Brand awareness can be defined as the degree to which target consumers recognize a company and the products and/or services it offers.
When I say “McDonalds,” you immediately think of the golden arches, Big Macs, and french fries. When I say “Nike,” you can help but recall the iconic swoosh logo and high-quality athletic gear. This is brand awareness at its fineness.
Every organization wants to increase brand awareness. To do that, you have to learn how to measure it. That way you can evaluate the level of awareness your target market has for your brand and devise strategies to improve it.
In this article, I’ll show you how to do this for your company. Let’s dive in!
Why Measure Brand Awareness?
I get it, you have A LOT going on. Why should you take time out of your busy schedule to measure brand awareness? Because it’s crucial to the success of your company.
Think about it: if your target audience isn’t aware of your brand, they won’t buy from you. They won’t help you spread the word about your products and/or services either. How can they? They’ve never even heard of them before.
When you learn how to measure brand awareness, you’ll also uncover valuable information like how your brand is viewed by your target audience, how attached your customers are to your brand, and how you can improve these things to generate more sales.
5 Strategies to Measure Brand Awareness
Brand awareness means different things to different people. So the first step in the measurement process is to define what brand awareness means to you.
Does it revolve around the number of social media engagements your brand generates? Is it based on the number of deals closed by your sales team? Maybe it’s a combination of things. Define this branding metric for your company, then use the five strategies below to measure it effectively.
1. Analyze Your Website Traffic
Website traffic is a good way to measure brand awareness. Why? Because consumers have to be aware of your brand before they visit your site. By tracking website visits over time, you’ll be able to determine how successful your brand awareness efforts are.
There are two kinds of website traffic you should pay attention to:
Direct traffic refers to the number of people who type your brand name, or the name of one of your products or services, into a search engine. In other words, it’s traffic that’s specifically looking for your company when they log onto the internet.
When analyzing direct traffic, make sure you keep an eye on your bounce rate. In theory, your bounce rate should drop as your brand awareness increases.
Next, measure referral traffic, i.e. traffic that arrives on your site after clicking a link from a third-party website. This metric is also a strong indicator of brand awareness.
You want your referral traffic metrics to increase, of course, as long as they’re increasing in positive ways. That means you want to receive quality referral traffic that’s actually relevant to your brand. Low quality traffic can actually hurt your brand if you’re not careful.
To measure direct and referral traffic, use Google Analytics. If you’re not familiar with this tool, it’s a free app that will help you analyze website performance.
Simply create your Google Analytics account, add the tracking code to your website, wait for the tool to gather data, and then dive into the analysis. This post will show you how.
2. Track Your Social Media Presence
When it comes to increasing brand awareness, it’s tough to beat social media. These free platforms give you access to billions of potential customers around the globe. If you know what you’re doing, they can also be used to measure brand awareness for your company.
First, take a look at your brand’s follower count. As long as you haven’t artificially boosted this number, this is a straightforward way to measure brand awareness.
Then analyze the social media engagements your brand generates. I’m talking about mentions, likes, comments, shares, retweets, video views, etc. Ideally, you’ll see your follower count and your number of social engagements increase over time.
There are multiple tools you can use to measure your social media presence:
- Social Media Analytics: Social media apps like Facebook and Instagram give business users an analytics dashboard to monitor followers and engagements.
- Google Analytics: Use Google Analytics to both monitor website traffic from social media sites and track conversions to understand this traffic’s value.
- Social Media Management Apps: Tools like Buffer, Hootsuite, and SproutSocial allow brands to analyze their social media presences from one convenient place. This is a great option if you already use one of these apps to manage your social profiles.
By tracking your social media presence, you’ll learn who is aware of your brand, what they think of your products and/or services, and how they talk about them online.
3. Study Your Earned Media Value
Earned media refers to the free publicity your brand receives. Unpaid magazine articles, blog interviews, Yelp reviews, and social media mentions all count.
It’s not hard to see how earned media relates to brand awareness. If people are talking about your brand online, they’re obviously aware of it. Plus, they’re making other people aware of it as well by posting articles, reviews, etc. about your offerings.
The key is making sure that people talk about your brand in a positive way, not a negative one. To do this, create great products and offer stellar customer support.
Tracking earned media value is, admittedly, a bit tricky. But here are a few tools that I recommend to help you with the process:
- Buffer: As stated above, this app will help you identify brand mentions on social media. Hootsuite and SproutSocial are two viable alternatives.
- Buzzsumo: This app will help you pinpoint blog content that gets shared on social. Want to know which of your posts performs best? Buzzsumo will tell you.
- Mention: True to its name, Mention will notify you anytime your brand is mentioned on the internet, from social posts to blog articles to online reviews.
- SEMrush: Learn where your backlinks are coming from with SEMrush. Then analyze the backlink portfolios of your competitors to get a better idea of your earned media value.
- Google Trends: This app offers an easy and affordable way to track your brand’s earned media value. Type in a keyword (like your brand name) and view its popularity with Google Trends.
Earned media is a fantastic indicator of brand awareness. But you need to track it to learn where your company stands in this regard and how to improve.
4. Compare Your Share of Voice
Simply put, share of voice measures the “buzz” around your brand and compares it to your competitors. By analyzing this metric, you’ll learn the percentage of total market engagement that your brand receives.
To evaluate your brand’s share of voice, you’ll need to track mentions across a variety of formats including magazine and blog articles, social media, forum conversations, etc.
There are two main ways to track share of voice for your company:
Share of Voice For Social Media
To track your brand’s share of voice (SOV) on social media, find the total number of mentions you and your competitors receive on sites like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. This can be done using one of the tools mentioned in the “Earned Media value” section.
Then divide the number of mentions your brand receives by the number you found in the first step. Here’s an example to help illustrate:
Company X received 39 mentions in the last month, while Company Y Received 22, and Company Z received 86. The total number of mentions equals 147.
We then divide 147 by 100 to get 1.47 and then divide each company’s individual mentions by this number to get our share of voice metric for each brand. Here’s how it shakes out: Company X has 26.5% SOV, Company Y: 15% SOV, and Company Z has 58.5% SOV on social media.
Share of Voice For SEO
Share of voice for SEO is important to track as well. After all, the higher your content ranks in search results, the more people will see it and become aware of your brand.
To find your brand’s SOV for SEO, follow these six steps:
- Choose Your Keywords: Ideally, you’ll choose a large list of keywords that all center around a common theme, such as “construction management software”.
- Choose Your Competitors: Who do you want to compare your SOV against? List these companies—including any and all subdomains.
- Record SERP Rankings: Find where you and your competitors rank for the keywords you’ve chosen. This can be done manually by typing keywords into a search engine, scanning through the results, and recording rankings. But a tool like Moz will make it much quicker. Note: only pay attention to the first 20 search results.
- Choose Your CTR Metrics: The higher your website ranks in search results, the more often it will get clicked. This is important information to know when calculating SOV. Different studies list different average CTRs for each search engine position. Choose the one you want to use. I recommend Backlinko.
- Calculate Share of Voice: Add up ranking percentages for each keyword. For example, if your brand ranks second and tenth, your SOV for that keyword would be 27.8%, based on Backlinko’s average CTR metrics. Then add up your SOV for each keyword, and divide the result by the number of total keywords you analyzed. This will give you your total SOV for the topic your keywords fall into.
5. Send a Survey to Your Target Audience
Finally, you can measure brand awareness by surveying your target audience and analyzing their answers. For example, you can ask website visitors how they found your company. Or ask current customers when they first heard about your brand.
Both of these questions will give you information on where your company stands in its industry. Just don’t overdo it and annoy your audience with too many questions.
You can also ask a random set of people in your target market if they’ve heard of your company before. And if they have, what image does your brand conjure in their minds. You’ll want to run these kinds of surveys on a regular basis.
Brand awareness is vital to the success of your company. By increasing the number of people who know and advocate for your business, you’ll enable your company to grow.
Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to measure brand awareness. The five listed above are a great place to start! Once you begin to implement these strategies, you’ll understand how well-known your company is in its industry and how to improve its visibility in the future.