How do you measure brand awareness?

Some experts believe that measuring brand awareness is a meaningless exercise, an accumulation of metrics that have no relation to returning on investment. On the other hand, some argue that constantly reminding consumers of the brand and product is enough to get them to buy, drifting from one extreme to the other.

No one expects Manchester United fans to immediately buy a Chevrolet because the brand appears on the players’ jerseys. But the automaker pays $71.4 million a year for the privilege, reports The benefit of Chevrolet is that when a potential customer is thinking about buying a car, the deal with Manchester United increases the likelihood that they will remember the brand and consider buying a vehicle.

But how can awareness be measured? Here are some ways to measure the importance of brand awareness:

  1. Survey – Whether you survey via email, website, phone or in person, you can ask customers where they have heard of the brand. You can find out from randomly selected people if they have heard of the brand. There are diverse ways – with a PR or market research agency, through a social media campaign, in sales calls with potential customers and partners. Conduct this research periodically – so you can track the changes that occur in response to your efforts. Keep your target audience and geographic location the same. Selecting people who are not relevant to your marketing goals puts you at high risk of drawing the wrong conclusions. This type of research costs the most time and money, but the return on the proper outcome and insights fully justifies the investment.
  2. Investigate direct traffic growth – Measure the direct traffic coming to the site. Examining the deviation of direct traffic over some time will give you insight into brand awareness increase. The more people remember a brand, the more likely they type its name directly into the search bar (or, more broadly, proactively visit the site). Don’t get carried away by the ups and downs of the ratio direct to other traffic. Instead, compare the amount of direct traffic to another period. Be careful which periods you compare if sales are seasonal.
  3. Research your followers on social media – Assuming that most people follow your company profile because they care and like it gives you a pretty good picture of brand awareness. And it also means that those people are likely to see the content more often and are less likely to forget who the company is and what it does. Keep an eye on the reach of your published content and use this metric to schedule posts to optimize brand awareness. If posting at a specific time of day results in better reach, keep that in mind for future posts. 
  4. Track your share of public mentions and impressions – You can track your organic share of mentions by analyzing your top keywords. This way, you will also be aware of the performance of your main competitors. For social media share-of-voice tracking, report the total number of mentions of your business and your competitors, then calculate what percentage of all mentions are attributed to your brand. A proper tactic to measure this is to analyze your share of voice and your share of impressions over time. While brand mentions focus on how many people are talking about the company (and what they’re saying), this type of measurement also considers that people talk about your competitors, too. Metrics like paid and organic referrals are taken into account. Earned media value – a highly controversial metric over the last 10 to 15 years, provides insight into the financial dimension of an acquired media presence. It makes a difference in certain cases – when the quality rather than the quantity of coverage is considered, e.g., what proportion of all content contains more than 80% of the brand’s key messages.
  5. Analysis of feedback – Both organic feedback and feedback resulting from the implementation of marketing and PR strategies. These two different types of feedback provide diverse information. An increase in organically acquired backlinks means that the content is well received and perceived as valuable, and the site is considered trustworthy and credible. If this metric is low, it’s possible that the right audience just hasn’t found you yet. One of the reasons for this could be underdeveloped SEO activity or weak social media marketing. Or it could be due to an insufficient type of content or an unreliable website.
  6. Monitor content performance – “Shares” and “Likes” are metrics that can identify specific trends and provide insights into the implementation of brand awareness strategies. Analyzing awareness campaigns isn’t just about counting the people who recognise the brand. It’s also about being clear about which blog posts, videos, and social media content have been successful and how they’ve helped increase awareness. And it’s that simple when you look at how people are responding.

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