May 2023 · 11 Min Read
You know that brand? The one that roasts coffee beans and sells them in the local supermarket? Too vague? Not if you’re thinking about how to measure brand awareness. Whichever brand you’re thinking of has brand awareness. We know that because you clearly know they exist and you associate them with coffee beans. What we don’t know is how much brand awareness they have overall. How many people know they exist and in what context?
How to measure brand awareness is a conundrum for any size business. We’re going to show you that’s it’s possible, even for smaller businesses and you’re going to discover why it’s important. Let’s start with a simple question: What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is a measure of the familiarity consumers and other stakeholders have with your brand or your products and services. Your business has brand awareness if people know you exist but like lots of things in life and business, there’s a scale.
Brand awareness starts with brand recall, evolves to brand recognition and eventually conquers the world with brand dominance. OK, it’s not quite that simple but we’ll go into more detail later in this article. Before that, it’s time to get the measuring tape out.
Sandra knew how important it was to be visible. “Brand equity”, they said. “Build your brand”, they said. “What about brand marketing?” they said. They said a lot of things but what they didn’t say was how to measure brand awareness. Knowing how important it was, Sandra got out her measuring tape and extended it as far as it would go. Now, all she had to do was put it in the right place. Thankfully, Sandra doesn’t exist and nobody would be that silly but her question was important. How do you measure brand awareness?
”Do you know who I am?” Sounds like an over-egotistical, wannabe celebrity being told they’re not allowed into a club but it’s also one of the most important questions to ask when you’re measuring brand awareness. Brand awareness surveys are some of the simplest and most effective measurement tools available to all businesses.
Depending on your goal, you can either ask existing customers, prospects who have somehow reached your website or complete strangers about your brand. That way, you can discover how customers and prospects found you, check what associations they have with your brand and see whether complete strangers have even heard of you.
To conduct surveys, you could involve a PR agency, offer direct incentives on your website or ask questions via social media campaigns. If you’re asking current customers about your brand, be careful not to make it too complicated or to ask too often. Customers are usually happy to take part in surveys once in a while, especially if there’s an extra incentive like a discount, but if you bombard them with surveys, you could quickly annoy them.
At the last count, as an alternative to counting sheep to get to sleep, Louisa calculated 3,521 website analytics companies. Honestly, we don’t know how many are available but there are a lot. Google Analytics is still probably the most well-known. You can use it to check statistics on how many people visit each page of your website, how they arrive on each page, how long they stay there and a plethora of other things. The data is even better if you link to the Google Search Console.
To measure brand awareness, keep an eye on what visitors are searching for, as well as simple changes in the quantity of traffic. If visitors are directly typing in your brand name or a complete, associated URL into the address bar, you’re seen as an exciting option for whatever it is they’re looking for. If they’re typing in a product or service and click through to your site, it could indicate brand awareness too but not on the same scale.
How many people are following you on social media? This can seem like a vanity metric. Having more followers doesn’t necessarily equate to gaining more customers or even to receiving more interactions on social media posts but it’s still worth keeping an eye on. You can pay for followers on lots of sites but as well as that being against most social media companies’ terms and conditions, it also creates skewed data.
What you’re assessing is how many people have heard about your brand, are interested in your brand and want to hear more about it. The more people who follow you, the more likely it is that they know who you are and have some level of brand awareness. If that number is increasing regularly over time, so is your brand awareness.
Of course, followers can sit idle for a long time and they may have forgotten about you. That’s why it’s just as important to keep an eye on interaction metrics such as likes, comments and post shares.
Social listening sounds a little like eavesdropping, don’t you think? If we’re honest, it is but in a digital landscape. Although we might discourage it in civil society, it can be a useful tool for measuring brand awareness. You can see when you’re being mentioned, by whom and to what extent.
Social listening allows you to see what people say to each other about your products, services or brand. You can assess people’s thoughts on a particular campaign, on your stance towards a current event or on your position within an industry. It’s important to be clear about what you’re looking out for with social listening as there can be a lot of data to sift through.
You don’t have to spend lots of money to do social listening. There are several free tools, including Google Alerts, and Tweet Deck. They capture more noise than paid tools like Clarabridge and Hootsuite and have less analytics but for basic single-channel awareness, they work well.
If you use any kind of social media or search engine advertising, you can see exactly how many people click on your advertisements. As well as measuring the specific effectiveness of each ad, this can also be a measurement of your brand awareness. We’re big fans of Duolingo at Puck Creations as it’s not just the English language we love. It would be much easier for Duolingo to get us to click on an ad than for a language brand we’ve never heard of or we don’t like.
With content that connects and compels
It’s not easy to become popular enough to be trending on Google Trends but it’s worth keeping an eye on, especially to see if a big marketing campaign or PR push has increased your brand awareness. Even if you’re not competing with the big news events of the day, you can use Google Trends to see how many people are searching for your brand name and how those numbers change over time. Check the number of searches before, throughout and after a campaign to see what changes.
A lot of the techniques you use to measure your brand awareness can help to measure your competitors’ brand awareness too. One of the reasons for increasing brand awareness is the competitive edge you get from being the consumer choice for the products and services you sell, so it’s important to see how you’re faring against the competition.
This doesn’t mean you should copy them if they have better brand recall or recognition but it does mean you might want to reassess your brand awareness strategy. Is your messaging as clear, consistent and relevant as it could be? Are you showcasing the parts of you that make you stand out? Have you been networking in the right places online and in real life? It’s also important to remember that you don’t always have to be number one in the market. If you’re appealing to your audience and you’re building a strong brand reputation with the people you want to buy from you, you’re doing well.
When it comes to your website and SEO (search engine optimisation), getting backlinks from other websites is seen as a referral of trust. It says that the other website is willing to associate itself with your brand. The more websites you get backlinks from, the quicker your brand awareness will increase. Use the “links” section in Google Search Console to how many backlinks you have and where they’re coming from.
You can’t control where your backlinks come from, just like you can’t control who refers you in other walks of life but be careful. Too many backlinks from disreputable sources is not a good look and can get you blacklisted on search engines. Don’t try to increase your brand awareness by paying for backlinks or by asking for backlinks from websites that don’t align with your values.
The easiest measurement of brand awareness is the number of customers who are buying from you. Compare it to previous sales periods and see if you’re doing better or worse. Like all the metrics in this list, customer numbers are not enough on their own to measure brand awareness but they are one of the clearest indicators you’ll find. Just remember a new customer may have been aware of your brand for a long time before they bought from you.
If we were to say “vacuum cleaner” and asked you to list three brands who sell that type of product, you could probably list two easily and struggle to remember a third. This is an unprompted question.
If we were to ask “which of these brands sell vacuum cleaners?” and list Apple, Meta, Hoover, Dyson, Philips, Sage, Bissell and Miele, you could probably name a few easily but you might struggle with the rest. This is a prompted question.
If a lot of consumers are remembering your brand unprompted, it means your connection to a particular market is strong. It doesn’t mean your brand is weak if consumers need prompts to recall you but it might mean you need to spend a little more time making sure you’re visible to your audience.
Brand awareness encompasses several brand related terms. Brand recall and brand recognition are two of the most important. Brand recall is a test of how well a consumer remembers a brand and how closely it correlates to a particular market segment. Brand recognition assesses the connection between characteristics such as logos, slogans and jingles to your brand name. Both measure how much attention consumers are paying to your brand.
Although brand awareness isn’t a guarantee of sales, it does help you to stand out in a crowd. Becoming a preferred brand and gaining loyal customers is the goal but without brand awareness, you’ll never get there. Consumers need to know you exist. The more aware of your brand they are, the more likely it is they’ll test your products and the higher chance you’ll have of creating a customer relationship that stands the test of time. If you measure your brand awareness, you can see what’s going well and what needs improvement.
Now you know how to measure brand awareness, you’re going to want to increase it. That’s much easier to do when your brand is delivering a clear, consistent, relevant message that stands out. To achieve that, you need to define your brand. When everyone on your team understands why you’re in business, who your core audience is and what your core values truly mean, your suppliers, collaborators and customers will too.
For a clear, consistent, relevant message that stands out.
A.) There are many ways to measure brand awareness and the best one depends on your business. One of the most comprehensive measurements is the use of surveys. They give you the opportunity to ask prompted and unprompted brand related questions to see where your brand sits in the wider market.
A.) Many marketers refer to brand recall, brand recognition and brand dominance as the three types of brand awareness. Brand recall is a simple test of existence. Brand recognition connects characteristics like logos and slogans to a brand. Brand dominance is the point where the mention of a product or a market is synonymous with a particular brand. Think Google or Post-it notes.
A.) There are many ways to measure brand awareness but 3 of the most common are surveys, social listening and website analytics.
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