- QSR chain Wendy's is the first brand to partner with GasBuddy, the smartphone app that helps drivers find the lowest-cost gas at nearby stations, for its new "Badges" feature, according to a company announcement shared with Mobile Marketer.
- Badges alert drivers to nearby amenities as they're traveling, including restaurants and hotels. The feature relies on GPS-based, first-party data to connect the app's users to Wendy's locations that are attached to or near gas stations.
- Wendy's is working with GasBuddy as Memorial Day weekend approaches, marking the beginning of the summer driving season. By sponsoring a badge, Wendy's aims to stand out among road trip pit stops like gas stations that are putting greater emphasis on food service, which make up about 23% of convenience store sales, per GasBuddy.
By partnering with GasBuddy on its new Badges feature, Wendy's can deliver promotional messages and deals to drivers when they're most likely to pull over to get gas, buy food or take a break before getting back on the road. GasBuddy appeals to cost-conscious consumers who are looking for savings as gas prices climb. As GasBuddy demonstrated in its announcement, the app can show a pop-up that promotes Wendy's 50-cent Frosty shake and guide drivers to the nearest location to make a purchase.
Unplanned purchases at gas stations create opportunities for mobile marketers to reach consumers, but emphasizing convenience for drivers is key. Almost two-thirds (60%) of people trying to decide where to eat use only their mobile device to guide their decision, per Facebook research cited by QSR Magazine. Its survey found that 75% of those people hadn't decided where to eat when they started their search, suggesting that restaurant ads on GasBuddy could help to drive visits to Wendy's locations.
GasBuddy's new Badges feature comes as in-car commerce is forecast to grow alongside car connectivity, especially once next-generation 5G service expands nationwide over the next few years. Daily commuting times represent a $230 billion in-car commerce opportunity for mobile marketers, according to a study by PYMNTS.com and P97 Networks, signaling that brands like Wendy's need to have marketing programs in place to reach consumers when they're outside of the home.
GasBuddy is among the navigation apps that are seeking to expand their ad sales. Social navigation app Waze last month shifted focus to what it calls "destination-based marketing" from location-based ads to highlight how its app helps mobile marketers reach on-the-go consumers. Waze's push into destination-based marketing comes as parent company Google starts selling advertising on Google Maps, the navigation app used by more than 1 billion people.