There are few things more American than the World Series and this year was no exception. One of the most exhilarating series on record. With both California and Texas representing, any promotions about tacos should have hit it out of the park. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case this year for Taco Bell.

We decided to take a look at Taco Bell’s “Steal a Base, Steal a Taco” promotion. Coming back for its second year, would it be as successful as last year? At Sense360, we were a big fan of the promotion last year. It’s an engaging one for fans, promising a free Doritos Locos Taco for the first base stolen by either team. In Game 2 this year, Houston Astros player Cameron Maybin stole second. Taco Bell promptly promised one free taco to each customer on November 1st from 2 to 6 pm, local time.

Was it successful? We were curious so we compared it to last year’s promotion. Through leveraging the power of our 360 Insights platform, which analyzes and combines a multitude of behavioral data sets in conjunction with attitudinal surveys, we were able to uncover a few key insights. While Taco Bell had a 12% lift in visit share nationwide and a 23% lift in visit share in Houston and L.A this year, nationwide visits declined by 17% compared to 2016.

In short, the campaign wasn’t as effective as 2016. Here’s why:

  • L.A. and Houston’s markets had a 45% increase in new guest visit share while the country saw a 14% decrease
  • The “afternoon snack” daypart saw the largest increase, with a 110% lift in L.A. and Houston over the pre-promotion period
  • All occasions saw visits decrease between 10% – 20%
  • The only daypart that had growth over last year in visitation was late night, which grew by 20% (the others decreased significantly)
  • Light guests and heavy guests both saw decreases, at 19% and 4%

Finally, we also looked at how specific buyer personas reacted to the promotion and the majority decreased, except for the “healthy and wealthy” persona.

While the report did not dig into all the reasons why this change might have occurred, there are some key areas for Taco Bell to perform a further diagnosis on as they decide whether to run this promotion again next year. Importantly, they’ll want to examine whether this promotion should be national or if it’s better for highly engaged fans, whose teams are in the game. Perhaps they need to customize the promotion by the market to make it more personalized for fans and optimize for the personas and dayparts that performed best.

In short, the findings offer important insight for Taco Bell to optimize their efforts in the year ahead. The QSRs who are measuring every single crevice of behavioral data that’s available and turning it into actionable insight are the ones who are winning. By doing so they are able to make important, on the spot changes to their key strategies and tactics. They treat every dollar as a dollar to be won or lost in the larger market share war.

Please download the full report here.