Hold your horses, Foursquare marketers. McDonald's nationwide Foursquare test campaign on April 16 generated 2,865 total check-ins, Rick Wion, social media director for the quick-serve brand, has told ClickZ.
In an e-mail relayed by a Foursquare spokesperson, Wion shed some light on one of the more circulated industry stories of last week where he was originally quoted as saying the pilot lifted foot traffic by a whopping 33 percent. He later clarified that there was a 33 percent lift in check-ins, not overall foot traffic.
Wion then further elaborated on the raw numbers during an e-mail exchange on Friday. "In the days leading up to the campaign, we were averaging roughly 1,800 check-ins per day," he said. "The day of the event, they spiked up to 2,865."
That's a one-day check-ins lift of around 60 percent. And according to Hoovers.com, McDonald's has around 14,000 U.S. locations. Hypothetically, if each check-in was recorded at a different McDonald’s location, then 20 percent of the chain's stores received one customer via Foursquare that day. However, it’s more likely that multiple check-ins occurred at singular urban locations - which means a much smaller percentage of the McDonald’s nationwide received part of the action.
Of course, those facts are sobering compared to a 33 percent jump in foot traffic nationwide.
McDonald's pilot, part of Foursquare's self-promotional "Foursquare Day" last spring, randomly rewarded check-ins on the geo-social platform with $5 or $10 gift cards. The Oak Brook, IL-based brand hasn't disclosed how many gift cards were distributed in the pilot.
But it seems like McDonald's may have achieved a good return on investment for an initiative that cost $1,000. If the check-ins actually purchased meals that day, the fast-food giant's loss-leader for their business was 35 cents per customer.
And Wion appears ready to do more with Foursquare.
"This was a pilot program that was executed as a first foray into this new social space," he said. "We have not done another Foursquare program since then, but we are looking at several different possibilities for future executions."
Update: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that .2 percent of McDonald's stores recorded a check-in.
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Christopher Heine was a senior writer for ClickZ through June 2012. He covered social media, sports/entertainment marketing, retail, and more. Heine's work has also appeared via Mashable, Brandweek, DM News, MarketingSherpa, and other tech- and ad-centric publications. USA Today, Bloomberg Radio, and The Los Angeles Times have cited him as an expert journalist.
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