Why cutting out discount coupons saved foodpanda a 'small fortune'

With so many food delivery mobile apps from Deliveroo, UberEATS, to even honestbee which recently jumped on, it is unsurprising to companies using discount coupons as a method to user acquisition.

But this method was loss making for delivery brand foodpanda, which was one of the first players which entered the food delivery app scene locally.

Laura Kantor, head of marketing at foodpanda, who spoke recently at Marketing’s Digital Performance Marketing 2017 said, “One of the first things we did, when I first joined foodpanda, was to cut our voucher spend because we were spending a small fortune on a monthly basis just constantly giving them out." Moreover it did not encourage real brand loyalty, she added.

The shift then moved more towards the experience and providing something different from its competitors. Customer experience, while not technically a "marketing" responsibility is still a huge priority for the marketing team, Kantor said.

“If we get customer service right, customers will be incentivised to return to us. It's really about the customer experience as a whole and also keeping things fresh with exciting restaurant options and engaging content,” Kantor added.

On top of ensuring the customer and user experience is up to par, foodpanda is also active in producing engaging content in its marketing campaigns. One recent example was its “FE5TIVAL” campaign, which saw the company partnering up with locally-known comedy YouTube channel Wah! Banana and meme page SGAG.

On top of celebrating its fifth birthday, foodpanda’s campaign objectives were to build affinity with a highly local, 18 to 25 year old audience and reinforce its position as a local food delivery company. This was through the creation of content via third party influencers, who were then asked to distribute the content through their platforms, and foodpanda amplified the spot via its own. According to the company, the video garnered over 1 million views on YouTube, 8.1k engagements and was also a top trending video at one point. Meanwhile, the SGAG campaign garnered 2.1 million organic views and 77k engagements.


Watch the hilarious spot below:



Another campaign the company ran was its “Hijack” campaign which saw foodpanda taking over the streets, offices and even Uber and Grab cars in Singapore. This was over a span of three weeks. The company also worked with key opinion leaders (KOLs) to conduct the “hijacks” and also amplified this through a content series starring local DJ and YouTube personality Dee Kosh. The campaign garnered 41.6k organic views, 13k engagements and was trending #24 on YouTube.

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As part of April Fool’s Day, the company also launched its “Pandanctuary” campaign. This touted a wellness retreat aimed to provide stressed out Singaporeans the chance to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city – by living like a panda for the weekend. Eventually the initiative was revealed to be a prank.

To safe guard against those who might have been unhappy about the prank, Kantor explained that the company explained quickly to those who signed up and added little surprises to their experience by providing two lucky applicants two-night stay at the M Hotel, the rest received a 20% off discount voucher.

Longer or shorter videos, which is more effective?

When asked about the effectiveness of longer videos versus shorter videos, Kantor said that it depended on the situation. While many may hold the view that six-second ads are better, Kantor disputed that, saying:

I don’t know what you can really say to someone in six seconds.

“Of course, with a short form video less than six seconds long, you are improving your chances of a viewer watching the whole thing. But we have been experimenting with longer form videos – some more than five minutes in length – and have noticed some really positive results in terms of engagement.”

“I think it boils down to the message the brand is trying to put across. A short snappy call to order does not need to be five minutes long but an interview with an influencer could be. While a six-second video is more likely to be viewed, it may not necessarily resonate with users,” Kantor said.

When asked about getting management on board, Kantor explained that for the case of foodpanda, it tries to view its campaign objectives to be more holistic and brand-focused as opposed to performance marketing. The company also has significant performance marketing budget which is heavily reliant on search campaigns, display, banners and campaigns it runs on Facebook.

“When we run these video content campaigns they are not going to perform the same way as a banner will so it is about setting the expectations with our HQ and educating our management team that this is not going to have the same cost per install as it would have with a banner,” Kantor explained.

For the three case study campaigns shared, Kantor revealed that getting management on board was about being clear on the objectives and the expected results. This can range from the CPM, expected reach, views and impact on the brand.

“Once we finish the campaign, we immediately do an end-of-campaign report within a week to determine what results we got for the amount we spent,” Kantor explained, adding that being an internet company, foodpanda is very ROI-driven.

Hence some ROIs which her marketing team faces include the engagements for online and offline campaigns, which centres on customer acquisition. For PR and influencers, the company also has high metrics in terms of hitting a certain amount of clippings and reach.