Brand awareness. A concept that’s always on the mind of brand managers. They know what it is and have strategies on how they can increase it, but measuring brand awareness accurately is something that splits the marketing world.
The thing is, brand awareness is a vague concept — especially for the more numbers-driven marketers amongst us. No matter how much we would like to avoid dealing with brand awareness, with its oversaturated markets and overflowing competition, the modern world has made it a necessary KPI.
These days, you're competing with similar brands who are looking to convert the same target audience as you — not to mention dealing with customer reviews online, which can be positive or very negative.
See, your once loyal customer base can now be very fickle. They're open to other product/service solutions and easily impressionable.
Also, they're more likely to listen to their peers about your brand, including both positive and negative mentions. These points also come into play when searching for new audiences. But is it possible to reliably measure brand awareness?
The answer is yes.
This article outlines five effective strategies for measuring brand awareness, brought to you by marketing professionals who have benefited personally from each one.
5 Ways Your Company Can Begin Measuring Brand Awareness
1. Google Search Console
“The best way to measure brand awareness is to use data collected from Google Search Console", Antti Alatola, Marketing Director at Cashcow, told us.
“Let's say you do a TV campaign to promote your brand. If your clicks and impressions on the search console are going up, your brand has increased its awareness. This is an excellent way ofmeasuring offline campaigns. Usually, if these offline campaigns are boosting your brand performance, you will see an increase in your SEO performance as well.”
Like Antii said, the impression and click information that you can glean from Google Search Console is crucial. According to Google, measuring impressions is especially important in branding campaigns. Why? Because it shows how many people actually saw your campaign.
This will be important when considered together with the click-through rate to see if your campaigns are making the impact you hoped for. If you're using Search Console to measure brand awareness, Google recommends creating a cost-per-thousand-impressions campaign so you'll pay based on impressions rather than clicks.
Source: Search Engine Watch
One tip for measuring clicks is to try to keep your CTR at 1% or higher, as click-through rates in Search Console can be lower.
Filip Silobod, Founder at Honest Marketing, has also experienced the benefits of Google Search Console for measuring brand awareness.
“The best thing about Search Console”, said Filip, “is that it provides data for brand searches just one day after. For example, I had a client who experienced a drop in organic traffic compared to the same month last year. When I dug deeper, I saw that the brand search numbers were much higher last year. The reason why they had more brand traffic last year was that they launched significant email and social media campaigns. They didn't do the same this year so their traffic and brand search is down.”
2. Social Media Reach
There are 3.5 billion people using social media worldwide — 45% of the current population. Most likely, you're using at least one social media platform to share information about your brand.
If so, take the advice of Kasia Majewska, Marketing Executive at Napoleon Cat, and use social media reach as a means of brand awareness measurement.
“If you want to measure the brand awareness spread via social media content”, Kasia told us, “it's great to look at reach. Reach is especially important in the case of Instagram. When likes were publicly visible, it was all about engagement rates but since Instagram users don't feel the pressure to double-tap content anymore, it’s actually more accurate to look at reach."
Kasia continues, saying: “I recommend checking reach for each and every post, analyzing the peaks and valleys, and shaping best practices according to the most successful results. You can then use the data as a basis for increasing brand awareness. By knowing your reach, you'll be able to decide on the best hours to post, the best performing hashtags, or simply, the most contagious content.”
3. Track Mentions
At WDA Automotive, they use Google Trends to measure brand awareness. This strategy benefits the company by allowing them to stay on top of brand mentions and see how their brand name performs generally.
They use this data to analyze what they're doing, what's working well, and what needs changing.
What Google Trends does is essentially tracking mentions of your brand — what people are saying about you online. If people are talking about you, they know who you are. Whether what they are saying is good or bad is a topic for another article...
However, these mentions can be used to discover information like where the people who are talking about you are located or how they perceive your brand. You can also use Google Trends to see how well your competitors are performing against your brand.
Tracking mentions is also a good way to see how many people are linking to your site without you asking and how many people are sharing your posts.
Kan Huang, Head of Digital Marketing at Box Advisory Services, also advocated tracking mentions, especially earned mentions in the press and other publications. Kan’s team has been successful in earning exposure on Prospa, MYOB, Accountants Daily, and UNSW. This is what tracking earned media means to him:
“Brand awareness is notoriously difficult to measure ROI for because it's difficult to attribute growth in business directly with a particular strategy. However, the method we've decided to focus tracking on gives us the ability to measure whether a particular strategy is working or not."
“We believe social proof and being positioned as a key person of influence in the industry is an important component of brand awareness. By having exposure to mainstream media and PR, you're basically telling people that other media bodies and businesses see you as an 'expert’ in your niche. We not only measure our brand awareness this way but this tactic generally leads to a more qualified lead that's further down the sales "pipeline" so to speak. This, in turn, helps us tremendously with our ability to close and better convert leads.”
4. Use Brand Tracking Software
One of the biggest issues in brand marketing today is that everybody is guessing. Consumer companies invest more than one trillion dollars a year in marketing and advertising, but they often still base the bulk of their campaigns on gut feeling rather than hard fact.
They don’t want to guess anymore — they want to know exactly how their brand is performing in important areas. This is why brand and marketing managers read articles like this one on measuring brand awareness.
Keep an eye out for a brand analytics platform that provides an analytics tool stack similar to what Google Analytics provides for digital marketers. Such a platform is equipped with an intuitive dashboard where brand awareness can be measured in terms of how target audiences are reacting to your brand, the impact your brand campaigns are having, and how your competitors are performing.
Jake Mellett, Head of Brand & Product Marketing at iwoca, is a fan of using external means to measure brand awareness.
“We measure the success of our campaigns by evaluating the effect they have on brand awareness and brand perception between surveys. We can see if a campaign has improved our brand awareness amongst small business owners or there has been a meaningful shift in perception. It's not an exact science though. We're often running a few ideas and it can be tricky to tie it back to an individual channel (i.e. was the effect because of PR or the ATL campaign) - so we often run local tests and then see if we see uplifts in regions where we're focusing activity vs. those where we're not.”
If there aren’t enough reviews online to garner information, go straight to the source yourself. Surveys are a great way to discover if a certain demographic is aware of your brand.
Plus, there is a lot of flexibility with surveys: you can send surveys to a specific target audience, you can ask specific questions, and they can be online or offline, whatever suits your product/service best.
However, if you do decide to go down the survey route to measure brand awareness, having a clear strategy is crucial.
Award-winning personal branding specialist, Lauren Clemett, spoke to us about using surveys to measure brand awareness.
She said: “Poll, focus groups, and surveys can also be used to measure general brand awareness, but without a strategy or measurement process, these are unreliable. The best way to measure brand awareness is to be clear about your strategy, set measures in place before launching a brand campaign, and measure during and after to track brand awareness. This is essential with rebranding, as we know there are many failures in this area.”
There are some other things you need to keep in mind if you choose to use surveys to measure brand awareness:
Choose the right respondents for your survey. Sending it to the general population instead of your target audience will just bring useless results.
Make it fun to complete. A survey needs to be easily understandable and a reasonable length if you want respondents to complete it.
Make it mobile-friendly. Again, you need to aim for completions.
There you have it — brand awareness. It doesn't have to be a scary KPI or one which entails a guessing game to determine results. There are ways to reliably measure how you are performing in terms of brand awareness.
Dig into a few of the options mentioned in the article and determine which one best suits your brand.