How KFC Australia Optimized SMS to Increase Purchases by 3X
3X Increase in purchase rate (SMS vs Push)


With a goal to increase ROI and revenue per customer, KFC Australia needed to create a campaign to provide more value to loyal customers and help them stand out from the competition during the busy holiday season.


The team decided to up their experimentation game, leveraging Braze in partnership with their agency AKQA and Braze Alloys mParticle and Snowflake. Launched during the high-traffic window between Boxing Day and Australia Day, they tested SMS versus Push to see which channel was better at driving incremental transactions.


When comparing Push to SMS, KFC Australia saw a 3X increase in purchases compared to Push. Additionally, the audience that received the SMS message had a 31% increase in incremental sales and a 30% uplift compared to the control group (push).

With 760 locations spanning the country, KFC Australia treats its customers to bucketloads of perks with a next-level app that lets them hack exclusive rewards, order from the secret menu, and even schedule their pickup or delivery. As they say, the app is “the tastiest way to get your chicken!”

Given its omnichannel marketing strategy, marrying the in-person KFC experience with its digital counterpart requires a platform purpose-built for reaching today’s hungry customers. From tracking their order’s progress in real-time to unlocking limited-time-only deals, KFC Australia’s customer engagement strategy is heavily dictated by the types of content they wish to communicate to their users. To meet their high expectations head-on, they have long prioritized putting detailed segmentation and lifecycle journeys in place to ensure each segment’s messages are as cohesive and personally relevant as possible.

Channels Utilized

Alloys Partnerships

KFC Australia Partners With Braze to Engage Loyal Customers and Increase Purchases

QSR is a crowded marketplace, with competitors in hot pursuit to reach the same customers. To effectively engage and retain their customers, KFC Australia knew they needed a customer engagement platform that could grow with them and support messaging at every lifecycle stage. They also knew this platform would be instrumental in helping to drive incremental revenue on their app. More nudges to revisit their abandoned cart or view a promotion means more odds of those customers hitting the checkout button. So they turned to Braze.

Testing Channels to Drive ROI

KFC Australia wanted to identify which channel was most effective at driving incremental purchases on mobile. Early on, the team hypothesized the ideal channel could be SMS or Mobile Push, two channels proven to drive high-value actions from mobile users. Additionally, the company was facing some challenges engaging their customers, including app users who hadn’t enabled push notifications or had unsubscribed via email.

KFC Australia partnered with their agency AKQA to explore a new channel that could potentially drive higher conversions than their existing Push strategy—SMS. They also turned to Mediacom and Braze Alloys tech partner mParticle to manage the audience testing and integration process, as well as Braze Alloys tech partner Snowflake to ensure all the data pulled to inform message personalization was as up-to-date as possible.

How They Did It

1. First, they identified the scope of work and time frame. Given the large amounts of customer lifecycle campaigns they were already working on, it made sense to outsource the setup of this experiment to a partner with deep technical experience. The team turned to AKQA to run this campaign.

KFC Australia chose a two-month time frame between Boxing Day, New Year’s Eve, and Australia Day—holidays when customers busy celebrating could be enticed to treat themselves or their families.

2. Next, working in partnership with Mediacom and mParticle, they segmented their campaign’s audience into three groups:

  • Audience 1: 50% with push enabled would receive the push notification.

  • Audience 2: 50% with push not enabled would receive the SMS message.

  • Audience 3: Users with push not enabled who were also unsubscribed from email would receive the SMS message

3. Lastly, the KFC Australia team crafted a suite of dynamic, personalized messages for both audiences in Braze Canvas Flow, our intuitive customer journey-building tool. This included name personalization to make the messages more relevant on this direct channel. The messages also included a hook in the first sentence of each message to grab the user’s attention, with copy that was streamlined and simple.

4. As their main goal was driving more revenue—and to see if SMS could drive lift in revenue compared to push—KFC Australia chose metrics like incremental purchases, ROI, and engagement to get a full picture.

After running the test for two months, they determined that SMS had the highest performance and highest ROI.

“With Braze, we were able to easily and efficiently experiment with SMS. It enabled us to directly reach our most and least engaged customers which drove higher engagement than any of our previous mix of channels had achieved in the past.”

Sophia Flaskos
E-Commerce Brand Manager at KFC Australia

How A/B Tests Prove the Value of Each Channel Investment

When comparing Push to SMS, KFC Australia saw a 3X increase in purchases compared to Push. Additionally, the audience that received the SMS message had a 31% increase in incremental sales and a 30% uplift compared to the control group (push).

Engaging more customers via SMS continues to be an area of interest for KFC Australia, and they plan to continue their partnership with Braze to develop and expand their SMS program and overall customer engagement strategy. The team’s particularly excited to go beyond scheduled campaigns and build more triggered communications with their customers’ journeys and lifecycles in mind. The brand continues to innovate how they deliver relevant messages to their loyal fans, giving them plenty of spicy rewards to whet their appetite for years.

31% Increase in Incremental sales
3X Increase in purchase rate (SMS vs Push)

Key Takeaways

  1. Make your test hypothesis clear. While it’s only fitting to be excited about everything you can test, you’ll get clearer and more actionable results by keeping your test goals simple. Do not try to test 10 things at once. Iteration over time is key to accomplishing your business goals.

  2. Look for gaps in your customer engagement strategy. Assess your current channel mix and subscriber rates to see where you might have a missed opportunity. For KFC, they were able to identify an opportunity to use a new channel to effectively engage with their mobile users.

  3. Show them the money. Businesses can be shy about investing in new channels, but you’ll get more from leaders by showing how persistent, incremental sales can be driven by SMS or push. To prove the value of your experiment, you should always aim to tie your efforts back to the ROI.