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Measuring brand awareness can seem challenging because how do you translate your customer’s thoughts and feelings into actionable data? To be “aware” is to have something exist in your mind. But how do we measure that? And why bother at all?

Well, brand awareness is a great indicator of your brand reputation and, in turn, your brand equity. According to data from Deloitte, reputation goes as far as influencing 25% of a company’s market value.

The good news is that thanks to social media, and emerging AI technologies, there’s never been more resources at your disposal for measuring brand awareness. In this article, we’ll dive into six of these strategies, along with the best metrics and marketing measurement tools you can use to get the most accurate reflection of your brand awareness.

What is Brand Awareness

Brand awareness is the first step in the customer journey, and it tells you how familiar and memorable your brand is to consumers. 

In The Customer-Based Brand Equity Model created by Kevin Lane Keller, brand awareness is shown as the foundation of brand equity. According to David Aaker, who is often referred to as the “father of modern branding”, brand awareness is “familiarity which leads to liking” and “visibility that helps gain consideration.”

customer-based brand equity model pyramid
Customer-Based Brand Equity model pyramid (Keller, 2009)

Why Measure Brand Awareness? 

Brand awareness is the first step in the customer journey, and it is inseparable from your sales funnel. Every sale your company makes can be traced back to brand awareness. Even if you’re a product-led business. But what is the catalyst for customer discovery? That is what we want to find out. 

Brand awareness works like a launchpad for business growth in other areas – like building brand equity, increasing market share or improving customer trust. Let’s explore it a little further.

It Improves Brand Equity

As Kevin Lane Keller puts it, “Consumer knowledge is really at the heart of brand equity.”

Brand awareness is the first step in building brand equity, aka. the overall value of your brand in the eyes of consumers. The higher your brand equity, the easier it is to justify price premiums, gain market share, and increase stock valuations.

It Increases Market Share

Brand awareness supports brand recognition and recall, two important factors in making your brand the go-to choice in crowded markets. Improved awareness eases expansion into new demographics and markets, making it challenging for competitors to sway customers who are now loyal to your brand. 

Apple is the most impressive example of this. Their brand awareness is off the charts, to a point where competitors are fighting tooth and nail to develop brand identities that can compete. Have you ever heard a friend say that they would never switch to Android? That is Apple’s brand awareness at work, influencing purchase decisions not just in the here and now but for years to come. 

It Builds Customer Trust 

When a brand is present in your daily life, whether through advertising, social media, or product visibility, you’re more likely to see it as reliable and trustworthy. In psychology, this is referred to as the Mere Exposure Effect, which states that we develop preferences for things that we are most familiar with. 

Data from Gartner tells us that B2B buyers only spend 17% of their time meeting with potential suppliers during the buying process. The vast majority of influence on their purchase decision comes from outside factors, like online reviews, word-of-mouth, or user-generated content. This reveals the importance of building familiarity with potential customers, as well-known brands are more frequently associated with positive experiences and quality. 

How to Measure Brand Awareness: 6 Strategies

Let’s get to it – what data do you need, where do you find it, and how do you apply it? We’ll break down several strategies to help you measure brand awareness below, including customer surveys, social media analytics, social listening, and more.

1. Conduct Surveys of Your Target Market

Is it so crazy to believe that if you want to know what people think of your brand…you can just ask them? CEO of Brandata, Josh Braaten, shares, “Marketers are notorious for creating things for people without talking to them first.”

Don’t make assumptions when it comes to brand awareness. Rather than leaning on incomplete or vague data, go straight to the source – ask your target audience. 

These days, we have tools like Google Forms, Survey Monkey and Pollfish, which offer an affordable route for conducting customer surveys. Use these tools to create a survey (or multiple) that asks your market questions about what they think, feel and associate with your brand. 

Metrics to Measure:

Brand awareness surveys aim to determine potential customers' awareness of your brand. For accurate results, tap into the following categories of questions:

Brand Perception: Brand perception reflects how consumers think and feel about a brand based on their experiences and interactions. Positive perceptions contribute to favorable brand awareness.

  • Are you familiar with our brand/product?
  • How did you discover our brand the first time?
  • What comes to your mind when you hear our brand name? Please list up to three associations.

Brand Recall: Brand recall, measuring how well a brand is remembered, directly indicates brand awareness. A brand that is easily recalled is likely to enjoy higher awareness.

  • How well do you remember this [product or service]?
  • How would you describe this [product or service] to a friend?
  • What brands come to mind when you think about this [product or service]?

Brand Recognition: Brand recognition is how easily people can recognize and identify a brand by looking at its symbols or visuals. It shows how well a brand stands out and stays memorable, providing insight into brand awareness.

  • Can you recognize this brand logo?
  • When shown a list of products, can you recognize which belongs to [your brand]?
  • Do you recognize the following tagline? [Insert brand tagline]

Brand Image: Brand image is the overall set of impressions, associations, and feelings that consumers have about a brand. Like brand perception, brand image comes from emotional and symbolic attributes, as opposed to experiences and interactions with the brand.

  • What values do you associate with our brand?
  • How has your outlook on our brand changed over the past few years?
  • How favorably do you think of our brand?

Aided and Unaided Recall: Unaided recall reflects how well consumers remember a brand without any cues or prompts:

  • Can you name the first brand that comes to your mind when you think about [your product category]?
  • Think back to your last purchase of [your product]. Can you recall which brands you considered before making your decision?

In contrast, aided recall involves providing cues or prompts to respondents:

  • When thinking about [your product category], which brands come to mind first? Please select from the list below.
  • Can you remember seeing any recent advertisements for [your brand]? If yes, where did you come across these ads?

High unaided recall suggests strong organic brand recognition, while successful aided recall signifies effective marketing efforts and a well-established brand presence. You want to examine both for a complete understanding of your brand awareness.

Bonus Tip: For brand awareness measurements, it helps to split survey respondents based on demographics, such as location, age, or gender. For example, you may find you have a strong brand presence in the UK, promoting expansion into that market. 

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2. Monitor Brand Mentions with Social Listening

Thanks to social media, we now have multiple digital avenues for brand tracking – you just need to open your ears. Gary Vaynerchuk says, “When you have people paying attention to you, your biggest job is listening to what they want.” 

Social listening enables you to track mentions of your brand through hashtags, shares, and comments on social media. This provides data on both the number of people that are aware of your brand and the number of times it’s mentioned by your target audience.

You’ll undoubtedly have multiple social media platforms to track, so your best bet is to invest in social listening tools like Sprout Social, Brandwatch, and Buzzsumo. Automated tools are the best way to stay on top of brand mentions in real time, which will give you the most accurate reflection of brand awareness. Brand awareness metrics we can monitor through social listening include Share of Voice (SOV), Sentiment Scores, Net Promoter Scores (NPS), and earned media coverage:

Share of Voice (SOV)

Why it’s Important: SOV monitors the volume of brand mentions in comparison to competitors within your industry or market. A higher share of voice indicates stronger visibility and, consequently, improved brand awareness.

How to Measure: Calculate SOV by dividing your total brand mentions by the total industry or competitor mentions, then multiply by 100. The formula looks like this: SOV = (Number of brand mentions/Total number of industry or competitor mentions) x 100

Sentiment Score

Why it’s Important: Sentiment scores analyze audience perception of your brand (negative, positive or neutral) across thousands of online conversations. This is necessary for shaping your brand identity and increasing awareness.

How to Measure: Measuring sentiment scores usually involves natural language processing (NLP) algorithms and machine learning techniques rather than a simple formula. The best way to analyze your sentiment scores is with social listening tools.

Net Promoter Score (NPS)

Why it’s Important: Your NPS measures the likelihood of customers recommending your brand, and is a direct indicator of customer satisfaction and loyalty. A higher NPS means positive word-of-mouth, contributing to increased brand awareness.

How to Measure: To calculate NPS, customers are asked to rate their likelihood of recommending a product or service on a scale of 0 to 10. Respondents giving a score of 9-10 are classified as Promoters, those with a score of 7-8 are Passives, and scores of 0-6 categorize respondents as Detractors. The NPS is determined by subtracting the percentage of Detractors from the percentage of Promoters, resulting in a score that ranges from -100 to +100.

Earned Media Coverage

Why it’s Important: Your earned media coverage is a fancy way to describe unaided mentions of your brand online. This can be through user-generated content, blog posts, press, and online review aggregators like G2 or Capterra.

How to Measure: To calculate the value of your earned media, multiply your total impressions from earned media coverage by your average cost per mille, or how much you pay to reach 1,000 users (CPM). Use the formula: EMV = impressions x CPM.

3. Analyze Your Social Media KPIs

It’s easy to get caught up in vanity metrics, such as likes and followers, when discussing awareness. After all, these clearly reflect how many people are seeing your brand on social media, right? However, there are many other important metrics you should consider when measuring brand awareness through social media.

Followers and likes do not give us enough information on who is aware of your brand. For example, I am aware of Salesforce as a powerful business tool, but I don’t follow them on social media. 

That doesn’t mean followers aren’t valuable, but they’re just one slice of the brand awareness pie. The pro tip here is to build brand awareness KPIs into your social media strategy from the start. That way, your social media teams are already collecting the data you need, which we’ll get into below.

It’s important to note that you’ll need a powerful social media management tool for an in-depth look at the following metrics. Thanks to their all-in-one approach and robust features, some of the best options in this area are Hubspot, Hootsuite, and Sprout Social. 

Now, let’s get into the metrics you’ll need to measure on social media:

Engagement Rates 

Why it’s Important: This measures the level of interaction (likes, comments, shares) your content receives relative to your total followers. High engagement rates often indicate that your content resonates with your audience, contributing to increased brand awareness.

How to Measure: To find your engagement rate, you will need the total sum of your likes, comments and shares, and your total followers. Then, apply this formula: Engagement Rate =((Likes + Comments + Shares)/Total Followers)×100.

Reach

Why it’s Important: Reach refers to the total number of unique individuals who see your content. Unlike follower count, reach provides insight into how far your content is spreading beyond your immediate audience, helping you understand the extent of your brand's visibility.

How to Measure: Calculate reach by determining the total number of unique viewers for your content. Reach can be monitored through in-platform analytics or social media management tools. 

Impressions 

Why it’s Important: This metric counts how often your content is displayed, regardless of whether it was clicked or not. High impressions can suggest that your content is widely circulated, increasing the likelihood of brand recognition.

How to Measure: Calculate impressions by determining the total number of times your content is displayed. Use in-platform analytics or social media management tools to monitor and measure this data. 

Click-through-rates (CTR) 

Why it’s Important: CTR is the percentage of people who clicked on a link in your post. A high CTR indicates that your content is effective in encouraging viewers to take action, which is a positive indicator of brand engagement.

How to Measure: Calculate CTR by dividing the number of clicks on a link by the total number of impressions, then multiply by 100. Use the formula: CTR = (Link clicks/Impressions) x 100.

Pro tip: Use the automated reporting tools inside your social media software to monitor these metrics on a weekly or monthly basis. Tools like Hootsuite allow you to send reports straight to your email inbox, saving you precious time.

4. Dig into Your Web Analytics 

Recent data tells us that 68% of B2B buyers prefer to do their own research over dealing with sales reps. The most common channels used for research include online search, social media, and company websites. For this reason, your website analytics can paint an accurate picture of brand awareness, by reflecting how potential customers are discovering your brand online.

Does your website hold a high ranking on SERPs? Is referral traffic being driven from an industry publication or review aggregator? All of this data is necessary to understand how you are building brand awareness amongst potential buyers. 

Once you have this understanding, you can refine your content marketing strategies, improve your user experience, and double down on what’s already driving brand awareness.

Pro tip: Google Analytics is your best option for monitoring website performance, and it’s free! Plus, it’s integrated with Google’s Marketing Suite, which includes Adwords and Search Console. We’ll cover how to use these tools to measure important brand awareness metrics below.

Now let’s get into the metrics you’ll need to analyze with your web analytics:

Website Traffic

Why it’s Important: It reflects the overall interest in your brand. High traffic indicates high brand awareness and interest.

How to Measure: Inside Google Analytics, track the “Users” metric under the “Audience” section to see the total number of visitors.

Why it’s Important: It shows how other websites contribute to your traffic, indicating partnerships and external interest in your brand. They also count as a vote of confidence from other sites, implying your brand’s authority and recognition.

How to Measure: In Google Analytics, go to “Acquisition” > “All Traffic” > “Referrals” to see which sites are directing traffic to you. Tools like Ahrefs and SEMrush are also great for tracking backlinks. They provide detailed insights into the number and quality of backlinks.

Branded Search Volume

Why it’s Important: Indicates how many people are actively searching for your brand, a direct measure of brand recall and recognition.

How to Measure: Google Search Console offers insights into which specific search queries are driving traffic. Filter the queries to see how often your brand name is searched, and other keywords your website appears under.

Organic Traffic

Why it’s Important: This is traffic from search engine results, reflecting your SEO success and brand visibility.

How to Measure: In Google Analytics, under “Acquisition” > “All Traffic” > “Channels”, look at the “Organic Search” segment to see your organic traffic numbers.

5. Review Paid Campaign Analytics

If you're serious about gauging your brand's impact, you’ve no doubt run an ad campaign or two in your day, and the resulting data is primed for deciphering brand awareness.

But here's the kicker: not all ad campaigns are created equal when it comes to unearthing brand awareness data. Think display ads, retargeting strategies, and the powerhouse that is paid social campaigns – these are the heavy hitters that deliver the insights you crave.

Once again, Google’s Marketing Suite comes in handy here. Your Google Ads Manager account can be linked to Google Analytics to help you measure the metrics below.

Lift in Ad Clicks

Why it’s Important: This metric is like your campaign applause meter. It measures the percentage increase in clicks compared to the baseline, indicating heightened interest. It's not just about clicks – it's proof that your brand is grabbing attention.

How to Measure: To calculate your lift in ad clicks, you’ll first need to locate your baseline clicks and total clicks. Obtain this data from your Google Ads Manager account, then apply this formula: Lift in Ad Clicks = ((Total Clicks - Baseline Clicks) / Baseline Clicks)x100. 

Ad Conversions

Why it’s Important: Every marketer loves to see a high conversion rate, because it reflects actions users take post-click, like making a purchase. Successful conversions mean your brand message isn't just seen, but is powerful enough to drive engagement as well.

How to Measure:  In your Google Ads Manager account, navigate to the "Conversions" or "Conversion Tracking" section and locate your number of conversions. Next, head to the "Reports" section and select the relevant time range for your ad campaign. Locate the total number of clicks during this period. Then apply this formula: Ad Conversion Rate=(Number of Clicks/Number of Conversions)×100.

Impressions

Why it’s Important: The number of times an ad is displayed or viewed. Higher impressions suggest increased visibility, contributing to brand exposure.

How to Measure: This information is readily available in Google Ads Manager. In the "Reports" section, select the time range of your campaign and find the total impressions during that period.

6. Inspect the Customer Journey with Attribution Reports 

Attribution reports are like your backstage pass to the customer journey. They show you how individuals engage with your content or marketing campaigns across the entire funnel. Attribution reporting helps us reveal each touchpoint a customer experiences prior to conversion. 

For example, your ad campaign analytics may show that your display ads produce high conversion rates. However,  “dark touch points” might occur elsewhere online that support these conversions. These are also referred to as assisted conversions.

This could be content marketing, such as thought leadership on LinkedIn, or customer reviews on a site like G2. Each of these touch points contributes to heightened brand awareness, and by the time the customer views your display ad they’re primed to take action.

Attribution reporting helps us reveal this customer journey and identify the initial points of contact that are driving brand awareness. Creating an effective attribution report requires a strategic approach – here are some tips to guide you through the process:

Define Clear Objectives

Identify what you want to achieve with the report. In the case of brand awareness, monitoring customer touchpoints is the top priority.

Choose Your Measuring Period

Some companies do weekly or monthly attribution reporting, but what’s right for your organization depends on your goals. For example, aligning your time period with your average sales cycle supports more accurate reporting.

Select the Right Attribution Model

Choose an attribution model that aligns with your goals. Common models include:

  • First-Touch Attribution: Credits the first interaction.
  • Last-Touch Attribution: Credits the final interaction.
  • Linear Attribution: Distributes credit evenly across all touchpoints.
  • Time Decay Attribution: Gives more credit to interactions closer to conversion.

Incorporate Multi-Touchpoint Analysis

First-touch attribution might seem the most helpful for brand awareness, but do not overlook multi-touch point analysis, such as linear or time decay models. Since brand awareness involves multiple touchpoints, it’s best to opt for attribution models that provide a holistic view. 

Utilize Attribution Tools and Platforms

Look into attribution software like Ruler Analytics, Branch or Hubspot’s attribution reporting features. If you’re keen on emerging tech, look into AI attribution tools, like Adobe’s Attribution AI, which can automate this entire process for you. 

Your Next Stop: Brand Brilliance

Remember this: every click, every mention, and every touchpoint contributes to your brand perception. If it feels overwhelming, pick the metrics that line up closely with your business goals, and start.

If you’re looking to continue your journey to brand brilliance, check out our Branding Books Roundup, which is overflowing with helpful tales and insights from some of the best in the branding biz. The Brand Gap, by Marty Neumeier, is a great place to start for a comprehensive look at how to build a charismatic brand. 

P.S – if you’d like to hang out with us and get a stream of marketing insights delivered into your inbox, make sure to subscribe to our newsletter for marketing leaders.

By Michelle Leighton

Michelle Leighton is a seasoned content writer and social media specialist with a remarkable track record in building thriving online communities. Michelle excels at translating customer insights and market trends into compelling content strategies that spark engagement and foster meaningful discussions. Michelle's work has been featured by The Indie Media Club, The CMO, The Ecomm Manager, Narcity Canada, Input Magazine and more.