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Foursquare campaign brings in 33 percent more traffic to McDonalds

Finding business applications for social media is hard. Tracking campaigns and measuring their effectiveness is often an inexact science. More and more business are using check-in awards, mayorship deals and frequency specials to lure in more customers.

McDonalds has changed all that and announced this week at the Mobile Social Communications conference that the international restaurant chain was able to increase foot traffic to stores by 33 percent in one day with a little Foursquare help, as reported by Econsultancy.

McDonalds offered 100 randomly awarded $5 or $10 gift cards by checking-in at one of its restaurants on Foursquare Day, 16 April.  The results were clear: 33 percent more foot traffic on the day of the campaign, and 600,000 people opted to follow and fan the brand on various social media sites.

The campaign cost a paltry $1,000.

For a company that spends millions of dollars a year on advertising, this goes to show that campaigns of all sizes and budgets can have a meaningful impact.

There’s debate over whether its possible lots of people “checked-in” from McDonalds that day without actually going to a store. But even if that’s the case, McDonalds believes there was a lot of value to the campaign.

Certainly more and more business are looking to drive revenue and awareness through social media. Twitter’s announcement on Tuesday of its revamped interface is especially favorable to advertisers, as the social media site plans to give new visibility for sponsored tweets and trends, as well as content disseminated by marketers.