mobile marketing

Mobile: What restaurant marketers need to know

In March 2015 a new mobile milestone was reached: the number of mobile-only adult internet users exceeded the number of desktop-only internet users. Smartphones and tablets have now become the primary access point to the internet[1]. Consumers are relying on technology more each day, making it critical for restaurants to understand the impact of mobile technologies in order to develop effective digital strategies.

How Your Customers are Using Mobile

To understand how customers are using mobile, we need to look at user time spent. Today, 89% is spent on mobile apps and 11% is spent using the mobile web, thereby underlying the importance of mobile apps for connecting with customers[2]. What’s more, 70% of consumers considered making a restaurant purchase only after using their mobile device to do research via web or apps[3]. We are entering a mobile-first world, so much so that Google has now tweaked their search algorithm to boost rankings for sites that meet their criteria for effective mobile display, and to disregard those that don’t.

The major players in mobile platforms are still iOS and Android. In fact, Android and iOS combined accounted for 96.3% of all smartphone shipments in 2014[4]. Restaurants looking to launch a new app would be well advised to target both mobile platforms.

New and Noteworthy Mobile Updates

Mandatory iOS 8 Update

A significant event that may impact organizations with mobile apps was Apple’s announcement that, as of June 1st, 2015, all new apps and app updates must be iOS 8 and 64 bit compliant. This means that if you have an app that is not currently iOS 8 compatible, you’ll need to look into updating it. Apple will often purge (remove) older apps from the Apple Store that don’t meet its compatibility requirements.

New Apple Analytics

Apple is also close to releasing a new analytics tool. This technology will enable marketers to track new behavior metrics and engagement levels. Features include:

  • App store page views to understand how many customers visit the app on the Apple Store
  • User retention and engagement statistics such as learning how often users open the app over time by region and device type (iPod, iPhone, iPad etc.)
  • Stickiness (a metric that combines both user retention and acquisition)
  • User acquisition details, including whether discovery was through a Facebook link, Twitter, or conversation from an organic search result, etc.
  • Create and track campaigns to measure impact

By monitoring app analytics, restaurants will be more effective in evaluating their app success, obtaining consumer data, and measuring ROI. The only catch is that in order to take advantage of these new analytics, apps need to be published for iOS 8.

Uniting Browser and Mobile Games- WebGL

Another new technology to watch out for is WebGL. This browser based technology is used for creating interactive 2D and 3D content and games that can run on both desktop and mobile browsers without the need for a plugin. While Flash does not run on Apple devices, WebGL may prove to be a workable alternative. Many restaurants that have a children’s webpage with games and activities would be advised to consider WebGL to increase playability.

Electronic Payment Solutions – Apple Pay

Shifting gears to look at advances in mobile electronic payment, Apple has been making waves with its newest Apple Pay technology. This system allows customers to make restaurant credit or debit payments using their iPhone without requiring a server or terminal. “For the customers that are using it, they love it,” said Jeremy Gibeault, Firehouse Subs’ senior manager of information systems[5]. As of March, Apple Pay is now accepted in over 700,000 locations including Starbucks, McDonald’s and Subway, according to Apple CEO Tim Cook.

Mobile technology is advancing daily, providing restaurants with new possibilities to connect with guests. Whether your restaurant has a website, mobile app, or is looking into new payment alternatives, mobile is and will continue to be an important consideration.

[1] comScore Media Metrix Multi-Platform, Mar 2015
[2] GlobalWebIndex Q3 2014
[3] Google/Nielsen Mobile Path to Purchase custom study, Nov 2013
[4] International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker
[5] Restaurant Hospitality, 2015

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