McDonald’s Trounces Rivals In Battle For Facebook Audience But The Key Difference Is In Engagement

— August 4, 2017

We have seen many times in the past a wonderfully savvy set of social media accounts in the fast food industry. Even those restaurants that still sell, essentially, fast food, have the same look and feel as the McDonald’s and the Burger Kings of the world. There must be something in it. It’s a market that always presents surprises and social media innovation.

We wanted to analyse this market using our new Market Audit feature. It allows you to do a professional grade editable social media report in two minutes. You just select your primary brand, its competitors and that’s it. You get a finished report with comprehensive insights including both qualitative and quantitative metrics.

McDonald’s Trounces Rivals In Battle For Facebook Audience But The Key Difference Is In Engagement

The fast food restaurant market on Facebook

Let’s take a look at some of the big players and see how they match up to the biggest player we can think of in this market, McDonald’s. All of the below information is based on the Facebook pages of each brand in this landscape.

Facebook is the one true constant as regards to the amount of work each brand has done. They all like Facebook and are active on the platform. You can take a look at the automatic Market Audit report here, and keep reading for our take on the performance.

A couple of things need to be remembered. Firstly, McDonald’s is operating in a huge market, and secondly, it has the lion’s share of that market.

We see ‘the market’ as consisting of the top 5 or so brands that compete with what McDonald’s does. We looked at five competitor brands in total, and they were:

– Nandos
– Subway
– Burger King
– Starbucks

All 5 of these can be seen as direct or indirect competitors. Starbucks sells food too, and Burger King has always been in the firing line of McDonald’s.

McDonald’s and where it’s at

For many brands (when it comes to who they look up to), there are only a few that have truly set the pace in the last few decades for marketing of any kind, including advertising on TV.

McDonald’s may be an old warhorse as regards marketing (there’s pretty much nothing it hasn’t tried) but it can quite safely lay claim to being perhaps the biggest social media restaurant and fast food brand. It continues to innovate year on year (or simply maintain its position), and continues to grow huge follower numbers.

The brand has nearly twenty thousand international restaurants, so its physical reach is phenomenal. Online, the figures are equally as impressive. For June of 2017, one of the key features of McDonald’s online presence really came to the fore.

When you combine the shared market of all six brands here (including McDonald’s), you are looking at a market of 112,866,074 Facebook page likes. To put all of that in perspective, McDonald’s has a market share of 72,328,085 within that six brand space (or 64% of the total audience).

McDonald’s Trounces Rivals In Battle For Facebook Audience But The Key Difference Is In Engagement

In June, McDonald’s did well in terms of audience growth. The growth of McDonald’s audience in that month alone was 250% higher than the previous month at 0.33% of the total audience. The brand grew 33% faster than the average brand in this landscape.

Public feeling towards McDonald’s trounces its nearest direct rival

But does the audience like what McDonald’s is doing? Well, the sentiment score was 90. And BK is largely being left in the dust.

McDonald’s Trounces Rivals In Battle For Facebook Audience But The Key Difference Is In Engagement

Online, our “Market Audit” shows that sentiment, as expressed by the audience, is significantly lower for Burger King (Sentiment Score of 42) than it is with McDonald’s (Sentiment Score of 90). This shows that the general public feeling towards McDonald’s trounces its nearest direct rival. But people just like Starbucks and KFC a little bit more.

In fact, with all the other parameters that we considered in our research, we found that BK simply wasn’t featuring.

The key difference is engagment

McDonald’s may have the biggest share of the audience, and it may also have the fastest growing chunk of the market, but what it doesn’t have compared to the top bands in our audit is engagment. It simply is not competing at the same level as other brands. And we think this may be a sign that McDonald’s is just very, very big.

There were some rather more alarming figures. For example, while growth may have been great on Facebook for the brand, the engagement simply wasn’t. The engagement McDonald’s FB page pulled off was down by 41% compared to the previous month.

In addition to that bad news, it also looked bad for comments, a huge part of engagement and vital to any brand. The comments were down 40%. This led us to an early conclusion. Perhaps McDonald’s has such a huge international profile but it doesn’t focus on engagement. The audience keeps growing on Facebook, after all.

Best posts from Starbucks and KFC

Starbucks has always been known for being a friendly brand that wants to help its customers and make the experience as personal as possible. And they do a great job at it. Starbucks’ most liked post received nearly 350% more Likes than the average McDonald’s post did.

KFC’s best post, for example, gained 382% more shares and 1220% more comments than the average McDonald’s post in this time period. This post traded in on celebrity (it involved Lethal Bizzle) and was short, quick and to the point.

McDonald’s Trounces Rivals In Battle For Facebook Audience But The Key Difference Is In Engagement

The dilemma for McDonald’s

We know McDonald’s isn’t going to have a profit warning any time soon, but with the biggest share of the market containing these six other brands, it falls behind in engagement.

This is an average, and needs to be treated as such, because every now and then McDonald’s pulls something out of the bag.

Of the 22 new posts McDonald’s published on Facebook in June 2017, 64% were video posts. And these posts gained a bit more engagement than photos or link posts. It wasn’t a lot, but it does show that video is where the audience is happiest.

This is the brand’s most liked, commented and shared post in June. A summer-related (timely) video. It’s clever, fun video work, just like the stuff that KFC and Starbucks do.

We think that the brand should focus predominantly on video (with no engagement on links and photos, there’s no point) and post less frequently in order to focus on coming up with more engaging content.

The Outcome

After this quick Market Audit of the work of top fast food restaurants (basically McDonalds’ competition) we can safely say that the big brand has to start talking to its millions of customers on Facebook.

It keeps growing in followers because it is so darn huge. But it could have much more of a strong footing on Facebook if it focused on engaging content. When KFC is ruling engagement, McDonald’s (which is bigger) needs to take notice.

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Author: Sahail Ashraf

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