#onlyintheapp: Taco Bell’s Unique Strategy Drives App Downloads


With 2.5 million apps in the App Store and Google Play store, it can undeniably be hard to acquire mobile app users. That, of course, is why we’re here - but I digress.

Paid advertising is one way to help get your app noticed, and then, there’s what Taco Bell just did. On Tuesday, the fast food chain unveiled a new app that allows customers to order and pay via their iPhones and Androids before getting to the restaurant. And then they took the launch a step further.

Taco Bell surprised customers (and got a lot of attention) when it “blacked out” its social media channels, including Twitter and Facebook, and replaced them with a single post promoting the hashtag #onlyintheapp.

And it worked. On Friday, the app was still holding strong at #1 in the food and drink category, beating out the likes of fellow fast food giants and mobile heavyweights Starbucks, Dunkin Donuts and Dominos.

While this new app is likely to be a huge benefit to the Taco Bell faithful, the company itself will also reap some significant benefits. As we continually preach here at Fiksu, one of the greatest benefits of having a mobile app is the vast amount of data it can provide you. Collectively at Fiksu, we’ve accumulated more than 3.3 billion app downloads and tracked more than 4.7 trillion marketing events. This data is not only insightful, it’s actionable, and it seems that is not news to Taco Bell.

"The treasure trove of information that we'll get about the consumer and their behaviors [and] habits will be awesome," said Chris Bandt, Taco Bell’s CMO in Adweek. "We think we can make it a richer experience for us and the consumer by giving them offers tailored to their behavior."