Digital marketing experts offer analytics best practices for franchisors.
In franchise development, the focus has traditionally been on leads, leads and more leads. In the current digital landscape, franchise brands need to take their marketing efforts beyond just driving leads to focus on driving the right leads. To do that, brands need to dig into data to determine where those leads are coming from in order to analyze their behavior and calculate the return on investment of their marketing efforts.
Jack Monson, Chief Revenue Officer of Social Joey and co-host of Social Geek Radio, and Jim Buckley, director of marketing for Priatek and contributor to Social Geek Radio, offered some insight into how franchise brands should approach using analytics.
Buckley strongly cautions franchisors to approach analytics in “bite-size chunks,” and warns, “Just because you’re able to access a certain piece of data doesn’t mean you should or need to. Don’t overcomplicate it. Google Analytics is a very user-friendly tool, but brands should not get caught up in the minutiae — they should focus on key data points to start.”
Monson agrees, noting that brands often try to go too deep into analytics instead of simply examining how much money was spent and what the results of the campaign were, which can become confusing. Instead, focusing on specific data points, like traffic, bounce rate, time on site and geography, can help franchisors draw conclusions about the effectiveness of their campaigns.
To be most effective, Buckley suggests that franchise brands should establish an attribution channel for every campaign to be able to properly determine its success.
“For example, if a brand is doing a Google Adwords campaign, there should be a specific landing page for that campaign. That way, when looking into Google Analytics, it’s easier to attribute traffic to that specific campaign,” said Buckley. “If you’re looking for franchisees in Columbus, you should create a landing page about the brand’s plans to expand in Columbus. From there, you’ll be able to see in Google Analytics how much traffic was generated to the page and how many form submissions came from it. You’ll have to also consider phone calls received from that geographic area to determine the real cost per inquiry. Google isn’t a be-all, end-all for analysis. You should use it as a guiding tool, but you’ll have to take extra steps to get a full picture.”
With social media advertising quickly gaining popularity in franchise development marketing, brands also need to dig into the analytics capabilities of each channel to be able to understand the return on investment of their social media campaigns.
“What we’re learning is that people have far too often relied on vanity metrics, like comments and likes, which don’t actually mean anything for franchise development,” said Monson. “We’re doing more lead ads on Facebook, which helps us to be able to drive direct leads. We look at the leads that came through our campaigns and determine which of them actually became deals. All the other metrics are vanity metrics that just show that you’re creating campaigns and doing work, but not creating impactful campaigns that actually accomplish what you want.”
Monson echoes Buckley’s assertion that brands can use analytics tools as a baseline, but need to look beyond the data to determine the effectiveness of any campaign.
“The same idea holds true of consumer campaigns. Facebook ads that are promotional in nature, like a coupon, require customers to walk into a pizza place and get a slice of pizza for 50 percent off. That coupon is driving traffic into a store but that franchisee is never going to see that in Facebook analytics,” said Monson. “The franchisee needs to take the extra step to pull data from their POS to be able to connect the dots and draw a conclusion on the effectiveness of the campaign.”
Whether it’s for franchise development or a consumer-driven campaign, franchisors need a baseline understanding of what data points to analyze — or to ignore — to determine effectiveness. To have a chance at long-term digital marketing success, franchisors can utilize key metrics as a starting point for analysis, but need to be thoughtful about how to draw a conclusion that tells the full picture.