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Papa John’s aims for mobile-ordering leadership with BOGO promotion

Papa John’s is starting 2015 strong with a buy one, get one free promotion for large pizzas accessible through the brand’s mobile ordering application, reflecting how marketers are increasingly viewing apps on a cost per engagement basis.

Consumers that select any large pizza at regular menu price will be able to receive a second large one-topping pizza for free, through Jan. 28. The pizza chain is hoping to capitalize on National Football League playoff games this month and drive sales with fans hosting parties or get-togethers.

“Until recently, the mobile app industry has been all about the download,” said Djamel Agaoua, CEO of MobPartner, San Francisco. “Companies are beginning to realize the importance of monetizing their investment in these apps by focusing on keeping app users coming back, and getting these users to take specific actions that generate revenues.

“That means an industry shift from viewing the app experience on a cost per install basis to cost per engagement basis. However, doing so takes some smart data analysis and compelling offers.”

Ramping up mobile ordering
Major food and beverage brands must leverage mobile ordering apps to stay relevant in 2015, and Papa John’s is leading the pack with the January promotion. Restaurants including Taco Bell and Starbucks began introducing their mobile ordering capabilities in late 2014, with a wider rollout expected to come in the next few months.

The promotion is an optimal way to prompt football fans to order pizzas from Papa John’s when hosting viewing parties or attending tailgates. Interested customers can place orders via the mobile ordering app for Android and iPhone devices, or online at

Mobile ordering apps are imperative for brands seeking to retain customers, maintain user engagement and ultimately drive revenue. Enticing in-app offers linked to easy ordering and a streamlined checkout will likely aid in attracting new customers as well.

Papa John’s leading with mobile ordering after it recently reached a new milestone: its mobile and digital channels accounting for more than 50 percent of sales in the United States (see story). The company claims to be the premiere brand in its industry to surpass this mobile milestone, which is augmented by its integration with Google Wallet Instant Buy.

By taking advantage of special events such as NFL games, Papa John’s is poised to lead the pack of food chains leveraging mobile ordering apps.

Native experience
Mobile ordering apps that focus on a native experience will have an easier time gaining fans, as will creative apps that allow for customization and personalization. The Taco Bell ordering app enables users to customize their order just as they would at the cash register in a bricks-and-mortar restaurant, down to the guacamole.

Other restaurant chains, including Subway, Domino’s and Chipotle are also offering customers the ability to order items before arriving at the premises.

Food delivery service GrubHub published a research study in October that displayed how these food and beverage brands can further enhance mobile ordering offerings by engaging in more targeted marketing tactics, based on male and female segmentation (see story).

“Apps will continue to go native; get creative,” Mr. Agaoua said. “There’s more to apps than just offering a discount.

“Increasingly, companies are looking at incorporating native features right into the app that imbue the experience with an irresistible sense of fun that will keep users coming back.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York