Case Studies | Analytics

Franchise Company – New Customer Acquisition on Facebook

The Challenge

A franchise company with more than 800 locations across the United States came to BFO with a need: acquire new customers within a target audience and given radius of their franchise brick-and-mortar locations. The franchise company challenged us to build a paid media program that was an affordable – and profitable – investment for the franchise owners.

The Solution

As we sat down with our paid media team, we analyzed the two needs:

  1. Acquire new customers that match the target audience
  2. Build a program that corporate can pitch to the franchisees and gain buy-in

There are few platforms that can match the personalization capabilities of Facebook. For this company, the target audience needed to be within a given age and be interested in key topics that pertained to the franchise. Facebook gave us these options and more.

On top of being a fantastic personalization platform, Facebook offered us the affordability needed to pitch marketing to franchise owners. Where paid search can get a bit pricey, Facebook can keep costs down if you know your audience well.

We started with three test regions, each with varying populations and concentrations of franchise locations. We used Facebook’s audience analysis capabilities to build creative that spoke to that target audience, and we switched this creative out once a month.

We ended up taking two approaches to new customer acquisition:

  1. Target people who have not engaged with the brand on Facebook. To do this, we leveraged each location’s customer list and excluded that audience to ensure we were reaching new eyes.
  2. We leveraged the franchise’s referral program to target current customers and encourage them to refer a friend. To do this, we again used each location’s customer list, but this time, we only targeted current customers and used a promotion to encourage new customer referrals.

The Results

Facebook Targeting Capabilities Landed us WAY Below our Target CPL
At the beginning of the engagement, our franchise client told us we needed to shoot for a $35 CPL (cost per reservation) or lower. In each of our test regions, we landed well below this target.


Referral Program was the REAL Success!
As mentioned, we ran two campaigns for each region. One targeted users who had never heard of the franchise, and one leveraged the franchise’s current customer base to encourage opting into a referral program. The results surprised us!

The referral program proved to be the most profitable program. By and large, users who had a history with the brand name were more apt to engage in a campaign on the Facebook platform.

Over the course of our three-month test, 95% of reservations (the most important conversion point for our franchise client) booked through our Facebook campaigns came from the referral program!

Data Studio Dashboards Provided Real-Time Results for Hands-On Franchisees
We wanted to get real-time data into the franchisee’s hands. This was a big investment for a small business owner, so it was imperative they had access to ROI in real time. Google’s Data Studio dashboard proved to be a perfect solution for this. We created a visually appealing dashboard that called out the metrics that meant the most to our franchise owners.



“Working with franchises presents unique challenges to other clients we work with. Because the client is a group of individual small business owners, ROI and being able to illustrate the impact on their individual business is key. One thing we try to do at BFO is avoid a cookie-cutter approach to projects and instead build one that makes sense for the client. In this case, being able to deliver location-specific results was a priority, and between Facebook’s targeting capabilities and Google Data Studio’s real-time dashboard capabilities, we were able to build a program that earned buy-in and engagement from the franchisees.”