Nationwide sales of fresh beef at retail got a boost earlier this year as a result of a beef industry partnership with the mobile rebates app Ibotta. The partnership also significantly increased consumer engagements with beef through videos, recipes and messages on the app.
Overall, the Federation of State Beef Councils of the National Cattlemen’s Beef Assn. (NCBA) invested $600,000 in reserve funds in the partnership, which ran through early February. Local state beef councils also added $90,000 to help boost the campaign in specific states.
Ibotta is a consumer mobile app that has a subscriber rate of 22 million mostly Millennial consumers and growing. In the campaign, consumers who downloaded the app could browse the grocery category for small rebates on fresh ground beef products, unlock the rebates and - after reviewing educational information about beef through a short recipe, message or video - get cash back on the beef items they bought at any grocery store nationwide. Beef paid for only verified sales.
Results from the ground beef Ibotta campaign, which was managed by NCBA, a beef checkoff contractor, significantly surpassed standard Ibotta campaigns. The redemption rate for ground beef was nearly 40% - almost double the average Ibotta redemption rate of 23%. There were about 1.45 million consumer engagements, with beef rebates unlocked after consumers got the videos, recipes and messages. Of those, more than 576,000 consumers redeemed the rebates. The four-week campaign resulted in more than 631,000 lb. of ground beef sold.
Other campaign results were just as significant, according to Jerry Effertz, a beef producer from Velva, N.D., and chairman of the Federation of State Beef Councils. Ibotta campaign analytics showed that when consumers were offered the small (25- to 50-cent) rebates on ground beef, they also bought other whole-muscle cuts such as steaks or roasts, which were not offered on rebate. According to Ibotta receipt data, the average user spent $7.80 on beef products.
“These results suggest our efforts inspired more beef trial and usage,” Effertz said. “Consumers were buying more beef overall, and that’s one of the things this Ibotta campaign was meant to accomplish.”
Furthermore, during the four-week period, Ibotta users increased their beef buying overall and decreased the amount of other protein (such as pork and chicken) they were buying. Beef’s protein market share increased by 14%, and beef maintained a 9% market share increase even two months after the campaign ended, the data showed. This highlighted a second Ibotta campaign objective: drive people back to beef after years of record-high beef prices led many consumers to step away from the product.
In addition to the national campaign, many state beef councils contributed additional funding to promote the campaign to consumers in their own markets. Through in-app media tiles, email newsletters and social media engagement, state partners helped drive traffic to the app and create broader visibility of lower beef prices for 2017. The total value of the Ibotta campaign is estimated to be more than $4.4 million.
“This campaign was conducted during a time of high protein production, and our cattle industry was definitely in need of a lift because of the struggling market,” Effertz said. “This campaign - targeted to a consumer Millennial audience that loves beef but wants more information about it - was the right promotion at the right time.”
Beef checkoff funds invested in the Ibotta program were part of a $1.24 million package from the Federation reserve fund for both international and domestic beef sales-enhancement efforts. The initial $940,000 investment was made in November 2016.