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Why franchises hate the Dallas Cowboys

Now that I asked that, let me clarify. I’m sure there are plenty of franchises headquartered in Texas for whom their employees love the Cowboys. (They were America’s team in the 90s after all!)

There are even franchises that have partnerships with the Cowboys, so I guess they’re big fans as well.

So what am I talking about?

In August 2014 (and presumably every August for the last little while and into the foreseeable future), Forbes released its analysis of the most valuable NFL Franchises. And believe it or not, guess who’s always sitting on the top of the list, the Cowboys.

Forbes Ten Most Valuable NFL Franchises

When Forbes releases this analysis, the U.S. is abuzz with people fascinated with the rankings. They’re so interested that Google searches for sports franchises in those few days absolutely skyrockets. Take a look at what we were able to detect from August 15th - 22nd:

Effect of Forbes Article on Searches for

In one day, searches for "franchise" went up 40%!

So what’s the issue with this? Isn't that a good thing?

Well, as we’ve covered, a huge part of the way that franchises drive traffic to their websites is by using Search Engine Marketing (SEM) - i.e., Google AdWords. Franchises all over the nation spend lots of money trying to drive people to their site looking for information on opening a franchise by targeting the search term “franchise.”

And generally, the people searching for that term are interested in opening a franchise. But, for one week every August, the people searching for franchises have absolutely no desire to learn about the benefits of opening one of your locations, they just want to know how much the Cowboys are worth that year!

So, for a franchise lead generator like yourself, this begs a few questions:

  1. If people are searching for NFL Franchise Values, why do they click on my ads anyway? (If you remember, Google is a CPC platform) Great question! Oh the internet... If only we knew why people clicked what. This is the great mystery of search engines. The easy answer here is that people don’t really know what they’re doing when they click things. People just click to click. Think about the last time you were browsing the web for something. You likely got lost a few times just clicking a few things that looked interesting.
  2. How do I know when things like this happens?Another great question. And unfortunately I don’t have a good answer either. Search engine marketing is fickle. You could spend time in your AdWords account or take a look around Google Trends. As much time as you spend trying to get Google to work for you, you probably need to spend an equal amount of time making sure it doesn’t work _against _you. If you keep your eye on the key stats every day, you’ll learn to detect when things like this happen.
  3. How do I prevent my franchise from spending lots of unnecessary money when this happens? Ah! Finally one that I can answer. Negative matching. Google allows you the ability to match keywords, but they also allow you the ability to NOT MATCH keywords. For example, your franchise may decide to go after the keyword “franchise.” However, you can decide that you want to negative match “sports” meaning that any search that includes the word “sports” will not show one of your ads. However, keep in mind you need to negative match everything you want to exclude. So you may find yourself negative matching “Sports” “Cowboys” “Football” “Forbes” etc. Read about AdWords' various keyword matching options.

So there it is. Franchises absolutely can’t stand the Cowboys. (Neither can I, but that’s not important right now.) They exist solely to mess with your perfectly planned SEM efforts. Ok, maybe not, but such is the life of a franchise lead generator.

Have questions about how search behavior affects franchise lead gen? What about negative matching? Click here and ask us.


We've recently posted an update to this piece with a new analysis of the ongoing Google keyword battle between franchises and the NFL!

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