Wendy’s ran Collaborative Ads on Instagram and Facebook to boost delivery order sales in partnership with the food delivery company Grubhub, and saw a 1.9X increase on return on ad spend.

Quick-service restaurant chain

Dave Thomas opened his first Wendy’s restaurant in 1969. Wendy's is known for its square-sized, fresh-beef hamburger patties, salads and signature items like chili, baked potatoes and the Frosty dessert. Today, Wendy's and its franchisees employ hundreds of thousands of people across approximately 7,000 restaurants worldwide.


increase on return on ad spend1

Collaborative Ads have helped us unlock the ability to directly optimize and measure conversions from our delivery consumers. As we continue to grow our presence in the digital space, opportunities like Collaborative Ads are where we are looking to activate, as they allow us to strengthen our partnerships with our delivery providers, as well as our consumers.
Tracking ad performance

Wendy’s wanted a way to track how its Instagram and Facebook ads were affecting the performance of delivery orders on Grubhub.

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Testing Collaborative Ads

When Wendy’s had run ad campaigns on Instagram in the past to promote meal delivery services with partners, the team had no way to track campaign performance. To overcome this challenge, Wendy’s decided to test Collaborative Ads.

Collaborative Ads allow restaurant brands to drive traffic to their delivery partner’s website or app, and then measure the impact of the campaign on conversions. In this case, Wendy’s partnered with Grubhub, a restaurant delivery company that delivers food orders directly to customers’ doors.

Running Collaborative Ads with call-to-action buttons that link directly to Grubhub enabled Wendy’s to track food orders and deliveries. It also enabled the team to see the number of purchases, cost per purchase and return on ad spend—all of which provided clearer insights on the campaign’s actual performance. Spark Foundry, Wendy’s media agency of record, managed the campaign, and creative agency VMLY&R built the Collaborative Ad video creative that highlighted Wendy's and Grubhub partnership.

The Collaborative Ad used the carousel format with three swipeable cards: The first card showed Wendy’s Dave’s Single Cheeseburgers and chicken nuggets along with the messaging: “Food is on the way! Last stop, your house! Get your favs delivered with Grubhub.” The next two cards showed Wendy’s French Fries and Frostys, and the messaging: “First delivery free.” All carousel cards included an Order now button that linked to Grubhub’s app or website.

Wendy’s showed the ads to US adults aged 18–49—including to people with an interest in fast food restaurants and food delivery companies—and re-engaged with people who ordered food from Wendy’s on Grubhub in the past 90 days by showing them ads as well. The team delivered the ads in Feed and Stories on Instagram and Facebook. The success of this Collaborative Ad campaign enabled Wendy's to lean further into delivery, which is a key part of the business.

Wendy’s determined the result of the May 10–17, 2022 Collaborative Ads campaign using reporting data from Meta Ads Manager, which revealed:

  • 1.9X increase on return on ad spend

Result was reported by the client and does not guarantee that other advertisers will see the same type of result

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