How McDonald's utilizes data to optimize customer journeys

Tahani Karrar / October 2018

McDonald’s, in partnership with Dubai-based integrated marketing agency Studio M, powered by Publicis, registered a 254% increase in sales revenues across six Gulf countries through its FIFA World Cup: 45 Days of Surprises app campaign.

In an effort to drive awareness to the Global McDonald’s App and amplify value for its customers, McDonald’s in the Gulf developed a calendar of offers that ran for 45 days. The goal was to match the excitement around the World Cup and speak the digital language of ‘Young Foodies” seeking value from their favorite brands - its core customer base.

In parallel, McDonald’s launched a mobile app-install campaign targeting users who had previously purchased or interacted with the brand. Thousands of users could access the app every day to claim special offers and redeem them in-store, be it via Drive Thru or dine in.

By applying a Peak/Off Peak offer strategy, McDonald’s issued push notifications to surprise users with a ‘Super Offer’, where their most compelling discounts and deals were pushed forward.

The objective was two-fold: to drive downloads of the McDonald’s app as well as increase the number of in-store offer redemptions with the help of Google’s Universal App Campaign in conjunction with SA360.


Maximize downloads of app at a competitive cost per install of less than $1 per install

Optimize audience targeting to deliver quality leads

Increase app registrations, in-store transactions and sales revenue to McDonald’s


Apply Universal App Campaign (UAC) technology

Use SA360, formerly Double Click


Increment of +144% vs. baseline period (45 days prior to campaign)

Uplift of +235% in-store app transactions vs. baseline period (45 days prior to campaign)

The app saw +254% increase in sales revenues across the six countries in the Gulf Region during The FIFA world cup campaign by leveraging highly targeted paid media and attractive offers vs. baseline period (45 days prior to campaign)

McDonald’s in the Gulf uses a mix of traditional and online marketing methods including TV, Digital, Radio and Print to raise brand awareness and footfall to its branches in the region. Among its key audiences are Millennials aged 15-35.

“Through a continuous integrated marketing optimization approach, fueled by data and implemented across all touchpoints, we generated a significant amount of in-store redemptions through the new McDonald’s app and delivered a unique data-led mobile experience to drive consumers back to McDonald’s stores,” said Dany Labban, Media Manager at Studio M.

“Bringing the World Cup calendar experience along with free offers and discounts allowed users to reconnect with the brand and receive the value they strongly desire. We wanted to ensure we’re delivering a personalized experience that keeps us relevant in their hearts and minds,” he added.

Through real-time data analytics, McDonald’s was able to record and track the number of downloads, registrations and redemptions as well as merge offline with online using social media, Google UAC and SA360.
“We maximized reach by making use of the array of Google’s Universal App placements, from search text ads, YouTube, the Google Display Network and AdMob to drive users to their desired app stores,” said Laian Hammoud, Associate Account Strategist at Google.

Offline, McDonald’s’ owned channels were also utilized - including self-ordering kiosks to Digital Menu Boards, tent cards and traymats.

“Now through the McDonald’s app, we are able to make use of the magnitude of user data received thus far, to make informed decisions on which products resonate more with our customers, allowing us to push the right product to the right user and at a time when they’re most receptive,” said a McDonald’s spokesperson.

“More importantly data helped us profile customers based on behavior and interests which made our communication and engagement more relevant and meaningful to them,” the spokesperson added.

Personalization played a huge role, as McDonald’s issued fully customized in-app motivator messages to specific users based upon the frequency of their in-app calendar visits. Users were commended for frequent interactions, while those who did not frequently interact were encouraged to come back to avoid missing out on more amazing offers.

Furthermore, Google AdWords and SA360 outperformed other digital channels in terms of cost per download by 28%, which was an integral part in over achieving all set KPI.


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