What do you think of when you hear the words “laundry detergent?” What about soft drinks? Fast food? Computers? Cars? Your answers probably looked something like: Tide, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, and Apple.
That’s brand awareness in action.
Brand awareness, or the extent to which consumers know and recognize your brand, is critical in today’s crowded digital marketplaces. Consumers are inundated with advertisements and other brand messages every hour of every day.
Without established brand awareness in your industry, you’ll be constantly battling uphill for their attention.
So how do you know if your company has brand awareness? And how do you work to establish and grow it? In this article we’ll cover 4 ways to measure brand awareness as well as actionable ways to start increasing it.
- Brand awareness drives many of the important factors brands use to assess marketing strategies, including organic traffic and word-of-mouth marketing.
- Higher percentages of organic vs. paid web traffic is a good indicator that high SERP rankings are creating brand awareness.
- High branded search volume is a good sign that consumers are searching specifically for your brand.
- Organic share of voice shows how visible your brand is compared to others on SERPs for brand-relevant keywords and topics.
What is brand awareness and why is it important?
Brand awareness is the level at which consumers naturally recognize your brand. When you measure brand awareness, you look beyond your established customer base to understand how well your brand is known in your industry and the general consumer marketplace at large.
Think about the examples we used at the start of this article. It doesn’t matter if you’re actually a Tide, Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, or Apple customer. Either way, you know those brands — you recognize their name and logo, and you know what they offer.
The truth is, of course, that most brands will never come close to reaching the level of brand awareness those examples have achieved over decades. But you can and must achieve it in your own niche market and your own direct industry. Brand awareness drives organic traffic, conversions, and sales. It ultimately becomes a main force behind the continued growth of your business.
Companies across industries are seeing the importance of brand awareness and building it into their strategic plans. Digital marketing platform Bynder found in their 2020 State of Branding Report found that 43% of marketers named “growing brand awareness” their number one goal for the year.
The first step to growing and maintaining high levels of brand awareness is to measure it frequently. When you do, you’re able to recognize gaps and opportunities and implement the right strategies to increase your brand awareness over time.
4 Ways to Measure Brand Awareness
Paid vs. organic search traffic
Organic search traffic is web traffic not driven by paid advertising efforts. It comes directly from algorithmic search results achieved through content marketing and SEO web strategies. It’s also a good way to measure brand awareness by seeing how you rank on search engines.
Why do search engine rankings matter to brand awareness? Today 93% of all online experiences start on a search engine. This means when people look for brands, they’re going to Google. Brands must appear in search engine results in order to gain recognition with consumers.
The best way to measure brand awareness using organic search traffic metrics is to compare organic vs. paid search traffic. Higher percentages of organic search traffic indicates better brand awareness.
Organic traffic percentages vary across industries, but recent research by BrightEdge found that it’s driving about 53% of all web traffic on average.
The good news is that even if you find your organic traffic share is low, there are ways you can start to improve that metric right away. Because organic traffic is driven primarily by search engines, the most effective way to increase it is by creating content that aligns with Google’s ranking factors.
Some quick tips:
- Make your content keyword-driven
- Focus on content and topics that are high-value for your audience
- Optimize your content for mobile
- Pay attention to site structure and user experience
Branded search volume
Branded search volume indicates the amount of search traffic generated from branded keywords. In other words, branded search traffic comes from queries where consumers were looking for your brand specifically.
Branded search volume indicates that people know to look for your brand when they need related products or services.
Think of it this way: people conduct online searches to have their questions answered and look for solutions to problems. If consumers are looking for your brand to do either of those things, they already have an idea of what you do, which means you have established brand awareness with them.
You can conduct a branded search audit to learn how much branded search traffic you’re getting and how it’s making a larger impact. Then you can take specific steps to increase branded traffic through tactics like organizing your branded keywords and capitalizing on high-intent keywords.
Here’s how Wayfair did it (really well):
Brand awareness surveys
Businesses can measure brand awareness with surveys aimed at learning how well consumers recognize their brand. These surveys look to a target group that expands beyond a brand’s current customer base. For some brands it could be the general population, for others it could be defined by geography (especially for local brands), and for others it could be defined by products and services.
For example, a multinational wine company might survey wine drinkers of a certain type (i.e. red vs. white) or a certain age that falls within their target customer profile. A local brewery may survey beer drinkers in a specific geographic region. It’s important to survey the right target group in order to yield results that are accurate.
Brand awareness surveys typically begin by asking unaided questions such as “What brands come to mind when you think of X product or service?” then drill down into aided questions like “Which of the following brands have you heard of related to X products or services?”
You can use brand awareness survey templates (like the one below) to help you get started.
Organic search share of voice
Understanding your organic share of voice is one of the most powerful ways to measure your brand awareness. In short, it tells you about your overall visibility in search results for a specific set of keywords compared with your top competitors.
Because you’re naturally more likely to be ranking higher for branded keywords (you are your own brand, after all) it’s better to stick with non-branded keywords when calculating your share of voice.
Fortunately, there are tools like SEMRush, Ahrefs, and other keyword research tools that can do most of the work around finding share of voice for you:
Grow your brand awareness with great content
You’ve probably noticed that almost every metric used to measure brand awareness centers around great content. Consistent, high-quality content improves your search rankings and drives higher organic traffic to your website.
Marketing Insider Group has a team of writers who can deliver ready-to-publish content for your business every week for a year (or more!). You can be confident that your brand is producing content that delivers while you stay focused on your core business priorities.