Arby’s most successful social media campaign was launched last year, timed to the anniversary of its founding—July 23, 1964.
“We leveraged Facebook’s new timeline functionality, posting a coupon hidden in 1964,” explains Josh Martin, Arby’s manager of social media. “The offer was for Arby’s classic Roast Beef sandwich, which we were selling July 23 for 64 cents. In order to get the coupon, you had to scroll back in time. We were using the Facebook timeline promotion as a way to celebrate our history.”
A teaser post was published on Facebook, letting fans know that something was hidden in the timeline. Arby’s also used Twitter and Instagram to announce the coupon hidden on Facebook. Instagram’s post, with a photo: “Celebrate our 1964 founding by heading back to the past. On July 23rd, get an Arby’s Roast Beef Classic Sandwich for just $0.64. Visit our Facebook Timeline to get your coupon & explore 1964.”
Arby’s measured the success of the campaign based on the engagement metrics: the number of likes, clicks, shares, comments, coupon printouts. “We saw a lot of chatter about it,” says Martin. The chain would not release numbers.
Also, the number of redemptions were tracked, something Arby’s social media team does for all its offers. “Based on ROI, this was the most popular digital social campaign to date,” says Martin. “ It had a lot to do with the offer—it was a great offer. But our guests had to go to Facebook, scroll through the timeline, find the coupon and print it out. “
Typically, Arby’s special promotions are ‘gated;’ to get the coupon, you have to ‘like’ the brand. This time there weren’t any restrictions.
“One of our goals with this promotion was to increase engagement, so everyone had access to the timeline, whether you ‘liked’ us or not,” says Martin. “It was something unique, everyone had access to this great deal.
Typically, when you put in an extra step, it is a barrier to entry. Fans have to ‘like’ the page and give out their information.”
Adds Martin, “We wanted everyone to know that we’ve been around 40 years—check out our history, try one of our classic Roast Beef sandwiches. It’s all a part of using social media to increase business and the sharing aspect with our fans.”