Winning in the highly competitive and crowded food delivery market — projected by Swiss investment bank UBS to grow by 10x in the next 12 years to hit a massive $365 billion by 2030 — can be a tall order. But not for companies that can dish up an amazing takeaway experience and connect with customers in a way that is culturally relevant and personally appealing. This is the mix that has allowed Delivery Hero, the international food delivery giant that likes to call itself the “United Nations of food delivery,“ to grow its business and drive product innovation.

Valued at above $5 billion, Berlin-based Delivery Hero spans 26 brands in over 40 countries and partners with more than 200,000 restaurants across five continents. In December, the company moved to expand its footprint in Southeast Asia, agreeing to buy Woowa Brothers, the owners of South Korea‘s most popular food delivery app. At the time, Bongjin Kim, CEO and founder of Woowa, told the press he was “excited to partner with Delivery Hero to leverage their platform and global expertise to facilitate expansion in Asia, as well as to further penetrate the high-potential Korean market.“ It‘s a goal well within reach for Delivery Hero, a company that taps local teams and knowledge to reimagine the customer experience at every stage of the journey and every corner of the globe. In fact, in January Delivery Hero raised €2.3 billion to finance its acquisition of Woowa Brothers.


Add to this “enhanced technology and product innovation with 20 billion data points processed per month,“ and the outcome is a recipe for success that has allowed Delivery Hero to double new user acquisition while cutting costs. “Tech allows us to be efficient in marketing, excellent in customer support, and flawless in operations,“ Christian Hardenberg, Delivery Hero CTO, observed on the company blog. “With technology, we are able to understand the data we gather and use it to constantly optimize the experience on our mobile apps and websites. We deliver up to one million orders per day which is only possible because we spent the last few years enhancing our product and technology to a level where it just feels like magic.“ I catch up with two marketing wizards at Delivery Hero – Marcus Letsch, Director of Display Channels, and Hazal Demiral Gölge, Head of Mobile Tech – to discuss their bold and data-driven approach to experimentation, testing and reimagining the customer experience.


Delivery Hero has stated that it pursues a strategy to “focus on winning new customers as well as carefully broaden the experience for [our] existing customers.“ To achieve this, a company needs a data-informed strategy and a data-driven team. What is your daily routine with data, and how do you support your company goals?

Hazal: As head of the Mobile Tech department, which sits in the Display team led by Marcus, it‘s my job to make sure we have the correct campaign data so that decision-makers can take action based on the data for all the apps worldwide. This means ensuring we have the correct tracking and the correct reporting. In addition to this, I am also responsible for app store optimization.

Marcus: The "Display" in my job title means I am responsible for all visual marketing on the web and in apps. What‘s interesting is the big change in how we do media buying. We now buy fully programmatic, which means we go through DSPs and not the traditional ad networks. The shift to programmatic was a process over the last year, and a good move because it yields a lot more data and gives us more data transparency.

Programmatic, as you point out, offers a variety of benefits. But research shows there is concern over challenges such as brand safety and ad fraud. How do you address this?

Marcus: For sure, there is no such thing as fraud-free. At Delivery Hero we depend on a rule-based approach, and for that, we use the Fraud Prevention Suite from Adjust. We conduct regular fraud checks, and if the numbers show anything different from what we expect, what we benchmark, then we flag it to the advertising partner. In order to support the growing business that Delivery Hero is, we need to have trust in the data and this is what we have. It‘s not only about preventing fraud, but having the data to make the right decision for the business.


Data is the lifeblood of an organization. What is the process and flow of data so that people and teams have access and can act on it?

Hazal: We compare the data that we track – for example, the app orders that we collect through Adjust – with the orders we received and which generated revenues. We do this by ingesting some of Adjust‘s data, the key parts of the data, into our own data warehouse that houses all the data from around the world. We then make our calculations, reporting and our own distribution model that we run on top of Adjust.

We‘re not solely using the Adjust post-click 7-day attribution model, but also developed a different logic internally. This is the data used by everyone in marketing to optimize their campaigns. What I have found is that Adjust is more developed, more advanced than other MMPs in the unlimited and super-robust capability of the raw data they provide. We depend on this, but we also have strong trust in it. Marketing decisions at the CMO-level are made based on Adjust data.

Speaking of marketing, your efforts span web, apps, TV, and more. How do you approach multi-touch for such a complex customer journey?

Marcus: For us, it‘s important to connect the dots across the different touchpoints, web, apps, TV and more, to understand the complete user journey. Generally speaking, there are different ways to approach multi-touch.
There is multi-touch pre-install and there is event-based multi-touch. Web tracking gives us the data streams
we can use to build methodologies. From there, it comes down to streamlining web and app data – and that is the big challenge. For the app journey, however, it‘s relatively linear since we use Adjust and we use the callbacks.
In the case of mobile and apps, it’s also much easier than on web, where cookies can get deleted in the browser.

You mention callbacks and the benefits of using the data in your wider strategy. Can you provide some advice or best practices?

Marcus: First, you need to model the data towards your business needs. Your needs will depend on your company and your objectives, and the user journey you offer. Obviously, the user journey is quite different if you only offer your customers an app than if you have a multi-platform approach like we do. Once you are clear on this, you can start to develop your model. It then comes down to smart BI and using callbacks in a way that you can model it. Put simply, you have to understand your objectives and you have to model the data to fit your company and serve your goals.

To make decisions like these marketers must have a firm grasp of the data, a clear understanding of the user journey and the expertise to know what they need to track in the first place. At Delivery Hero you have built systems to do this, but this can be a mammoth project. What can smaller companies do to tackle such a big project?

Hazal: Of course, some smaller companies or startups will not have the scale or human resources to start such a big project. But this shouldn‘t be a barrier. At the moment, it‘s easy to pull data through different cloud providers, such as Google, and then create real customer reporting based on the data. You therefore don‘t need a system architect to get started. However, you do need to identify what you want to track and what you are going to do with the data that you track. It‘s easy to say you‘ll just track everything. But, if you are just going to insert it into different reports and not take any action, then what is the point of tracking this data at all?

At a mature company like Delivery Hero, we have to track every step in the customer journey and we have to understand the user completely. But, for a small company, the most important step for marketers is to find out which KPIs are the most important and then track to understand if they are successful in meeting their KPIs or not. They can then start building the decision-making process based on their reporting — that will allow them to grow their business and their audience.

You have what has been called a “disciplined culture of experimentation and testing.“ What has this allowed you to achieve? What is an outcome that has been the biggest surprise or the biggest improvement to your marketing?

Hazal: We indeed run a lot of tests to understand if a change that we apply to collect one more parameter or one more event is actually making any real difference in the results in the campaign that we run. This being the case, we decided to run a test campaign to understand if it would be worth it – and to do this, we implemented Adjust’s uninstall feature.

The key learning from tests we run is that when we decide to implement a new feature or even a new event, we always first test this on a smaller scale – and we test them in actual campaigns. The goal is to understand if something is really making a difference, either by saving money or resources. From our perspective, it‘s important to build a business case for the local decision-makers on the product teams and local marketing team to show them why they should devote more resources to make changes and demonstrate how this data will help them in the long run.

Data has allowed you to open the aperture of how you view and engage your users. But reimagining the user experience is an art and a science. What is the impact now – and in the future – of marketing automation?

Marcus Right now, marketing automation allows us to save time doing repetitive and manual tasks. But it also allows marketers and managers to use their time more efficiently and focus more on thinking, not just executing. Managing my own team, I can see that people are not just beginning to really enjoy what they‘re doing, they also think about what else they can do.

Automation is bringing the team to a state of mind where they they can come up with more innovative ideas – and this is good for the company. It‘s just like in sports: you are as good as your team and, if your team can develop new ideas, then you grow as a team and then as a company. In my view, automation will make it possible for teams to strategize more and develop a vision that will guide their efforts to address the bigger issues and challenges in marketing, such as finding ways to combine brand and performance or ways to combine all the touchpoints in order to understand and measure incrementality.

The future will see the "old way" of thinking about digital marketing replaced by new approaches. It‘s here that automation will give marketers the space they need to understand technology, analyze data, write code, work closely with product teams, collaborate with BI teams, communicate with stakeholders, agencies and partners and – above all – think and act like entrepreneurs for the good of their companies and their own personal development.