Director of Innovation, Consumer Experiences
Kraft Foods launched the iFood Assistant in late November 2008 and released the upgraded iFood Assistant 2.0 a year later. The $0.99 app offers access to more than 7,000 recipes, cooking tips, a shopping list builder and how-to videos commingled with ads for Kraft brands. Ed Kaczmarek, director of innovation, consumer experience, discusses the branding goals of the iFood Assistant and insights into consumers’ app usage.
eMarketer: What is the goal of the app?
Ed Kaczmarek: Ultimately, our goal is to engage the consumer in a meaningful and relevant way. We want to make their life easier and to get closer to them during the point of purchase.
eMarketer: How does the app work?
Mr. Kaczmarek: The iFood Assistant provides a Recipe of the Day idea for seven days, as well as Dinner Tonight suggestions. It allows users to search our database of over 7,000 tested recipes, all with photos. We have a What’s on Hand search where they can type in up to three items they have and the app will offer recipe suggestions for those three items.
There’s a full-functioning shopping list that’s been refined a bit so that users can now check off items as they shop.
eMarketer: How do you promote the app to consumers?
Mr. Kaczmarek: We promote it across all of our Kraft channels, so it’s promoted on KraftFoods.com, KraftCanada.com. We have a recipe by e-mail that goes out on a weekly basis so we have periodic promotion there.
“We’ve concentrated on the mobile ad network and it’s very beneficial.”
We’ve concentrated on the mobile ad network and it’s very beneficial because we’re able to track actual conversion. We’ve added code into the app for the different ad networks. These have been efficient media buys that have driven a good amount of downloads for us.
eMarketer: How does the app interact with the online channel?
Mr. Kaczmarek: Users can sign in to iFood Assistant and their recipe box and shopping list will also be saved online. So if they’re at the computer, they can go to KraftFoods.com and access that recipe or shopping list. At any point, they can e-mail a recipe or shopping list to themselves or a friend.
eMarketer: What are the social hooks that are built into the iFood Assistant? For example, can users upload their own recipes?
Mr. Kaczmarek: We have that capability on the Website, but we have not yet activated it on the iFood platform. The social media hook right now is being able to send the different items to themselves or someone else. They can e-mail any recipe or their entire shopping list. We activated push notification where they can choose any day of the week and a time to be reminded of the Recipe of the Day or Dinner Tonight, even if the app is off. We also added a promotions and announcements section where we can notify users if something special is happening.
eMarketer: Since the iFood Assistant’s launch, how many downloads have you had?
“Six months after people download the app, we are experiencing over 60% of continued user engagement, which we feel is phenomenal.”
Mr. Kaczmarek: We do not share our download information, but what we’ve noticed is that six months after people download the app, we are experiencing over 60% of continued user engagement, which we feel is phenomenal. If you look at any of the stats out there, it’s more like 5% continued engagement two months after download.
eMarketer: Can you share any insights about consumer interactions with the app that were surprising or unusual?
Mr. Kaczmarek: We have 25% men using the platform, which was surprising to us. Also, over 90% of the people signing in to the iFood Assistant are new to the Kraft Foods environment so it has really been a great acquisition vehicle for us. Another observation is that when people share recipes, they definitely e-mail them more than they send them via text message.
eMarketer: How does the app promote the Kraft brand overall?
“The most important thing is we’re providing utility above branding.”
Mr. Kaczmarek:It’s a halo of innovation and helps position Kraft as contemporary. It really has connected us to the consumer closer to the point of purchase in a relevant way. The most important thing is we’re providing utility above branding. It enables all of our brands to connect with consumers because they are being included as a recipe ingredient. We also have advertising within different places in the app.
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