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.

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.