• Taco Bell, the Mexican fast-food chain with 7,000 restaurants in the U.S., drove more than 170,000 store visits with a two-week mobile campaign that raised money for a college scholarship program. GroundTruth, a location-based mobile ad platform formerly known as xAd, ran the “Location for Good” campaign to urge consumers to visit a nearby Taco Bell, a statement said.
  • Customers who participate in Taco Bell’s loyalty program showed the highest engagement with about one out of four members visiting a Taco Bell after receiving a personalized mobile ad from GroundTruth. Male 18- to 24-year-olds were the most receptive audience to the campaign message for Taco Bell’s broader “Feed a Dream” campaign.
  • The restaurant chain donated $500,000 to the Live Mas Scholarship with proceeds from sales of the Doritos Locos Taco. The scholarship is intended for students whose interests may not fit into conventional academic or athletic categories, according to the Taco Bell Foundation.


Taco Bell’s fundraising campaign shows the power of smartphone media in targeting consumers by using geolocation data that also help to monitor how audiences respond to a mobile ad. GroundTruth, which leverages mobile location to signal intent, is able to track physical location with more than 90% accuracy, according to an independent survey. Working with the platform, Taco Bell was able to target consumers nearby its location and then gauge how its audience behaved after receiving the messages.

The location-based ads, which fell under Taco Bell’s wider “Feed a Dream” campaign, encouraged recipients to visit a nearby Taco Bell to purchase a Doritos Locos Taco and a portion of all sales would be donated to the Live Más Scholarship.

Taco Bell this year has tried several ways to harness the power of mobile media to drive store traffic. The chain in July partnered with ride-hailing company Lyft to test a “Taco Mode” setting in Lyft’s mobile app that let passengers request a stop at a restaurant drive-through. The chain reported an 8% increase in late-night customer visits on weekends following the effort.

Location data can help to target an audience, but many marketers said they don’t have a good understanding of how to best leverage it, eMarketer said in July, citing data from researcher Forrester. One-third of digital marketers in North America said understanding how to use location to deliver relevant mobile ads was a significant challenge. More than a quarter of respondents cited lack of transparency in location data collection as a concern. Meanwhile, a tiny 6% of digital marketers faced no significant challenges in using location data to inform mobile advertising, the survey said.

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