenticity, the sector's responsiveness to such food trends will help them stand apart and meet evolving consumer demands. QSRs can cater to changing consumer behaviours by offering innovative and new menu items.

Campaign dives into Burger King’s performance marketing strategy and how they align with industry trends.

How Burger King uses performance media

In South Korea, Burger King is embracing the digitalisation of channels and leveraging data analytics to assess consumers' response to new product launches and to manage the lifecycle of existing products.

This data-driven approach enables the brand to make informed decisions, optimise offerings, and enhance customer experiences. In addition, customer communication has shifted from offline to online engagements, mainly via apps. Using app-coupon activations, new user acquisition, and targeting has enabled Burger King to gather valuable customer data.

SongA Jung, the assistant manager for the digital and analytics centre at Burger King Korea, tells Campaign that promoting in-app services to the right people at the right time is essential to maintaining many active users in the QSR sector.

This is especially true as kiosk adoption and app-coupon activation rates tend to be faster than other QSRs.

"We anticipate that QSRs will increasingly rely on data analytics insights to optimise operations, enhance customer experiences, and tailor marketing strategies to meet evolving consumer preferences," says Jung.

"By utilising display ads operation and customer relationship management (CRM) targeting, QSRs can stay competitive, drive growth, and maintain relevance."

To enhance the user experience online, particularly on mobile apps, Burger King prioritises user experience, effectively integrates online and offline promotions, and creates synergies between digital platforms and physical stores. This approach is said to enhance customer engagement, drive revenue growth, and strengthen brand loyalty.

Prioritising the user experience involves offering a seamless ordering and payment process, enabling customers to order and pay anytime and anywhere. The brand believes this can enhance user satisfaction and encourage repeat business by building user-intuitive ordering and payment processes on mobile apps.

"Integrating online and offline promotions is a crucial aspect. We can encourage mobile ordering by offering exclusive promotions and discounts that are only available online. It is also essential to integrate these promotions into in-store experiences," explains Jung.

"Creating synergies between online and offline channels like Burger King's ‘King Order’ service, which allows customers to order in advance through the app for pickup or dine-in, fosters seamless integration between online and offline channels, thus providing a cohesive customer experience."

Leveraging ML for performance outside walled gardens

To prepare for a world without cookies, Burger King has implemented several strategies to ensure brand safety and high-performance marketing beyond walled gardens.

The brand works with a demand-side platform (DSP) called Moloco to ensure brand safety. It also  recognised that people spend 66% of their time on apps within the open Internet compared to walled gardens like Facebook and Google.

However, Burger King had no prior experience with advertising outside of big tech companies such as Google and Meta. By collaborating with Moloco, the brand gained access to a range of app inventories across the open Internet, allowing it to target and engage with high-value users who were previously unreachable.

For example, a Burger King campaign called 'The King Order' led to a 28% increase in monthly install volume, indicating increased app adoption and user engagement. Daily active users (DAU) experienced a 7% increase, and this surge in app usage translated to a 4% point increase in purchase volume.

Jung says: "By utilising machine learning-based performance marketing, we surpassed the goal of merely acquiring short-term app downloads. Instead, we focused on acquiring high-value users, ensuring sustainable growth for the company."

The merging of performance and creative

To specifically address unique challenges in the QSR sector, Burger King optimised its creative strategy by conducting A/B tests on new products and developing high-performing creatives based on real-time data from performance-marketing campaigns.

By analysing monthly creative performance, the brand gained insights into the most influential creative and ways to optimise native creative for even higher efficiency.

"We identified and acquired high-value users by automating targeting, bidding, and optimising performance," says Jung. "By offloading repetitive and time-consuming tasks to Moloco, we were able to focus on developing highly effective creative that communicated brand messages effectively, increased customer loyalty, and drove high conversions."

Daisuke Yokokawa, vice president of global marketing at Moloco, tells Campaign the granular data insights provided helped determine the highest-performing creative work to amplify campaign efficiency.

"Burger King Korea achieved a more cost-efficient user acquisition strategy by creating a 28% increase in install volume while reducing the cost-per-install (CPI) by 30%," adds Yokokawa.

Campaign Asia

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