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McDonald?s goes for mobile gold in London with 1M app downloads

McDonald?s is seeing strong results for its mobile efforts in Britain, with its local smartphone application having achieved more than one million downloads in less than 12 months.

The fast-food giant is a leader in mobile marketing across a variety of strategies, including using QR codes on packaging and engaging in mobile advertising, in addition to creating leading mobile apps and Web sites. In Britain, the numbers show McDonald?s is also bringing customers back again and again, with more than one in ten customers returning to the app each month.

?The success of the application is testament to not only the simplicity of the design, but the ongoing customer utility it provides right across the customer journey,? said Adam Levene, chief strategy officer at Grapple, London. ?From the discovery of promotions pre-arrival, through to the easy access of nutrition information whilst inside the restaurant, mobile is proving to be the ultimate customer companion.

?We?ve seen steady growth for both the mobile app and Web site and expect this to continue ? no single channel is outgrowing the other,? Mr. Levene said. ?Naturally, with McDonald?s being a worldwide partner of the Olympics, we?re expecting increased visits to the mobile Web site over the next few weeks.?

The McDonald?s UK app is available for the iPhone and Android. The app was developed in partnership with mobile app development firm Grapple and agency Razorfish.

Driving foot traffic
McDonald?s mobile offerings are designed to offer a simple, personalized experience, providing customers with the ability to find the nearest restaurants, view the full menu including nutrition information and find the latest offers and promotions.

The fast-food giant reports that, in Britain, mobile is proving to be a powerful channel for driving traffic into its restaurants as well as a way to provide easy access to additional information such as promotions, menus and nutrition information when customers are in a McDonald?s location.

App vs. Web
The results so far also point to the different ways that consumers are using mobile apps versus mobile Web sites, with the app used predominantly between the hours of 12-2 p.m. and 5-7 p.m. daily. The app is also driving three times more return visits than the mobile-optimized site.

?We?re closely monitoring the performance of both the app and mobile site, and have noticed clear differences in levels of engagement and retention,? Mr. Levene said. ?The mobile application sees on average three times more return visits than the mobile site.

?Naturally, a customer has a higher level of affinity to the brand in order to download the app, but push notifications are a powerful method of increasing return visits," he said. ?We are also seeing the app and mobile Web being used for different functionality - whilst app users are engaging more with promotions, the mobile site is primarily accessed for restaurant locations and menu information.?

?Mobile presents an opportunity for McDonald?s to continue to tailor the customer experience even further - we?ve recently introduced personalization into both the McDonald?s app and mobile site, with the ability for customers to build their own meals."

Final Take
Chantal Tode is associate editor on Mobile Marketer, New York