The food app strategy guaranteed to deliver you a Super Bowl 🏈 win!

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, we’ve selected top insights and best practices to score growth on this special event.

Melisa Rocío Fernández

January 17, 2020

With the Super Bowl just around the corner, we’ve selected top insights and best practices every food app advertiser needs to further drive revenue and score growth on this special event.

Super Bowl: THE winning opportunity for food orders 🏆

Of all the live events in the US, Super Bowl is the king 👑, especially for food delivery apps. In 2019, food orders went up 41% on Super Bowl Sunday, representing an increase of 53% when compared to the previous year¹. But Super Bowl fans were not only buying more… they were also spending more💰: $104.46 per order vs $94.45 spent on an average weekend¹, and this value is expected to grow even more this year.

With the ability to order both in advance or on-the-go, accessing an increasing variety of restaurants and dishes, more and more users are relying on their food apps for this date. Last year, while some advertisers opted to encourage pre-orders days or even hours before the start of the event, players like Postmates made boosted orders through strategic partnerships offering special discounts.

Online food orders placed on the Super Bowl Sunday itself climbed at 2 p.m. and reached a peak at Kick-off (3 p.m. Pacific Time), but remained relevantly high until approximately 5 p.m.¹

Last year, a handful of the most relevant players sought the business of over 38M food delivery app users. UberEats managed to get 27.3% of total orders, followed by GrubHub and Seamless at 17% each, and Doordash accounting for a further 13.8%¹.

Why a strong game plan is important

Without retargeting strategies, food delivery apps tend to have really low retention rates even in the first days after install 💔. When comparing food apps with the average retention rates of the other app verticals, we can see:

  • 16% by day 1 (vs 31%)
  • 11% by day 7 (vs 21%)
  • 6% by day 30 (vs 14%)²

Nevertheless, food delivery apps show healthy growth rates, with food app users in the US expected to reach almost 60M³. Easy come, easy go… why does this vertical show such low retention rates? 🤔

Short answer: aggressive competition.

As a GrubHub’s shareholder letter put it last year: “Our newer diners are increasingly coming to us already having ordered on a competing online platform, and our existing diners are increasingly ordering from multiple platforms.” Users might have some preferences, but there’s no primordial go-to food app. Recent data from Second Measure shows Super Bowl’s top food app players actually share customers with their competitors.

What should a Super Bowl-focused strategy look like?

Joining the food delivery game is not just about the Super Bowl Sunday. Relying on just half-time orders won’t win the game — especially in such a competitive landscape. Here are the top plays every app marketer should consider before going “hut hut” on their big game strategy:

#1 Start 7 days in advance

The game is on Sunday, but like any good party, the planning begins well in advance of the event. A smart day-by-day strategy can help your brand stand out from your competitors.

#2 Consider free shipping

Most companies offer free shipping or discounts, and there’s a way to be smart about it too!

Using Geolocated Ads, you can create ad sets offering free shipping for the brands that are close to the user, efficiently matching supply and demand and providing the coveted benefit of free shipping without it being overly costly.

#3 Your 15 minutes of fame, 6 seconds at a time

Get your brand in front of as many users as possible by creating themed ads for both display and video. Yes, video too. Video competes in nearly 95% of all interstitial inventory on programmatic exchanges. This means that advertisers who are not yet running video ads remain in a disadvantageous position when they bid for a display ad (with display prices) while competing with others who bid for video (with higher video prices).

Video ads can be daunting for some creative teams, especially on a time crunch. Enter 6-second ads. This format is not only easier to create, it’s also highly effective: dynamic enough to be engaging, short enough to be non-intrusive. Producing video ads does not have to be expensive or time-consuming. Jampp’s Video Ads Builder enables advertisers to automatically turn their existing images, product data, and text assets into sleek mobile-optimized videos.

#4 Get on the offensive

While eCPM does spike during the actual date, it’s worth the investment. Go after those users, whether you are focusing on User Acquisition or App Retargeting (or expertly implementing a full-cycle strategy) this is the moment to go big or go home. Just between 2018–2019, food delivery for the Super Bowl grew 53%¹, and 6 out of 10 digital food orders are currently reported to be made by mobile apps⁴.

It’s clear to see that digital orders will continue to represent a relevant growth source for the food delivery industry in the next years, and advertisers need to make sure to build a robust customer user base to act on.

This is a great time to invest in your acquisition efforts across users who may or may not know your app in advance. Don’t be a Monday morning quarterback and stay ahead of the game with a strong User Acquisition strategy that can help position your brand as a top choice for the big day.

If anything… the eCPM spike suggests your competition is definitely trying to capture that user interest and intent to purchase.

#5 Postgame relevance is key!

Have the next set ready to replace your Super Bowl-themed ads right after the game is over. Exposing users to outdated deals and events is a no-go. You can create a set around the game ending, launch new generic ads or…, if you want to throw a Hail Mary, the week after the Super Bowl is a great time to promote healthy options and help your users get back to those 2020 fitness goals 😂.

A few more insights for your Super Bowl mobile ads…

We were told there’d be chicken wings, but there was a lot more…

Besides the most popular Super Bowl snack option, expectations regarding food consumption matched the excitement for the event 😲.

This data comes from multiple sources, find them at the end of the post.

Pro tip: Make sure your themed ads showcase users’ favorite food types for the event!

Wrapping up

Low retention rates plus a really competitive industry equal the need for smart engagement strategies 🤓. 65% of app marketers across all verticals are investing more in retargeting than in previous years⁵, and the food delivery industry is no exception: in 2019, almost 40% of food & drink apps ran App Retargeting⁶.

Food delivery apps can leverage key dates like the Super Bowl to capture new users and increase conversions with hyper-relevant deals that drive them to place more orders. Showcasing new offers days in advance and on game day is an effective method to attract users when their intent is high, as well as using half-time to activate last-minute purchases and driving users to spend more in the app.

Want to learn more?

For more insights on the most relevant dates and events for your app and how to leverage User Acquisition and App Retargeting to drive incremental revenue, contact us!


[1] Slice Intelligence via Rakuten Intelligence, 2019.

[2] “Global App Trends 2019,” Adjust.

[3] eMarketer, 2019.

[4] NPD Group, 2019.

[5] “Ready for the Retargeting Opportunity?,” Appsflyer, 2019.

[6] Appsflyer, 2019.

Food Consumption sources

[1] National Chicken Council

[2] Dairy Farmers of Wisconsin

[3] The Packer

[4] Domino’s

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