As many experienced PPC account managers know, not all SEM accounts are created equal. The strategy you run for one client can be completely different than what you would run for another. Additionally, you might even have different strategy between platforms (Google, Bing, etc.) within the same account.

Now, imagine what that might be like for over 50 accounts – that’s franchise SEM management. Since each location is its own individual business, it is important to give each one the strategy and care that it deserves to hit its goals. At Metric Theory, we have franchise business clients that all approach SEM and their account structures differently. Below is a list of what we have found to be most useful when managing franchise accounts.

Managing PPC for Franchised Businesses

Reporting is Key

Since franchise PPC accounts tend to have numerous different locations and campaign groups with individual budgets (and sometimes goals), it is important to have accurate and up-to-date reporting for all of them. This ensures that you can stay up-to-date on budget pacing and the KPIs that are important to the client. Without strong, detailed, robust reporting, you are flying blind.

This reporting should be separate from using just Google Analytics or the other interfaces themselves, given that many different clients and account managers need to quickly be able to look at the full picture and know how the campaigns are doing.

Localized Ad Copy

Franchises are all about generating business in their area, specific to their branch. Therefore, searches tend to be focused around localized terms, for example “services near me,” “plumbing in Brooklyn,” etc. The more specific the headlines are to the area, the higher the CTRs and conversion rates we’ve generated.

Try using geo IF statements to dynamically insert locations into headlines, connecting to multiple Google My Business accounts, and creating separate campaigns for local searches to better control performance.

Targeting Triumphs and Woes

Depending on the business type, some franchise businesses might only service certain zip codes and regions. Both in Google and Bing, you have the option to target by zip code or radius, which are useful.

We caution users, however, because both Google and Bing have settings where you can target both people interested in and within your targeted locations. If you do not specify which you’d like, you can sometimes generate business outside of the franchise locations areas which causes headaches. Additionally, there are some instances where some zip codes are not targeted by Google and Bing. Be sure to be aware of this. In addition, Google has recently expanded their “located in” targeting to include people who are regularly located in your target location.

One challenge we’ve run into for certain targeted location sizes is that there is not enough search volume and demand. We’ve worked to combat this by testing more tangential keywords and running social prospecting and other awareness tactics to generate more search volume for a specific geographic area.

Scripts

Automated scripts and other tools are hugely helpful for franchise accounts, especially when a lot of work needs to be done over a large volume of campaigns.

We’ve found success with testing automated bidding, scripts that change bids based on weather, scripts that check for broken URLs, and scripts that automatically append our necessary UTMs to new ads. Metric Theory is constantly investing in and testing new scripts to help improve processes.

Without scripts, much of our work would be tied up in account set up, and little time would be left for analysis and larger strategy brainstorming.

Franchise accounts require unique SEM management and should not be approached like other traditional businesses’ SEM accounts. The key to success for hitting franchise SEM targets is by giving an individual approach to each location, taking learnings from each, and then applying these learnings to each other. The previously listed tips are some of the ways we’ve been able to drive results at scale. If you’re interested in more help, contact our team.