Without a doubt the competition in the food business is fierce. If you’re selling food and/or drink from a specific location, you’ll need an efficient method of putting yourself in front of potential customers if you want to stay competitive; PPC is one such method if you adopt the right strategy. We’ve put together some PPC tips and strategies which have been useful for our clients that may help you gain more attention from those growling stomachs.
Local seems to be the name of the game for most restaurants these days. Local produce, local restaurants. Most users are looking for tasty eats close to their home, consequently you will get the most value from your online advertising by focusing primarily in geo-targeted ads. Through the application of geo-targeting ads you will not only able to ensure that your ads are shown only to users in certain cities, but you can even specific a particular radius within those cities. You will be able to save money by eliminating non-relevant clicks that could whack your advertising budget. Make sure that you take advantage of these handy features to get your ads in front of the best customers.
Use Mobile Ads
The latest report from Mary Meeker says: [tweetable alt=””]Consumer mobile usage out-paces mobile advertising spend by 3x[/tweetable]. As such, brands operating within the food & bev industry need to ensure that they are visible for mobile searches. If you aren’t, the immediacy of mobile means people will turn to brand that is there, such as a competitor.
Mobile ads are thus often the best candidates for restaurants as users are looking for nearby dining options while on the move. In addition, mobile ads tend to be cheaper than desktop ads, and generate higher conversion rates.
In order to maximise your ROI, you should increase you mobile bids around dinnertime, when users are actively searching for fast foods on their mobile phones. Consequently, you would be able to increase your visibility for a specific query, thus be the first one to show up for a certain keyword when hungry users are on the search.
It’s also important to set percentage mobile bids to ensure you rank within the top 2 adverts, people don’t tend to always scroll down to bottom of the page on mobile devices. We get impatient when we’re hungry!
Near Me Searches
According to Google, words like ‘near me’, ‘closest’ and ‘nearby’ are increasingly common across the billions of queries on Google every month. This means that people are more frequently using mobile devices to look for things in their vicinity. Google search interest in ‘near me’ has increased 34x since 20111 and nearly doubled since last year. The vast majority coming from mobile – 80% in Q4 2014.2
‘Near me ‘searches are more common when people are travelling, spiking mainly during Christmas and New Years with a 55% increase. Also, they are very popular during the weekends, when people step out of their usual working routines.
Taking a closer look at location-based searches it’s apparent that the most frequent searched are related to finding drinks and late-night pizza on Saturdays.
The above demonstrates that users seeking location information could prove to be extremely valuable for location-based food and bev brands. It has been shown that 10-18% of clicks on search ad lead to a visit to the location. Businesses in this industry should also fine-tune their location bid adjustments to show ads to users who are within a specific distance from their stores or restaurants, to ensure clicks aren’t wasted on those too far away to convert.
It’s also important to remember that ‘conversational search’ is also on the rise, so you may want to target specific queries which users may speak directly into their phone.
Another innovative way of getting customers to your restaurant or venue would be through the application of iBeacon technology. It is an open source version of software, recently released by Google, that enables Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) beacon hardware technology to communicate with smart devices running either Android or iOS, called Eddystone.
Why is it important to your local business? By utilizing beacons, business owners could target users who use their phone to search for example for ‘restaurants near me’. Here are a few ideas on how beacons could benefit a food & beverage venue:
- Broadcasting the specials to all receptive smart devices in the area
- Sharing your unique selling points, ex. how fresh the coffee is
- Offer directions to people walking on the street
- Letting you customers pay without waiting for the bill
- Send updates about upcoming events
- Broadcast special offers to those in the vicinity, or even in competitors venues!
Undoubtedly, it’s an exciting area of development with a broad range of marketing applications. Not only could it lead to an increase in the number of customer visits to your store or restaurant but also utilise a number of the above techniques to increase revenue through up-selling and repeat visits.
Business in the food and beverage industry can fluctuate wildy. This is due not only to economic fluctuations but also seasonal changes that have a great impact on business. It comes as no surprise that restaurants notice a decline in the number of guests during seasonal holidays or major events as compared to the rest of the year. This is due to the fact that families tend to spend more time together and prepare meals at home during the holidays. On the other hand, fast food and quick food restaurants can thrive while dine-in restaurants suffer.
So before you get cracking on your latest PPC campaign, you might be asking yourself ‘how do I combat these seasonal changes?’.
In order to increase the business during slow seasons you want choose to promote special offers in the ad copy. For instance, offering two-for-one meals, 25% off the check etc. You could also reduce your bids in order to ensure your ads are still visible online without overspending on top positions in the Google Search Network. While you may lose a small amount of revenue per drink/meal by offering special discounts and offers, it would help to ensure consistent business through slower periods and ultimately help increase the bottom line.
We hope that some of the above PPC strategies continue to drive footfall, regardless of the time of year! We have a bounty of experience working with restaurants in helping them drive orders and reservations, so if you think that your business could benefit from running a ROI-driven PPC strategy, get in touch.
1 Google Trends, Data pulled March 30, 2015.
2 Google Data, Q4 2014.