The famous saying about not knowing what percent of my advertising actually works is often modified for quick-service restaurant franchisee owners to, “I don’t know if ANY of my advertising works.” Not anymore. A couple paragraphs into the future and you will be able to measure every dollar of your digital advertising.
What is an individual franchisee to do?
A franchisee who owns a single location fears money spent on ads will help his/her same-brand competitors as much as him/herself. A franchisee with a multi-location footprint is slightly less worried about funneling business to the competition but still often has a very challenging time measuring the efficacy of an advertising investment and its impact at their specific locations.
Let’s first discuss how we can measure results since how we measure significantly impacts the tactics and media we can use to advertise. There are two measurable data points a franchisee has easy access to. The first is verified store-visitation data. Google and Facebook both offer franchisee owners the ability to track this as it relates to their campaigns. This is a big start. To truly know that a certain number of consumers visited a store that were exposed to ads is a big step forward for most franchisees. Larger franchisees and co-ops may want to use more sophisticated measurement techniques than what’s available in AdWords or Facebook, and should definitely hold out a control group to measure the lift the advertising caused.
Second, franchisees have access to credit card swipe data. Even if not through their credit card processor, larger franchisees and co-ops can leverage advertising technology that links anonymized/aggregated credit card swipes that are tied to online consumer profiles and devices. This means we can take a couple thousand swipes, load it into an offline/online data onboarding system (Axciom owns one as an example), and measure how many people saw ads and then made an actual purchase. We can also administer control groups, identify the value of the transaction, the frequency of overall transactions, and share of customer wallet against your competition. There is immense value to franchisees and co-ops from this data and it helps optimize ad spend if used in an ongoing fashion.
So many franchisees feel helpless because they don’t have access to loyalty card or app data, because they think their footprint and spend is too small, or because they don’t have the expertise to use advanced tools. This isn’t the case. Franchisees who own large numbers of stores (20–50-plus depending on the franchise) can access the most sophisticated tools available through a reputable agency or advertising technology firm. Those with fewer locations still have access to Google and Facebook, and both of these tools are more sophisticated than any form of advertising available to smaller franchisees in the history of marketing and advertising.
Now is the time to celebrate the advancements we’ve made in advertising measurement and embrace the ability to learn how to use these new tools to get ahead of both the intra-brand and Interbrand competition we all face.