Over the last year, Papa John's has been ramping up its digital marketing efforts in a bid to engage with customers on a local level.

Digital marketing manager at Papa John's, David Carey, joined the company a year ago after previously setting up his own digital agency with his brother. Since then, Papa John's has invested in a responsive website to replace its separate mobile-only site which experienced a low conversion rate. Once the responsive website was up and running, mobile traffic to the site almost doubled to over 50%.

Having the stability of a strong mobile platform allowed the marketing team to push traffic in a mobile-orientated direction. "We had no confidence to do that in the past," he tells Essential eCommerce. "And being on more channels certainly makes a difference. Before we were Pay Per Click (PPC) led, and now Facebook and Twitter advertising opens up a more mobile market."

Local delivery  

Papa John's has nearly 300 stores nationwide and Carey explains it is important for the pizza delivery company to engage with potential customers on a local level to encourage them to order from a takeaway within their delivery radius.

"Pizza delivery is a small radius of people you can target – three miles around each store," he explains. "So being able to target people locally is incredibly important because you're wasting money if you're only doing nation-wide campaigns."

Papa John's uses localised digital display advertising to complement its national TV campaigns which it first launched this year. The mobile display ads also drive awareness of local stores.

"National TV isn't regional specific and it can't tell customers about their local store," he says. "But using display advertising we can tell them where we are based in their location, and furthermore with Facebook we can be very localised with our targeting."

Working with Rakuten Marketing, Papa John's has been driving digital sales through location targeting. Using its first Yorkshire store in York as a trial, the pizza company used a mix of prospecting and search retargeting for potential customers who are likely to have an interest in pizza.

Using Rakuten Marketing’s targeting technology, Papa John's is able to pinpoint their core audience within the delivery catchment area, on relevant websites, such as specific sports sites around the time of a match.

"We have been doing a number of localised campaigns and it's all part of our thinking going forward when we open a new store," he explains.  "It led to a strong click-through rate and excellent ROI on display."

Online ordering

Carey says it is part of the Papa John's business strategy to get more people to order online, rather than ringing up a local store.

"It's better for the customer because they haven't got to go searching for a leaflet, and it's better for the store because we don't want staff to come off their duties to answer the phone."

Carey also says he is constantly looking at ways display advertising can be improved by being more interactive.

"The first thing customers do when they come to our website is enter their postcode, if we could eliminate that, or provide a postcode field within the ad to take you straight to the relevant landing page, that removes a step from the process," he muses.

Carey explains that this is another way the adverts can be more relevant and useful for customers. But thanks to the proliferation of irrelevant advertising by some companies, many people are installing ad blockers to their mobile devices to remove display advertising.

"That's what keeps me up at night," he says. "The use of ad blockers is only going up and that's another reason we're working with Rakuten Marketing because they provide post-engagement metrics, which other providers don't offer.

"But If more companies could ensure their ads were relevant, less people would need to block them," he says. "And it's a lot of these viral news sites which are littered with ads, and that's not helping with people wanting to use ad blockers because it's a bad user experience."