Brand awareness gives companies a better understanding of how well their brand is known among potential customers and associated with a specific product or service offering. Even though brand awareness is crucial in the buyers’ journey, it can be undervalued in organisations because its importance is misunderstood and it is seen as notoriously difficult to measure.
The benefits of strong brand awareness include boosting revenue in the short-term while being important for a business’ longevity, it helps shorten sales cycles and increases customer retention because people like doing business with companies they are familiar with.
Brand awareness is that important first step in the sales funnel. So, how do you measure brand awareness and articulate the level that customers are able to recognize your brand, product or service? Here I want to share with you some marketing KPIs that have helped many of my clients measure brand awareness successfully.
Determine Brand Awareness Goals
First things, first. As is the case with any marketing strategy, it’s important to reach consensus on what your company is trying to achieve by building brand awareness. Goals might be to:
Once the brand awareness objectives are agreed, you can develop KPIs to measure the progress you make toward the goals.
Brand Awareness Surveys
Even though brand awareness can be difficult to track, going right to the source—potential customers in your target market—and asking them about your brand through a well-designed survey is one way to determine how effective your brand awareness marketing campaigns really are.
Well-constructed surveys can help you measure brand recognition and recall, identity and image, and trust and loyalty. To ensure your survey results give you a true reflection it should begin with unaided questions—generic questions that don’t provide your brand name—to accurately determine brand recall. For example, a car company would start with an unaided question such as, “When you think of four-door cars, which brands come to mind?”
After you get some results with unaided questions, you can add aided brand recognition questions to the survey to help measure how your brand stacks up against others in your category.
The results from your survey can be used to set your marketing strategy and refine your brand awareness tactics.
Direct Web Traffic
When a user enters your website URL directly into a search bar or gets to your website by using a bookmark, web analytics tools track that as direct web traffic. This can be used as a proxy measure for brand awareness.
The slight complication is that direct traffic also includes traffic that comes from sources that have no referral data, which can slightly skew the numbers. Such sources, sometimes referred to as ‘dark social’ can include referrals from instant messaging apps or emails that don’t include tracking tokens. It is therefore worth reflecting on the numbers and considering how big that chuck might be for you. For example. if you are using email marketing campaigns and they are all tracked then there is usually little to worry about.
As a proxy, if your direct traffic numbers are increasing that generally means that more people know your brand by name therefore your brand awareness is high.
If people are searching for your company by its name or name-brand products, it’s a very clear indicator that they are aware of your brand. Through free online tools such as Moz and Google Analytics you can determine the number of searches being completed using your brand name. Use Google Analytics to see what keywords brought visitors to your site and then you can drill down to see what keywords where included with your brand name.
Social Listening and Reach
Another way to measure brand awareness is to track how often your brand is mentioned in social media channels. A social mention happens when a web source or social media channel uses a certain keyword, hashtag or your brand name. Not only can you monitor brand awareness, but by social listening you can support customer service and learn more about the general attitudes—sentiment analysis—that others have for your brand.
In addition, your social media reach can also provide insight into your organization’s brand awareness. Your reach is an estimate of how many people see your social media updates, including those who see it when someone shares or reposts your content. Tools like branded hashtags, for example, have proven to be successful in boosting the brand awareness of a company. There are several social media monitoring tools that you can use to monitor how your brand is being talked about on social media.
Tracking the media coverage your organisation gets is another way to measure brand awareness in the marketplace. This can include feature articles, podcasts, speeches and more. Setting up Google Alerts to monitor mentions of your brand on the internet is a great place to start tracking media coverage. Beyond that, you can subscribe to media clipping services that can track coverage online as well as off-line, together with more detailed analysis of the potential brand impact of any coverage.
Overall, if the number of potential customers who are able to recall your brand matter to your business, and your goal is to maintain or increase that level, then it is important for you to develop ways to measure brand awareness. Many companies will measure their brand awareness using a number of these measures, if not all of them.
Bernard Marr is a bestselling author, keynote speaker, and advisor to companies and governments. He has worked with and advised many of the world's best-known organisations. LinkedIn has recently ranked Bernard as one of the top 10 Business Influencers in the world (in fact, No 5 - just behind Bill Gates and Richard Branson). He writes on the topics of intelligent business performance for various publications including Forbes, HuffPost, and LinkedIn Pulse. His blogs and SlideShare presentation have millions of readers.