Restaurant Operators Rate TV Ads Most Effective for Driving Revenue

May 14, 2012

nra-effectiveness-of-restaurant-communications-may201.jpgThe vast majority (94%) of restaurant operators who have placed ads on TV say that the ads are either very of somewhat effective in increasing overall revenue for their restaurant, finds the National Restaurant Association (NRA) in a May 2012 survey sponsored by LivingSocial. Among operators who had used each of the various marketing communication forms identified, TV ads were rated effective by the largest proportion of respondents, beating out emails to consumers (90%), ads in local papers (88%), brochures/menus left on consumers’ doorsteps (87%), and participation in a coupon booklet (84%). Social media posts also scored highly, with 84% of respondents rating them effective in driving increased revenue, ahead of other digital communication forms such as emails via daily deals providers (78%), internet ads (76%), and SEO (70%).

Despite SEO ranking at the bottom of the list, global marketers value it highly, according to a March 2012 report from Econsultancy in association with Adestra. In fact, among the marketing channels identified in that report, marketers were far more likely to rate SEO as as either excellent or good in terms of return on investment (ROI) than offline direct marketing (79% vs. 36%). The discrepancy in results could well be due to the specifics of the restaurant industry, of course. In fact, according to a separate survey from the NRA that was also part of its report, consumers are more likely to welcome a variety of traditional marketing communications methods from restaurants than digital ones.

TV Ads Most Likely to be Reused

Not surprisingly, given the high effectiveness ratings placed on TV ads, most operators who have used them are likely to try them again. In fact, among respondents who had used each specific form of communication in the past 6 months, ads on TV were the most likely to be re-used (95%), along with emails to consumers (95%). Following were social media posts (93%), brochures/menus sent to consumers in the mail (92%), and participation in a coupon booklet (90%).

Predictions and Experiences Differ

Regardless of prior experience using the various forms of marketing communications, respondents were asked to predict the effectiveness of each in terms of increasing overall revenue for their restaurant. Interestingly, perceptions appear to differ from experience in some responses. For example, although social media posts were rated somewhat middlingly among those with prior experience, they scored highly in predicted effectiveness, equal with TV ads. Similarly, internet ads were in the top 5 in predicted effectiveness, even though they ranked towards the bottom of the list for those with prior experience.

Other Findings:

  • In terms of predicted effectiveness in bringing new customers to their restaurant (regardless of prior experience), most respondents indicated that utilizing a website for their restaurant to reach consumers (90%) would be very or somewhat effective, ahead of an ad on TV (87%) and a social media post (84%).
  • 82% of respondents plan to use a website for their restaurant over the next 12 months, making this the most popular form of marketing communication, ahead of social media posts (75%), emails (63%), and participation in a coupon booklet (61%).
  • In terms of customized marketing communications, operators are most likely to offer specific savings or deals for their restaurant (84%), followed by customized savings or deals based on knowledge of what customers eat (70%). These were also predicted to be the most effective, by 95% and 93% of respondents, respectively.
  • Specific savings or deals from a restaurant (90%) and customized savings or deals based on what they like to eat (84%) were welcomed by the largest proportion of consumers, and also said to be the most effective in encouraging them to learn more about a restaurant (88% and 83%, respectively).

About the Data: About the Data: The NRA/LivingSocial data is based on 2 surveys. An online survey was fielded in February 2012 among a nationally representative sample of 1,064 adults living in private households in the United States. C+R Research fielded the survey from February 20-23, 2012. A separate survey was fielded in February to March 2012 among a nationwide sample of restaurant owners and operators. Survey Sampling International fielded the survey via telephone, and a total of 425 interviews were completed during the period February 21 to March 2, 2012, excluding weekends.

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