Uber Eats: Making Every Marketing Dollar Count in New Territories  

Case Study

Over the past 3 years, Uber Eats has positioned itself as a household name across EMEA, dominating the food delivery landscape by being well positioned to deliver our favourite takeaways to pretty much any area. But it may be hard to imagine that, over in APAC, this is far from the case where potential customers weren’t able to take advantage of the morning bagel delivered to work or the 4am McDonalds. But, residents didn’t even know this was an option open to them – as the brand had little to no presence, particularly when focusing on South Korea. 


As a market South Korea is known for its fast internet speeds, quick adoption of new technologies and extremely high smartphone usage – making it one of the most attractive places to set up shop in Asia.

With nuances at a district level within the region, Uber Eats understood the range of market complexities and came to ForwardPMX with the ambition to penetrate and dominate a potential extremely tasty market.

The team understood that this would be no mean feat in the face of fierce competition, who historically have used heavy above the line marketing tactics – contributing to high barriers to entry in the market – alongside the fact that the established competitors already have a huge pool of loyal customers. But with local knowledge that is second to none, strategic consumer planning processes and granular optimisation targeting individual districts, restaurant type and audience type, ForwardPMX helped Uber Eats create new market opportunities through Naver in an already saturated market. 

Goals & Objectives

Segment our audience pool into those who are aware of Uber as a car-sharing service and those who have never heard of the brand to aid targeting strategies at different levels of the sales funnel.

Raise brand awareness of Uber Eats using audience intelligence, starting with customers who live or work in the central business district, Yongsan and Gangnam in Seoul.

Persuade users and non-users of food delivery apps of Uber Eats’ value – superior restaurant quality and efficient food delivery compared to competitors, through a consumer-centric approach to geo-targeted messaging and optimised copy.

Target potential consumers who haven’t converted through the amplification of consistent brand messaging through PPC and Display channels.

Program Execution

After lengthy planning and research, the team decided to take on a completely new and different strategy from Uber Eats’ competitors, who relied on mass-market above-the-line advertising techniques. ForwardPMX decided to deliver rapid growth to the account through highly targeted Search and Display marketing, using highly personalized ads based on in-depth audience intelligence. This allowed us to grow Uber Eats’ customer base one district at a time – ultimately covering all 25 districts.

The team began a top-down audience first marketing strategy, which focused on five main elements:

  1.  Reviewing company goals
  2.  Identifying and segmenting the target audience
  3.  Researching competitors
  4.  Ascertaining the value and benefits of our Uber Eats’ proposition in the market
  5.  Media planning and execution which included testing/optimizing each campaign by district

This ensured we made every marketing dollar count to strive for maximum returns.

The consumer targeting strategy focused beyond broad demographics and mass media exposure, we approached the project much smarter putting consumers at the heart of the planning process. The team viewed Seoul as highly differentiated districts, each with different consumer personas. Weaved in with our trends research, we decided to target audiences with restaurants and offers they would be most interested in.

With the team’s knowledge of local media and strong relationship with platforms, we prioritized the most widely used local platform in the region, Naver, based on the premise that local search engines dominate the search engine landscape in Korea with 75% of market share.

We started with Gangnam and Itaewon in Seoul and began with in-depth research on customers in the area. We defined core audience characteristics important to Uber Eats including: working times, lifestyle, and key trends within the segment. These all played a part in our highly targeted content and geographical search strategies.

The team were able to use geo-targeting in a systematic strategy to deliver different content to consumers based on their geographic locations. This coupled with targeting higher tier restaurants, allowed for a network effect to take hold and produce astounding results early on.

Even when starting with a small budget, we were able to prove performance and efficiency at a granular level – making every dollar work for the client. After we proved our strategy was effective using a smart approach to audience planning and optimisation, we covered more than 70% of Seoul city and reached our own segment of consumers – different from competitors.

Activity 1 – Media planning

Based on a thorough understanding of the local media and our potential audience, we helped position Uber Eats as a premium food delivery service who offered delivery from higher tier restaurants compared to competitors. With this in mind, we decided to win over customers through the use of geo-targeted campaigns using a combination of PPC and display ads on Naver. We tested and optimised copy, which emphasised the unique selling points of the service. 

 

Activity 2 – Maximise reach based on geo-targeting

The team began targeting specific locations attractive to Uber Eats, specifically in ‘Gu – administrative districts at the city level. We allocated 90% of the campaign budget for geo-targeting campaigns – which our data proved achieved 3-4 times higher conversion than at a widespread city level.

Activity 3 – Optimising to target the right customers

By conducting extensive data analysis into our customers, we were able to identify the key days of the week and hours of the day that were popular for food delivery. We were then able to perform keyword optimisation for the best day and time and increase the relevancy of ads. We simultaneously optimised our ad copy to drive app downloads by targeting customers based on our local area research while emphasising Uber Eats’ unique benefits with copy and creative. With our ‘district by district’ strategy, we were able to leverage learnings from each region and use them to optimise our tactics in a test and learn approach.

Results

488%

Increase in Search Volume for Brand Terms

600%

Increase in App Downloads Compared to Another In-house Channel 

963%

Increase in First Trips Compared to Another In-house Channel 

99.7%

Decrease in CPI From 710,000KRW to 2,500KRW

0.81%

CTR

1,230%

Growth in Conversions from Organic Visitors

15,025%

Increase in Conversions from Paid Ads

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