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McDonalds versus Taco Bell – Who’s winning the Social Media Game?

Taco Bell vs McDonalds – heard ’em seen ’em..but, who among the two is winning at social?

We have got some insights!

Taco Bell currently sits on the number 3 position of the Digital Co Restaurant Social Index – trumping its biggest competitor (read: social media rival) McDonald’s by 17 spots (McDonald’s is at the 20th spot). But, is that an indication of higher social media influence and engagement?

We shall see.

Recently, the two brands ruffled some feathers (once more) on social media as Taco Bell decided to take its first steps into the world $50 billion fast-food breakfast market.

Social media battles? Now, we all know how those go! It all started with Taco Bell posting a video featuring men across the United States named ‘Ronald McDonald’ who all claim to love Taco Bell.  This was followed by a series of fun marketing stunts where the companies took turns to take jabs at each other. Result – a mind-boggling level of engagement with fans.

It is no social media secret that companies that are a part of such brand-on-brand battles end up generating a lot of buzz.

We pulled in 5 insights using some of our platform’s features:

  • More millennials engaged with Taco Bell than McDonald’s
  • More males engaged with McDonald’s than Taco Bell
  • Both Taco Bell and McDonald get the maximum engagement from the states of Texas and California, Ohio and Florida follow closely.
  • McDonald’s attracts a higher number of Hispanic population than Taco Bell
  • Both the brands experience the highest amount of social activity during the evening hours. However, there is a sharp contrast in McDonald’s getting a higher level of engagement in morning (19%) and Taco Bell’s during the late night hours (27%).

Taco Bell

TOD Taco Bell


TOD McDonalds

This insight from our Time of the Day feature tells us that even though Taco Bell has made some strides in the breakfast market, the breakfast market is still McDonald’s piece of the pie. Taco Bell on the other hand, dominates the late-night snacking segment with its Doritos-flavored tacos. Clearly, a big hit with the millennials.

But, that’s not all. With the help of our Association Analytics feature we also found some interesting associations between Netflix and Taco Belland McDonald’s and Mindy Kaling.

Brand Associations for Taco Bell

Taco Bell Associations

Taco Bell and Netflix? How did these two get together?

Well, here’s how:

Taco Bell and Netflix

An expert at powering engagement through casual social media banter, Taco Bell often engages with big brands on Twitter and strikes up a conversation. And, this sends their engagement numbers SOARING. Surely, their ‘cool-friend’ Twitter strategy is working very well with millennials.

And, what about GetSchooled and Taco Bell?

The reason these two getting associated together is because Taco Bell recently partnered with GetSchooled and launched a program dedicated to empower teens to make a personal commitment to graduate high school and achieve mas in their communities.

Taco Bell GetSchooled Tweet

Celebrity Association for McDonald’s

It is no social media secret that Mindy Kaling and McDonald’s share a special longstanding relationship. This was even talked about  on the Conan O’Brien show.

On Friday, McDonald’s and Mindy Kaling fired up a social media buzz when the Shamrock-Shake-loving Mindy decided to tweet at them.

Mindy and McDonald'sMindy and McDonald's 2

But, wait, WHAT are these features all about?

Well, we’ve heard you and got you covered!

To begin with , Association Analytics are the latest in modern tech, designed to show you the top brands, entertainment channels, and even celebrities that are best aligned to your business. For each campaign, you can see the top business that are talking about you… not to mention the number of times your audiences associated you with individual companies and channels!

The value for Association Analytics is amazing: if you know what brands your audiences resonate with, you’ll be better positioned to make key partnerships that yield the best-possible revenue results.

Campaign Comparison on the other hand, empowers you to compare your feeds and social media activity along with your competitors – side by side and feed by feed. This also helps you learn which of your past and current campaigns had the highest engagement or which campaign resonated the most with your key demographics.

Here are three ways in which a social media manager can use this feature for deeper brand insight:

1. Comparing Activity  – you can analyze up to FOUR campaigns at once and instantly report on overall campaign health. The Activity Over Time Graph gives you an instant snapshot of which tactics are bringing the best results.

Here’s how the Taco Bell versus McDonald’s activity chart looks like (based off of data collected in the Zoomph platform the past 7 days)

AOT - New

2. View Statistics  – Say goodbye to guesswork and hello to REAL DATA and STATISTICS!  Take a deep dive into the world of statistics and get a step closer to impressing your CMO with insights about your brand. Find out which efforts generate the highest social reach, along with the most fan engagement and ZPoints® influencer participation.

3. Audience Break-Down  – Finding out whether your campaign is reaching the right audience can be crucial to plan a stellar social media campaign. Reach the right people with demographic comparisons of audience gender, ethnicity, and age group. This tool helps you discover whether your messages are resonating, and adjust your marketing to opportunities in the right communities.

Let’s take a look at the Taco Bell versus McDonald’s example:

Taco Bell - Social Reach new

McDonalds - Social Reach new

Want to know the secret sauce for McDonald’s and Taco Bell’s social media strategies? Clever social media listening and engagement.

“The main difference in strategy now vs. before is that what we are doing today in social media is real-time, and we listen and engage all the time,” Nick Tran, Former Social Media Head, Taco Bell (as told to

Taco Bell’s social media team has uncovered crucial insights with the help of measurement and analytical tools. This has helped the company respond to situations in real-time and in a timely manner.

Taco Bell also engages in close competitive and industry monitoring so that it can measure up to see where they stand in social conversations and devise quick strategies to stay on top of the game.

McDonald’s on the other hand believes in weaving together pieces of data to tell a story. As Rick Wion, McDonald’s Director of Social Media puts it –

“We’re always looking at how the pieces fit together to tell different stories, we have overlapping audiences, and we don’t want to cut and paste across all of them to keep our fans entertained.” (As told to

The company uses consumer insights to develop platform-specific strategies to make sure that they are speaking in the right language with the right audiences. For example, in 2014, the company tweaked its traditionally rich media-heavy advertisements with a new native advertising campaign to promote its new line of coffee. This messaging was clearly targeted towards reaching a younger audience.

Sourced from www.mobilemarketer.comMcDonald's native ad 2

Image source:

Clearly, this goes on to prove that number of followers is not a good measurement of a brand’s success on social media! It’s the engagement that counts. And, to be able to engage better – you need to listen and monitor social media conversations to the T.

Both, McDonalds and Taco Bell are doing an excellent job at aligning their social media content with the interests of their audiences.

Want to improve your brand’s social media listening skills and track competition effectively? Get started here- sign up for the Zoomph FREE plan and watch your social engagement soar!

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