Dunkin Donuts has been looking to a strategy to combine social media and mobile in order to grow brand loyalty.

On its social networks, it has 7.7 million fans on Facebook with just under 5000 daily organic likes, and over 1-2 million daily impressions. On Twitter, it has more than 180,000 followers and 200 to over 1000 tweets/ conversations each day. As for YouTube, Dunkin Donuts has more than 2500 subscribers and 1.6 million video views.

Even with the numbers it does have in their social channels, one of Dunkin Donuts' main goals is to grow its fan base and allow customers to participate in the brand to help build loyalty and, in turn, earned media. The company saw mobile as a good way in. 

By going mobile, Dunkin Donuts saw a way to boost their social efforts as well as their sales. It was hoping to improve its customer experience by increasing speed of service, driving card sales and building stronger and longer lasting relationships with its customers.

During the recent Ad:Tech conference in New York, we had a chance to speak to Peter Vogal, co-founder and CEO of Plink about what they are doing with mobile and loyalty points and their work with Dunkin Donuts going mobile. So we tried out the mobile app to see how well the engagement worked for us.

Signing up for the Dunkin Donuts app

It is always a testament to how good an app is by seeing how well it is integrated with the sign up and sign in process. First off, no option for social sign in. This should be a must for 2012.


With the Dunkin Donuts' app all you need is your first name, email and a password to sign up. Unfortunately you then need to check your email to confirm your email address and it leads you to a web browser instead of back to the app. There you need to fill in further information about yourself (no auto fill in) including your full address and full birthdate.

Then you need to go back to the app in order to sign in.

Once you are in the app, you go through a series of intro pages (which you can skip) so you understand how the app works.

Payment in store

Payment only works in select stores in the US but at least it's a step forward in providing alternate payment.

Like the Starbucks app, you can pay for any Dunkin Donuts (DD) purchases from its app with a virtual DD card. You can use the app to pay for your purchases by tapping the DD caed you want to use, and give the DD cashier a barcode to scan. You can also manage and reload your DD card right from the app and pay by credit card. 


Mobile offers

As I've just newly signed up to the app, I don't have any offers as of yet but I was given some screenshots from the team at Plink, who serve these offers to Dunkin Donuts customers. These offers are geo-targeted and relevant to the purchases you've made previously. 

By using Plink, not only is Dunkin Donuts able to target their own customers but will be part of a wider network. Purchases are tracked via a member's credit or debit card and members are given motivations to make offline purchases at one of 35,000 partner locations which are mostly food and entertainment outlets at the moment.

Plink's Vogal commented that most of the patterns are these types of companies because they are more accessible especially in smaller towns, so it makes Plink's offers more substantial and wider spread. Formally focused on Facebook and Facebook credits, Plink's move to these types of offers are its attempt to bridge the gap from virtual to offline.

Members also are given points for every purchase. For instance Dunkin Donuts gives members 75 points for purchases more than $5 and 150 for purchases over $15. These offers were initially tested for a period of 6 months.

Due to these mobile offers, transactions at DD went up 50%, sales were up 66% and its marketshare went up 33%.

Store locator

This is pretty simple and easy to use. You can find out which locations are nearest to you or near to whatever address you will need a Dunkin Donuts.

You can also filter by type of store, or what is available at the location.


Send a virtual gift card

You can choose from a selection of "types" of cards and send a DD gift card via text, email or Facebook to friends who you want to gift a donut or coffee or 10.

Outside of the main four sections of navigation, you can see an extended navigation that allows you to browse the menu and see any of the nutritional information for the items on sale.


Social integration

I was really disappointed with their social integration. Even though there are moves to integrate social and mobile experiences for Dunkin Donuts' cusotmers, you can't interact with social on the app itself. Instead of seeing the content from Twitter or Facebook, you can merely like or follow. There's not even a button to take you out to the different pages so you can see the Facebook or Twitter page in your native mobile app or on a mobile browser.


Heather Taylor

Published 30 November, 2012 by Heather Taylor

Heather Taylor is the Editorial Director for Econsultancy US. You can follow her on Twitter, Google+ or Pinterest.

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Comments (3)


Deri Jones, CEO at SciVisum Ltd

Hi Heather

That's an astonishing claim:
> Due to these mobile offers, transactions at DD went up 50%, sales were up 66%

A quick google didn't see anything where they report such huge sales rises?

In fact, they report falling sales:
"A number of restaurants such as Dunkin' Brands ( DNKN ) ... reported a slowdown in sales in their latest earnings due to a weak consumer spending which remained precarious prior to the elections."


Googling also reveals a bit of a marketing slip by DD:

"Bid for 'Best Coffee in America' fails"

"The chain had lodged a bid to trademark the slogan "Best Coffee in America", but the Boston Globe reported that the US Patent and Trademark Office refused the claim earlier this month. "

over 5 years ago


iWeb Expert

Interesting post.
The app sounds promising.
I think I should try it later.
Thanks for sharing this.
Great job.

over 5 years ago


Fred Perkins

Interesting review of the D-D App.

But yet again, it looks like an APP that's more oriented to pointing me towards a zillion other outlets, on which they presumably are grabbing a few cents for the referral. Why would I bother, just to further multiply and duplicate the spam I already get?

What's in it for ME and my relation with D-D? Why not start more modestly and cement my loyalty to THEM, before trying to make money from telling me to go elsewhere? Do they expect me to be more loyal to THEIR brand by pointing me to offers from elsewhere?

And why even at all try get me to take the App if their geo-targeting software can't work for me at all where I live?

Finally.. don't forget that a lot of us will have nothing to do with the social networks (for lots of oft-stated reasons) - so anything that compels me to subscribe to any particular social network in order to get my "benefits" will result in my immediate abandonment of taking up the App sub.

Not for me, I'm afraid... much as I DO like Dunkin Donuts.

over 5 years ago

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