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How-to: Manage PPC Accounts for Franchise Business Models

Published: August 5, 2014

Author: Ed Lew

Managing clients with franchise business models can be a challenge. A single franchise client can range from having a dozen locations to as many as hundreds of locations! When there are simply not enough hours in the day to manage hundreds of campaigns for each individual location, efficiently setting up your account-management flow is key to maximizing your work day. Here are a few tips to help bring your sanity back to Earth.

Streamline Templates

Summoning PPC 101, managing accounts between AdWords and adCenter is much easier when the campaigns are similarly organized – and the same logic applies for franchise locations. For example, let’s say you are setting up a single campaign for a San Francisco location. The campaign consists of ad groups for brand, non-brand, and location modifier keywords. If you need to create campaigns for Dallas or New York, simply copy and paste the campaigns while modifying your location modifier keywords. Make sure your targeting settings are uniquely set up, and include other location-specific settings as needed. Should you absolutely need to segment campaigns by Brand or Non-Brand keywords, make use of the AdWords Shared Budgets feature. This helps simplify managing your daily budgets across several campaigns should you need to stay within budget.

Utilize longer ranges for data optimization

Franchise locations in the form of brick and mortar stores typically define a smaller-than-average targeting scope. With a smaller targeting area comes less traffic, which means less conversion data. Don’t restrict yourself to viewing data in the last 14 or 30 days; you may need to go back as far as the last 3 or 6 months to reach data significance.

Use Bid modifiers

Since the dawn of Enhanced Campaigns in AdWords, we’ve been forced to change the way we bid. Leverage every bid modifier available to your advantage as budgets per franchise location can vary greatly. Trying to figure out the best way to spend $500 for the Seattle location? Did mobile devices have a CPA twice your target in the last 3 months? Don’t forget about ad scheduling bids when the store hours are limited to 9am – 6pm. Perhaps one of your five targeted zip codes is driving 50% of the conversion volume; increase your bids to see if you can get more moving from position 5 to 3. Learn more about how bid modifiers work, and factor into the final CPC.

Automate Reports

Let’s face it: client reporting can be a time-consuming task that eats away time spent implementing and analyzing performance. Because not every client has the resources to implement nifty reporting tools like Tableau, Excel is the most cost-effective method to getting the job done. Most franchise-based clients have unique KPIs to track, and you’ll need to know how to track them in order to optimize performance. Get started with an article from Oliver Eldridge about how to automatically update Excel graphs.

Use Geo-targeting

Simple enough, right? Unfortunately, not all clients have clearly identified territories per location. While AdWords targeting goes down to the zip code level, this can sometimes not be enough. Two neighboring franchise locations can overlap into each other’s area of coverage, which creates a headache when one location’s ads show over the other. You can get creative by increasing bids or excluding location settings, but the bottom line is: your client absolutely needs to have a clearly defined plan for franchise coverage. This sets the best expectations between the account manager, the client, and the franchise location. Managing accounts at the franchise level is tough, but it’s rewarding to see each individual location hit its specific goals. Do you have any other insights for managing franchise-level accounts?

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