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A Guide to Measuring Brand Awareness Over Time

by Theresa Christine Johnson on 01/09/2018 | 5 Minute Read

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By: the team at Emerson Stone

Measuring brand awareness doesn’t need to be difficult.

Brand awareness is an essential component of building and maintaining a successful business. When it’s strong, it simplifies the customer acquisition process and enables your team to focus on continuously improving your products. You want your brand to be the first thing people think of when they picture your given industry.

As difficult as this can be to attain, measuring brand awareness can be just as challenging. It’s not always clear which metrics are best to use and how accurately those metrics measure your brand awareness. However, the following 5 tactics can help to let you know how you’re doing in building your brand.

1. Monitor Branded Search Terms

One of the best places to start is to monitor branded search terms. These include everything from your company name to the names of various team members.

Measuring the search volume of branded search terms gives a strong benchmark in the changes of interest of your brand. You can use a free tool like Google Trends or a paid tool like SEMRush to keep track of how many people are performing these branded searches about your company and its various elements over a period of time.

This will be good for comparing time periods like your first year in business compared to your second year in business to see how many more people are searching for terms specific to your brand. An increase in search volume for these brand elements is a strong indicator that your brand is gaining traction with your customers. On the other hand, a decline in search volume may be an indicator that awareness of your brand is decreasing. In the case where you start to see a decline in brand awareness, it may be time to invest more heavily in brand-centric marketing, such as display ads or press releases.

2. Leverage Google Analytics

Google Analytics is the ultimate tool for measuring website traffic and can also be one of the best tools for measuring brand awareness. Open up Google Analytics and look at your change in direct traffic over time.

Direct traffic primarily shows the number of people who reached your website by directly typing your URL into the address bar.

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Monitor the number of direct traffic website visitors each month and see how many people are getting to your site by typing in your URL. Anyone typing your URL directly into their browser has a much stronger knowledge of your brand than someone who reaches your site through a search engine or online advertisement.

3. Pay Attention to Brand Mentions

Monitor people who use your Twitter handle, as well as those who simply talk about your brand without directly addressing you. Many individuals won’t address you in conversations about your brand and prefer to talk to their friends and followers without including your handle. These are still valuable conversations to be aware of.

Tools like Mention can help monitor these brand mentions over time and even respond to them if appropriate. It will allow you to identify potential brand ambassadors that you can engage with to help promote your brand, while also alerting you of any negative conversations where you can proactively step in to rectify a situation if necessary.

4. Observe Website Backlinks

A link from another website is a direct endorsement of your business, whether it’s the products you sell, the services you offer, or the content you write. Use a free tool like Google’s Search Console, or a paid tool like Ahrefs to observe the total number of websites who link back to your site.

Not all backlinks are equal. These tools will allow you to see the quality of websites that are linking to you. A link from the New York Times will do far more for building your brand awareness than a link from your friend’s personal blog.

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5. Measure Social Engagement

In today’s internet landscape, social media engagement is arguably the best measure of brand awareness. Social media engagement is the closest you can get to monitoring actual word-of-mouth. As such, this metric is invaluable to measure over time.

Tools like Hootsuite can provide helpful analytical insights on your social media engagement, and you can also monitor activity on your Facebook page directly in Facebook’s Business Manager. Check all the tools you use for social media for the analytics they offer and develop a system to watch your social media engagement across the board.

Additionally, pay attention to your total number of email subscribers to get a sense of how many people enjoy hearing from you on a regular basis. Look at open rates and try different tactics each month to see if you can get those open rates up and keep them up.

Building your brand awareness is the fastest way to grow your business, but the only way people will know about your brand is if you tell them about it and get them talking about it. Build systems to monitor that brand awareness over time to ensure that your company is going in the right direction. Review your levels after each marketing campaign to assess progress and determine if your goals were met and what your next steps are.

Emerson Stone is a product-centric design agency based in Boulder, Colorado. They help brands take their business to the next level through branding, strategic consulting, application development, product development, and much more. If you need help redefining your brand, come explore our branding services to see how we can help you take your business to the next level.

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