Burger King Digital Marketing Strategy – A Case Study

Burger King Digital Marketing Strategy – A Case Study

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Dec 15, 2023 20:33 IST

Burger King, a Florida-based fast-food chain, is known for its quirky marketing campaigns that have revolutionised the global QSR industry. Learn about the marketing mix, how it uses technology, along with its bold marketing tactics leveraging social media and elements of mobile marketing. 

Burger king digital marketing strategy

 

Burger King is one of the world’s largest burger chains. It was founded in 1954 in Miami, a year before McDonald’s started operating. Today it serves 11 million customers globally every day. 

It has maintained its global footprint using out-of-the-box marketing campaigns that are memorable. These omnichannel marketing efforts have proven the chain’s dominance in the Quick Service Restaurant (QSR) industry. 

With fierce competition in this sector, it continues to surprise its target audience and rivals. And, it needs no introduction for its witty, honest and consistent marketing stunts. 

Have a look into the approach of Burger King’s digital marketing strategy by clicking on the links below. 

Burger King Digital Marketing Strategy

A major part of this fast-food chain’s success comes from offering innovative customer experiences across different geographies. But there are some factors to consider for a multi-billion dollar brand. 

21st-century challenges for Burger King

Global Competition

A report from ResearchAndMarkets.com stated that the global fast-food market will reach $931.7 billion by 2027. This growth will be at a CAGR of 4.6% from 2020 to 2027.

Another study by Midwest Marketing Education in 2018 stated that hamburger fast food restaurants were dominating the US market. 

According to this research, the top market leaders were McDonald’s, Wendy’s and Burger King. McDonald’s with the largest market share in the world started losing out to Wendy’s and Burger King around 2016. 

Modern-day Target Audience

Another concern was the change in buying behaviour of their primary consumers. The study states that consumers were becoming more health-conscious.

‘Cheaper healthy food’ threatened the dominance of the three hamburger fast-food chains. 

Similarly, the demand for ‘exotic cuisine’ – Asian and Mexican dishes sold by the growing number of casual fast-food eateries forced McDonald’s and Burger King to diversify their menu. 

Consumers here are the millennials who prefer diversity in cuisines with more affordable options. 

Embracing Change & Technology

Just like the other fast-food chains, it started re-franchising around 2012. The brand sold off stores and 59.3% of revenue came from store operations, according to Restaurant Finance Monitor. 

According to the Midwest Marketing Education study, the chain could focus on its marketing strategy after these steps. 

The fast-food chain also rebranded in 2020 after 1999 with a new visual design. It was important for the brand to communicate to all consumer touchpoints in today’s digital age. 

According to Marketing Dive, the new design elements considered many contemporary factors ranging from the environment to minimalism in aesthetics. 

The rebranding also looked into offering more healthier options in its menus, eco-friendly packaging and so on. 

The Burger King Marketing Mix 

In terms of the 4Ps of marketing, Burger King has many advantages. 

Price – It offers competitive pricing that is more or less based on cost leadership. That is, it looks into traditional market factors such as supply and demand, pricing of competitors, etc. Just like its competitors it also offers combo meals that are cheaper in price compared to the separately sold items. 

Promotion – Burger King uses a variety of channels to promote its products. It offers sales promotions with deals and discounts, advertising, social media and more. 

Burger King is one great example of gamifying marketing communication. According to the CEO of Burger King India, Rajeev Varman, the food chain was the first in the Indian QSR industry to introduce a loyalty programme. 

Product – You can check the Burger King menu on the mobile app or on food delivery services apps. It segregates its products by burgers, desserts, beverages, sides, etc. 

Place – Another important factor to note here is its product range that varies across countries. It gives its franchises control over the menu. 

For instance, after opening up in India, it introduced six varieties of sandwiches and snacks that were vegetarian. 

After FY21, it introduced a new range of 4 Whopper burgers that catered specifically to the Indian tastebuds.  

Digital Marketing Channels of Burger King

Social media is the biggest ally of Burger King in the digital space. At the same time, it also generates traffic from paid ads and SEO. 

Burger King uses a variety of tactics on social media to gain brand awareness and audience engagement. On Instagram and Twitter, the US-based Burger King handles have over 1.9 million followers.

It prioritises quality of content over quantity, which is generally the case with its rivals and many other brands. 

On Twitter, you will find mostly replies and according to Falcon.io they comprise 97% of the posts. Burger King maintains a healthy reply rate of responding to customers and followers within a day. 

Competing with Rivals – Burger King competes with its rivals on Twitter. For instance, Wendy’s promoted a post offering 4 for $4. Burger King offered a better deal and it referenced its rival. 

Twitter response to Wendy's from Burger King

As you can see, this is an example of social listening to stay ahead of competitors. 

Collaborations – Coming to the fast-food chain’s Instagram posts, it references pop culture to engage fans. To promote the third season of Stranger Things, it collaborated with Netflix. It came up with the idea of serving an upside-down burger in a custom-themed Stranger Things box. 

Burger King promotes Stranger Things
  • SEO Strategy 

The main Burger King website, bk.com, has organic search traffic of 7.8 million and paid search traffic of 394.5k (SEMrush). 

A quick analysis of organic research on SEMrush shows it is ranking for 3.9k keywords in the month of February 2022. 

SEMrush analysis of paid and organic traffic of Burger King official site

The site uses a mix of high and low volume keywords for gaining organic traffic. ‘Burger’ is a top-ranking keyword on Google with a monthly search volume of 201,000. The main website continues to rank on the top of Google SERP when you type the keyword ‘burger’. 

One famous example of this strategy is the ‘Whopper Detour’ campaign in 2018 that applied geofencing. 

Geofencing allows marketers to advertise to smartphone users within a specific radius. It is a mix of different technologies GPS, radio-frequency identification (RFID), Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, etc. 

During that time, Burger King had revised its mobile app design and promoted the feature of order-ahead. 

All the mobile app users had to do was go near (600m) select McDonald’s locations. Once they get near, they would receive a notification offering a Whopper burger for one cent. According to Marketing Dive, this campaign generated 1.5 million downloads of the app.  

Parting Thoughts

Burger King takes risks with its marketing campaigns. But it is successful by combining social listening, technology and standard SEO practices. 

FAQs

How does Burger King use social media differently from its competitors in its marketing strategy?

Burger King stands out on social media by prioritising quality content over quantity, a tactic uncommon among many brands, including its rivals. They engage with their audience by maintaining a high response rate on platforms like Twitter, where they actively reply to customers and followers within a day. Additionally, Burger King utilises social listening to stay ahead of competitors, often responding creatively to rival promotions, thereby enhancing brand engagement.

What technological advancements has Burger King embraced to enhance its digital marketing efforts?

Burger King has leveraged geofencing technology in their 'Whopper Detour' campaign, a prime example of their innovative approach. This campaign utilised GPS and other technologies to target smartphone users within close proximity to select McDonald's locations, offering them a Whopper burger for a nominal price via the Burger King mobile app. This strategy significantly boosted app downloads and showcased Burger King's prowess in using technology for marketing.

How does Burger King's approach to mobile marketing, particularly the 'Whopper Detour' campaign, showcase innovation in the fast-food industry?

Burger King's 'Whopper Detour' campaign was a groundbreaking mobile marketing strategy that employed geofencing. By encouraging users to visit nearby McDonald's locations through the Burger King app, they offered a Whopper for just one cent. This innovative use of technology not only boosted app downloads but also created significant buzz, demonstrating Burger King's ingenuity in leveraging mobile platforms for marketing.

In what ways has Burger King adapted its menu offerings and marketing tactics to cater to changing consumer preferences for healthier options and diverse cuisines?

Burger King has responded to shifting consumer preferences by introducing vegetarian options and healthier menu choices. In regions like India, the brand diversified its menu with vegetarian sandwiches and snacks. Moreover, their rebranding in 2020 emphasised eco-friendly packaging and healthier menu items, aligning with the evolving tastes and health-conscious choices of consumers.

What elements of Burger King's rebranding in 2020 reflect its commitment to contemporary factors like eco-friendliness and minimalism, especially in the realm of digital marketing and consumer engagement?

Burger King's rebranding in 2020 encompassed various contemporary aspects, including a renewed focus on eco-friendly packaging, healthier menu options, and minimalist aesthetics. The brand ensured that these elements were communicated across all digital touchpoints, aligning with the modern consumer's values and preferences. This approach showcased Burger King's commitment to adapting to current trends while maintaining relevance in the digital age.

About the Author
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Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio