QSR Local Ad Spending To Reach $4B In 2019

According to a new BIA vertical report, local advertising for quick serve restaurants is expected to hit $4 billion this year, with high use of direct mail and the embrace of mobile targeting.

The Quick Serve Restaurant (QSR) category, including well-known national brands and less-known regional and local favorites, will come close to spending $4 billion in local advertising this year, as reported in BIA Advisory Services’ latest vertical industry report, Insights into Local Advertising – QSRs. The report forecasts that digital advertising will rise from 36% in 2019 to 44% by 2023, although the entire category will dip slightly over the next few years, before exceeding its 2019 level.

Although the lion’s-share of the spending will go to direct mail, at nearly 30%, the industry has also been faster to adopt mobile advertising than most, and will spend slightly over $500 million, or 12.8%. The Insights into Local Advertising report also notes that the per capita ad spending in the QSR vertical varies significantly from market to market, even in the 10 largest markets.

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“Local advertising plays a critical role in the QSR category even for national brands,” said Rick Ducey, BIA’s managing director and report author. “As one marketing director noted to us, ‘if you don’t have a relationship with your community, you won’t have a business for long; (local advertising) is an investment, not a cost.’”

Ducey also noted that media sellers can offer valued insights, information, and grounded recommendations for appropriate campaign strategies as the QSR marketing mix gets more dynamically driven by data, technology, competition and industry specific factors.

To examine the media consumption of QSR customers, the report offers a local case study from MRI-Simmons.

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Looking at SimmonsLOCAL data for adults 18+ (DC A18+) in the Washington, D.C. market, the case study identified the most heavily used media (i.e., top two volume users groups) profile where ads are consumed:


  • Internet and TV, each used by 40%
  • Radio (38%)
  • Magazines (35%)
  • Newspaper (29%)

“In this report, combining BIA’s forecast and takeaways from a leading U.S. market, we recommend five major factors for local media sellers to consider when working with local QSR outlets,” said Ducey. “Our strategic advice is based on where the technology is going and the trends we’ve observed.”

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