Restaurant Marketing Software Used by Restaurant Business's Future 50
Since 2009, Restaurant Business has published its Future Fifty, a list of the 50 fastest growing restaurant brands that have potential to take on the big brands. As part of our never-ending mission to understand exactly what makes restaurants grow fast, we wondered whether they were adopting digital marketing technologies, and if so, which ones.
Methodology: Web Tags are the Breadcrumb
The results surprised us, but first let us explain how we collected the data. In general, most digital marketing technologies—Facebook Custom Audiences, DoubleClick by Google, and so on—require something called "tags" to be placed on a restaurant's website. At their most basic level, a tag is a piece of third-party code on a website that enables an action to happen by that third-party.
For example, we can see below that Olive Garden has a DoubleClick by Google Tag on their website, which many restaurants use to collect insights on visitors, track conversions, and manage ads across various channels.
Tags have become so common place that Google has built a "super-tag" called Google Tag Manager. Tag Manager allows marketers to add, remove, or edit tags without a web developer. Basically, think of it as a tag full of other tags. If a website uses Tag Manager, the other tags they use are hidden. For that reason, if a website uses Tag Manager, we cannot be sure of which digital marketing technologies are being used.
Digital Marketing is Growing in Importance
Now, with that base level of knowledge in mind, back to the question at hand: Do Future Fifty restaurants use digital marketing technologies?
Yes, the Future Fifty winners from 2016 use digital marketing tools more than ever before
What conclusions should restaurant marketers draw from this analysis? While we can't say that digital marketing technologies are the main factor propelling the growth of today's restaurant brands, it's clear that growing quickly means something different today. In July 2008, Apple launched the App Store. In 2009, Facebook first released the "like" button. Instagram wasn't created until mid 2010. A lot has changed.
It may seem like staying current on the latest digital marketing tools and techniques is a full time job, but we're here to help: which technologies are most commonly used by restaurants, and which are the fastest growing?
Finding the Winners
Which digital marketing technologies are used by the Future Fifty and what are the trends?
Overall, Google is dominant in the restaurant industry, occupying 5 of the top 9 spots by market share. Google does an excellent job offering free products with paid ad ons. For paid services, such as AdWords, Google often offers $100 off your advertising bill if you try it out.
Other key findings:
 Wordpress hugely popular and growing quickly
 Video becoming increasing important
 Ad platforms consolidating around Google & Facebook where Customer Acquisition Costs can be closely measured and optimized: More use of DoubleClick, AdWords, Facebook Custom Audience.
 Websites becoming more dynamic and engaging via Optimizely, Google Tag Manager, WuFoo, Woo Commerce
Stay tuned for more insights on restaurant tech.
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