Transparency In Digital Media: It’s Better For Everyone


A math problem: Your franchisees are likely paying somewhere around $300/month to an agency to manage their digital media.  Digital media is a sizable – but essential –  expense for most franchisees, who may be investing several thousand dollars per month expecting to see a positive return on their investment. So what happens to media ROI when instead of $2,000 being spent on Google Search Ads and other high-performing digital media, the agency spends $1,000 on media and takes the rest of the media budget as margin?

The answer of course is that media ROI is 50% lower than it should be.  Okay, it’s simple arithmetic, so it’s not really a math problem — but it is a problem, and an unfortunately-common problem in the franchise media industry. What’s worse is that many clients are not aware this is happening.

While franchising is a big business, individual franchisees are small businesses, and like any small business, they can struggle when they’re starting out — sometimes exacerbated by the way franchising makes starting a business easier than it might otherwise be. Estimates vary, and each franchise brand will have different success ratios, but around a third of franchisees fail within their first four years of operation: and during those crucial early years, every penny needs to be accounted for. Being able to make informed strategic decisions on a small budget is key to ensuring the future success of your franchise.

For a new franchisee getting their business off the ground, partnerships are key. That’s why they opted for a franchise location rather than an independent business to begin with, of course — franchising gives a small business owner a national partner, with all the strength and weight and experience that comes with it. That’s the same reason businesses partner with someone else for their marketing — they want to benefit from the weight of experience that company brings to the table. And when partnering with someone for your digital media, you want that partnership to be a true partnership, one based around equality, open communication, and — most importantly of all — transparency.

You want to link up with partners who share in your desire for your business to succeed, partners that know a rising tide lifts all boats. The best marketing partnerships aren’t about one-off campaigns and short-term spending, they’re about ensuring a relationship with longevity and room to grow.

There’s no denying that finding a partner is necessary, though. New franchisees are building a lot of aspects of a business from the ground up, all at the same time — hiring, construction, selecting locations, dealing with landlords, ensuring quality control, scheduling, and more. Dealing with Google Ads, paid search, social media marketing campaigns, and more is a sea of numbers, metrics, strategies, and industry best practices that a new franchisee isn’t going to be familiar with.

There are a lot of different quirks and nuances to dealing with online ad traffic. Do you know if your pageviews are showing up properly if your homepage opens in Facebook’s in-app browser instead of Chrome? Do you know what sort of click through rate suggests your ads are effective? Do you know how to identify whether users are bouncing from your page too soon?

All these and more are questions a solid media partner can help you navigate – and they’re also places where an unscrupulous partner can use that confusion to pad out their own budgets. We know, however, that that sort of approach is a short-sighted one. New franchisees might seem like an “easy mark” for a quick cash injection, but then the franchisee’s business is going to fail — and you can’t get revenue from a business that’s been replaced by a Spirit Halloween store.

From the standpoint of a marketing partner, the best long-term business strategy is one of maximum transparency. If you’re trying to hide numbers from a client, then you can’t communicate openly about what is and isn’t working, and effective strategies for improvement. Most importantly of all, though, a successful client means a longer and more reliable revenue stream for their media partner.

When Balihoo sees a 9:1 return on ad spend with our clients, that is a client that’s likely to spend more with us — both because it’s working, and because they’ve now got the money available to do it. When another client sees the click-through-rate on their ads increase by 44%, we can communicate that win to them openly, because we’re not trying to hold back information.

When one of our veterinary clients sees a cost-per-booking reduction of 60%, that means healthier margins for their business, which helps guarantee our partnership can continue across years of profitability.

But you don’t have to take our word for it. If you’re wondering about your franchisees’ media performance, ask your current partner to lift the curtain and show you the Google Ads report. Hopefully every dollar is accounted for. Every dollar unaccounted for is a potential missed sale or lost customer.

Building a reputation for transparency isn’t a marketing ploy, or “virtue signaling.” It’s the smartest way to do business, for everybody involved. If you’d like to talk to us more about our transparency guarantee, or if you’d like to see what we can do for your local marketing, contact us today.

Written by
Sean Kelly, Senior Content Writer

Sean Kelly is a Senior Content Specialist, St. Louis-based engagement expert with 20 years of experience in content writing, and 8 years in adtech.

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