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How QSRs can use OOH to Drive Sales

July 21, 2023

Quick Service Restaurants (QSRs) emphasize fast and efficient service. Shouldn’t they expect the same from their advertising efforts?

QSRs are known for their quick turnaround time, which makes them popular among people on the go looking for a quick meal. OOH targets audiences while on the move between destinations. Because of this, Out-of-Home advertising is an excellent option for QSRs.

However, QSRs may face challenges in creating their OOH campaigns, including ad clutter and competition from similar brands, short dwell times for messaging and selecting the right markets and locations for their advertising. In this article, you will learn the effectiveness of OOH for QSRs and how to maximize the impact of your outdoor advertising efforts.

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Effectiveness of OOH for QSRs

OOH is an effective form of advertising for QSR brands. Sixty percent of audiences recall seeing a QSR ad recently, according to a June 2022 Harris Poll. Sixty-seven percent of audiences saw a QSR OOH ad and purchased food at a physical store. But there are other actions that QSR OOH audiences took after seeing an advertisement:

OOH Ads Drive Sales
67% Made an in-store purchase
39% ordered from a restaurant using a mobile app

OOH Ads Drive Web Traffic
39% visited a restaurant’s website

OOH Ads Drive Engagement
24% Shared advertiser info through word-of-mouth
16% Used QR code, tap tech, or SMS text to engage

OOH Ads Drive Social Media
16% Followed a restaurant on Social Media
14% took a picture of an ad to share on social media 

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How to Target Your QSR Audience

Younger and city-dwelling Americans tend to have a higher recall of OOH QSR ads. The following graph shows the likelihood of recall amongst different audience segmentations:

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Three-quarters of millennials and Gen Z audiences were likely to remember seeing an ad for a QSR. Nearly 70 percent of those living in large cities were also likely to remember an ad. Men were also 10 percent more likely than women to recall QSR OOH ads.

OOH advertising has a broad reach. But advertisers can build custom audience overlays to reach specific audiences. Targeting options include segmenting by zip code, county, or US census tract.

Targeting audiences more likely to recall and respond to your ad can help you to build a more effective campaign. But what formats and messaging strategies should you use to have the best outcomes?

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Popular QSR OOH Advertising Strategies

QSRs use many outdoor advertising strategies to capture audience attention and drive foot traffic to their locations. Here are the top messaging strategies that audiences respond to:

  1.  Price | 42% (51% for rural audiences): These numbers show that QSR audiences may see a slightly higher return on advertising deals in rural areas. 
  2.  New Product Offerings | 39%: Knowledge of new products can re-excite audiences about your brand.
  3.  Food Quality | 31% (42% for GenZ and 37% for Millennial audiences): Younger audiences care more about food quality than older audiences. When targeting younger audiences using a strategy that speaks to how your food is sourced and prepared or its nutrition can help encourage these audiences to buy. 
  4.  Limited-time Menu Offerings | 31%: Limited-time: Limited-time offers create a sense of urgency with your audience, making them want to purchase your product while they still have the opportunity.
  5.  Nearby Location or Directional | 29% (37% Rural, 35% Urban<1M): Those in less densely populated cities and rural locations are more likely to respond to directional advertisements.
  6.  Combination Meals | 27%: Knowing that you can get your main course, sides, and soda in one package makes ordering and understanding the cost of your product easier for audiences. 
Besides messaging, it’s important to consider market inventory. You'll want to find a combination of formats to reach your desired target audience. Here are some examples of formats commonly deployed by QSR advertisers:

  • Billboards: Large Billboards strategically placed in high-traffic areas, such as highways, busy intersections, or near shopping centers, create awareness and generate interest. These billboards typically feature enticing food visuals, branding, and concise messages.
  • Digital Signage: Digital billboards and LED displays allow for dynamic content. Eye-catching visuals, animated advertisements, and real-time updates on promotions or limited-time offers excite your audience.
  • Street Furniture Advertising: Bus shelters, benches, kiosks, or public trash bins provide exposure to pedestrians and commuters in urban areas.
  • Vehicle Wraps: Vehicle wraps on delivery cars, company vehicles, or even rideshare services reach a broad audience. These wraps often feature branding, logos, and food imagery.
  • Transit Advertising: Ads on buses, trains, subway platforms, or transit stops target commuters and travelers.
  • Sponsorships and Events: QSRs can sponsor local events, sports teams, or community initiatives. Associating a brand with popular events or causes builds positive brand associations.
  • Location-based Advertising: Location-based technologies such as geofencing or beacons target nearby smartphone users with personalized offers, discounts, or notifications as they enter specific areas.
  • Interactive Advertising: Touchscreens or interactive billboards allow passersby to engage with content by playing games, customizing menu items, or accessing digital coupons.

Your strategy may vary based on your target audience, budget, and objectives. Ensure your creative contains mouthwatering imagery that entices your audiences to buy your food products.

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Measure Your QSR Outdoor Campaign with Billups

Using an OOH Specialist, you can track the effectiveness of your restaurant’s outdoor ad campaigns. Billups allows you to track audience profiles, exposures, and foot traffic to POIs/stores against campaigns.

Sign up for an attribution study based on location visitations to inform campaign effectiveness or identify how your markets perform based on your brand’s KPIs. Our studies track audience exposures mapped against the most frequented locations in any US market. We provide audience or destination intelligence to improve brand creative alignment, sales insights & opportunities. Reach out today to learn more!

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