Whether it elicited engagement on its own Facebook page or just received social media attention from people looking for other content, Donatos Pizza drove its social media impressions — both owned and earned — to get the largest weekly gain in its Social 200 index score during the seven days ended April 23.

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The NRN Social 200 Index

Nation’s Restaurant News reintroduced its Social 200 platform in early April to index the social media effectiveness of the restaurant industry’s largest brands on a daily basis. The tool tracks, quantifies and ranks the social relationships between consumers and the restaurant brands included in NRN’s Top 200 census based on U.S. systemwide sales.

Social analytics provider Sprinklr compiles and analyzes the data for the NRN Social 200.

The Social 200 platform’s analysis includes restaurant brands’ owned impressions resulting from its posts across established social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as well as newer ones like Instagram. It also will quantify earned impressions derived from fan interactions on those platforms, and the negative and positive sentiments within those fan actions can be measured as well.

To keep track of what social media content strategies are having an effect for the largest restaurant brands in the industry, NRN examines the largest seven-day gains and declines in Social 200 index scores through the close of business of every Wednesday. To ensure that the percentage changes happen off a large enough base to be significant, brands with index scores of 500 or higher out of a possible 1,000 will be considered for the weekly rankings.

Ohio State's Facebook post about Donatos drew nearly 100 comments and nearly 2,000 likesLargest weekly gains

Donatos Pizza
Weekly increase: +37.34%
Overall score: 578

Cold Stone Creamery
Weekly increase: +32.33%
Overall score: 532

Piccadilly Cafeteria
Weekly increase: +27.92%
Overall score: 530

Waffle House
Weekly increase: +24.59%
Overall score: 675

Cheddar’s Casual Café
Weekly increase: +24.49%
Overall score: 543

During the seven-day period data were gathered for the Social 200 rankings, Donatos Pizza had the 20th-highest content engagement ratio for all brands, which drove its growth in overall score more than 37 percent. Content engagement ratio measures how many fan actions Donatos received per Facebook post or per tweet during the period, divided by its audience size and multiplied by 100,000 to normalize results across giant brands and smaller, regional chains like 200-plus-unit Donatos.

Columbus, Ohio-based Donatos’ impression ratio ranked No. 56 out of 200 chains, denoting an above-average rate of its owned impressions and earned impressions exceeding the potential impressions projected by its audience size of about 71,000 people across Facebook and Twitter. Sprinklr found that in the 30 days ended on April 23, Donatos owned impressions had increased 9.1 percent to about 313,000, while its earned impressions soared 70.1 percent to more than 2 million, meaning people were talking to and about Donatos without much prompting from the brand’s social media posts.

Donatos also got some help from Columbus’ most popular sports team, the Ohio State Buckeyes. The pizza chain offered tickets to the football team’s spring game for $12 at its Columbus-area locations, and a Facebook post from Ohio State’s account about it drew nearly 100 comments and nearly 2,000 likes, driving up Donatos’ earned impressions.

Largest weekly losses

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Round Table Pizza
Weekly decrease: -19.62%
Overall score: 581

Chili’s Grill & Bar
Weekly decrease: -18.14%
Overall score: 805

Noodles & Company
Weekly decrease: -16.73%
Overall score: 795

Eat ‘n Park
Weekly decrease: -14.78%
Overall score: 602

Jimmy John’s
Weekly decrease: -11.76%
Overall score: 595

Round Table Pizza’s decrease of nearly 20 percent in the seven days that ended April 23 seems to stem from a falloff in owned and earned impressions. For the period, the Concord, Calif.-based chain had an impression score that ranked No. 122 out of the 200 brands in the study. While an Easter message on the brand’s Facebook page posted Friday, April 18, received 1,432 fan actions, including more than 900 comments, Round Table followed up with only one more Facebook post on Monday the 21, which received 222 total fan actions.

Sprinklr found that for the previous 30 days that ended at the close of business on Wednesday, April 23, Round Table’s active audience — which takes the number of people who like the brand on Facebook or follow it on Twitter and other platforms and then measures how many interact with Round Table by liking, sharing or commenting on content — fell 53 percent to about 2,400 people. That accounted for about 1.7 percent of the brand’s total audience of more than 137,000 people across Facebook, Twitter and other platforms.

The brand’s most engaging recent Facebook post occurred more than 30 days ago, on March 17, when a photo asking fans to spot a four-leaf clover on a pizza produced more than 3,700 fan actions, including more than 2,300 comments.

Contact Mark Brandau at mark.brandau@penton.com.
Follow him on Twitter: @Mark_from_NRN