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Challenge

In order to achieve and maintain balanced paid search visibility across markets while capitalizing on local signals to improve performance, McDonald’s partnered with Resolution Media to better understand and prove the impact of local signals. Specifically, they sought to determine how local signals can identify or create inefficiencies in the paid search program. Additionally, they sought to determine how these signals could inform decisions and actions to improve campaign performance and better balance search visibility across all demographic market areas (DMA) and franchises.

Strategy

Due to the sheer volume of franchises, markets, campaigns and keywords to consider and manage for McDonald’s, the team created a system to analyze DMA-level campaign data and compare search campaigns running in each DMA in terms of brand interest and category interest. Resolution worked with Google to secure a brand demand index (BDI) and a category demand index (CDI) by DMA. These indices provided the benchmarks necessary to assign each DMA a score for paid search brand interest and paid search category interest. In other words, they enabled the team to understand the level of interest in McDonald’s and various categories (fast food, coffee, etc.) within each DMA to better understand how it compared to others.

Execution

Specifically analyzing impression share, click-through rate (CTR) and store visit rate (SVR), the team then grouped DMAs into one of four categories:

Bid strategies were applied by category and DMA to maximize the effectiveness of Paid Search within those areas — either focused on driving awareness for new products or capturing demand from existing brand loyalists. After implementing these bid adjustments, the teams continued to strategically monitor and fine-tune campaigns.

Results

Shortly after conducting this analysis and adjusting strategy for each DMA according to its categorization, CTR increased in each DMA category by at least 610%. Many great strides were achieved across McDonald’s product lines as well; CTR for coffee terms, for example, increased 589% by capturing demand in areas with high brand interest.

Beyond driving users to the website, consumer intent to go to the restaurant increased significantly following bid activation based on BDI/CDI. By leveraging Placed, McDonald’s was able to measure the incremental lift on store visits — the source of truth in identifying the effectiveness of media dollars. As a result, Paid Search successfully drove a 25% lift on store visits – nearly four times higher than other digital media.

The analysis and resulting adjustments also:

  • Improved engagement for always-on categories
  • Captured more demand for promotional categories
  • Increased store visit rate with alignment to brand interest
  • Proved the value of being attentive to local signals
  • Enabled the team to achieve greater successes in the future, creating opportunities to:
    • Effectively capture consumer demand for sustained products
    • Capitalize on existing brand interest to increase reach of promotions
    • Drive incremental store visits in areas with existing high brand interest