How to Measure Brand Awareness

Marketing Insights for Professionals

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Monday, April 1, 2019

Brand awareness is the first phase to earning customers' trust. So how do you know if the investment is worthwhile? Here are 10 metrics to measure brand awareness.

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Name a soft drink. A smartphone. Sneakers. You may have thought of famous brands like Coca-Cola, Apple, and Nike. You may even have pictured their logos in your mind. Thinking of purchasing these products today? Brand awareness would create a competitive advantage for the companies involved.

Brand awareness has two important components. Recall: can customers remember your brand name? And recognition: do customers know what your brand looks like? These are two factors in building customer trust, loyalty—and sales.

However, measuring customers’ opinions and memories is never going to be straightforward.

Why is it important to measure brand awareness?

In a CMI study, 81% of marketers said they had worked on increasing brand awareness last year. A recent study by RedC showed that even when searching online, users favored brands they knew. 47% were influenced by brands they had shopped with before, 20% opted for a trusted brand and 15% for a known brand.

Management consultancy McKinsey argues that the way consumers shop continues to evolve. Using technological advantage, brands can now accelerate purchase decisions.

Not to mention that if you invest time in building brand awareness, you’ll surely want to measure if that investment was worthwhile. So, how can you go about it?

10 metrics to measure brand awareness

The best metrics for brand awareness depend on your company and strategy. What are your marketing goals and how do you plan to achieve them? The KPIs you choose must support your strategy and prove whether it’s working.

If you’re working on an e-commerce site, online analytics are key. This is arguably less the case for a chain of restaurants as surveys or social media engagement data may be more valuable. In any case, tracking data over time is crucial to establish a baseline for comparison.

Here are four common approaches and ten brand awareness metrics you may wish to consider.

Customer surveys

One way to find out if consumers are aware of your brand is to ask them. Here are some tips on getting the most out of this approach:

  • Weigh questions carefully and, ideally, test them. Mix aided and unaided questions to measure brand recall and recognition. (Aided here means prompted.)
  • Use lists, scales, and open questions, to make the survey easy to complete. Keep it short: surveys with less than ten questions tend to achieve higher completion rates.
  • Recall and recognition are cognitive questions. Don’t omit questions about emotions and experiences the respondents may have had with your brand. This will give you a more rounded understanding.
  • Pay attention to demographics. Are you asking the right people? Is your customer base shifting?
  • Value your respondents’ time. What inventive ideas do you have to incentivize your survey? What can you do to make the experience more enjoyable? What is the most effective call to action for your audience?

Brand awareness can be due to positive or negative publicity. A survey is an excellent opportunity to find out what your customers think. Do their perceptions match up with the brand personality and values you want to project?

Metrics:

1. Unaided brand awareness. For example: can the respondents remember your brand name or logo without a prompt?
2. Aided brand awareness. For example, can the respondents pick out your brand name or logo from a list of options?

Web analytics

Visitors who come directly to your website, i.e. not via a search engine, have to know your brand name to type it into the address bar. Google Analytics lets you analyze this data, via the Acquisitions menu. You can also set conversion goals and track them over time. A conversion doesn’t have to be a sale, but might be someone leaving their contact details.

Tools such as Google Trends or Keyword Planner allow you to see how many people are searching for your brand name. This is another clear indicator of brand recall.

A paid search campaign for branded keywords can be a worthwhile investment too. Displaying ads for your brand gives you additional data—and makes it less of an open goal for any crafty competitors.

Metrics:

3. Direct traffic (unique visitors). How many people come directly to your site?
4. Search volume. How many people are searching for your brand name?
5. Click-through rate from paid search ads. How many people are searching for your brand name and then clicking through to your landing page?

Social media engagement

Social metrics are key to measuring brand awareness. 37% of global consumers turn to social networks for purchase inspiration, so this is likely to have an impact on other KPIs too. If you’re marketing abroad, this figure goes up to 52% in China and 70% in the United Arab Emirates.

Luckily, social media sites give you access to a wide range of data. As well as measuring how many times your brand is mentioned, social listening techniques can analyze whether views expressed are positive or negative.

Social media users may act on your content, whether through sharing, liking or commenting. This, in turn, will cause your brand to be seen by a wider audience, extending your ‘reach’. The more users follow your brand, the more people you can expect to see your next post. As each impression builds brand awareness, this is one of the easiest areas to measure.

Metrics:

6. Volume of brand mentions. How many times does your brand name appear? Is the publicity positive or negative?
7. Engagement. How often are people liking, following, commenting and sharing content about your brand?
8. Share of voice. How do your stats compare to your competitors?

Press mentions

Earned media (as opposed to owned media) can amplify your marketing efforts by getting your name out on a large scale. Measuring media coverage is a well-established route of measuring brand awareness.

Setting up Google Alerts for your branded keywords is a simple and free way of doing this. There are also paid-for media monitoring tools, which can combine online and offline tracking.

Metrics:

9. Number of mentions and shares. How often is your brand talked about?
10. Share of voice/share of impressions. How do your stats compare to your competitors?

Brand awareness is the first step to earning customers’ trust and more than one in three consumers worldwide said that ‘trust in brand’ was one of the top factors in influencing their purchase choices. So it’s worthwhile investing in your brand reach and working out how to measure it.

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