Sonic Drive-In Boosts App Downloads 500% With RCS Campaign

The marketing move resulted in a massive uptick in customer engagement and follow-through.

Need to Know 

  • Sonic has reported a record-setting digital response to its new rich text message campaign.
  • Using RCS technology, the campaign resulted in five times the number of app downloads than previous campaigns.
  • RCS campaigns are considered a “more compelling” mobile marketing tool and are expected to become increasingly popular worldwide 


After the launch of a new text messaging campaign, Sonic Drive-In is boasting a record-setting response. 

The fast-food chain recently partnered with Mobivity, a provider of personalized customer engagement solutions, to broadcast interactive Rich Communications Services (RCS) messaging about the chain’s new app, targeting customers across 3,500 locations. 

The campaign, which was unprecedented considering the communication did not include special offers or incentives, resulted in five times the number of app downloads than previous MMS messaging, an app registration rate that was three times higher than previous campaigns, and a 50% purchase rate from those who were registered on the app. 

“Our initial results with Mobivity’s program were impressive, especially since we were using a new technology and no offers or incentives,” said Kim Lewis, Vice President of Digital Strategies at SONIC Drive-In. “We look forward to expanding this digital approach with Mobivity to further drive customer engagement and frequency within our digital channels.”

RCS campaigns are considered to be a “more compelling mobile marketing channel” than previous technologies, especially among Android users. Android’s rival operating system, Apple’s iOS, does not support RCS.

RCS campaigns are expected to become more popular worldwide, and it is forecasted that 86% of smartphones will be RCS-enabled this year. These campaigns help to improve the customer experience due to their ability to connect mobile customers with businesses through a chatbot and human-based conversations.

Sonic is not the first fast-food chain to try RCS. Last year, Papa John’s ran an RCS campaign for World Vegan Day that resulted in a 23% sales leap from previous SMS campaigns. 

As technology evolves, so must fast-food businesses. And with the current state of pandemic, businesses are adapting faster than ever. 

Domino’s, known for its future-forward use of technology, is expanding its back-of-house camera tech functionality to track for cleanliness.

Chipotle, adapting quickly to the increased demand for takeout and delivery, just experienced its best digital quarter ever, with an 80% boost in sales.

Even 7-Eleven has pivoted to launch a pop-up shop inside a hospital to support hungry hospital workers, their patients, and their families.