Web Marketing KPIs: Brand Indicators Part 1 — Brand Awareness

All of MeasureMyBrand KPIs reflect decades of collective b2b web marketing experience. While they’re likely to be useful for b2c CMOs and brand managers, we recommend they also evaluate them to make a judgment on usefulness for consumer web marketing measurement.

That said, nearly every single web marketing strategy includes “Increase brand awareness” as a key objective. According to recent research from MarketingProfs and the Content Marketing Institute, b2b marketers ranked “Brand Awareness” as the top organizational goal, in front of lead generation.

measure brand awarenessYet only a very small number of CMOs actually measure it. Why? Because to do it well is complicated. What do you measure? How do you measure it? Certainly a credible way to measure brand awareness can’t be as simplistic as counting and weighting brand mentions, as some propose.

CMOs are asking for billions of dollars to invest in web marketing with a top objective of increasing brand awareness, and with good reason: it’s strategic and is a business-level performance indicator. Like webshare, if your brand awareness is growing, it can translate into more sales and support pricing objectives — the very things that ensure the company’s possible future success.

Declaring a top marketing objective that can’t be measured is a bit awkward however. It’s no wonder CMOs are a little squeamish about using a multitude of campaign metrics to somehow indicate brand awareness in the C-suite.

Web Measurement Redux

First, back to a core premise — the Web is a market, not just a channel. How so? The Web isn’t only a “way” to generate leads, it’s a ubiquitous network of content used as the basis for an economic exchange. Whether or not you’re in a web transaction-oriented business, the Web acts as the “place” where sellers and buyers come together.

As discussed in a recent article “What CMOs Need to Know That Will Keep CEOs and CFOs Happy, understanding that the Web is market opens up how it’s measured at a more strategic level.

Brand Awareness Score™

One of the brand indicators in our web marketing KPI set is the much-needed Brand Awareness Score. What is this specifically? It’s a proxy for measuring probable web brand recognition and recall.

Like all our KPI scores, the Brand Awareness Score is about measuring a relative number over time. In other words, it’s not the number itself that’s significant; it’s the trend indicated by that number over time. So, for example, if your Brand Awareness Score is 20 in January and is 22 by December, then you’ve increased your brand awareness by 10%.

Imagine being able to say to your CEO (or CFO), “I need to increase my web marketing budget by $500,000 next year so I can increase brand awareness by 5%” and then be able to report results toward achieving that goal on a quarterly basis. You’ll probably get the budget.

What’s Behind the Score

As with our other five KPIs, there are likely to be skeptics about our web Brand Awareness Score. That’s no surprise, especially since sophisticated CMOs are well aware that brand awareness has been redefined in order to take advantage of easily available web data. It’s unfortunate that this fundamentally strategic marketing objective has been reduced to being measured by simplistic campaign-based and real-time metrics, which are measures of convenience, not rigor.

A credible Brand Awareness Score must be about measuring recall and recognition over time.

The objective here is to present the high-level methodology behind an extremely complex (and patent pending) algorithm for measuring web brand awareness. Then you can be the judge of whether or not it sets off your BS-meter.

Our methodology for developing the Brand Awareness Score followed these steps:

  1. An examination of most all available raw data and metadata for paid, owned, earned and shared content from each of four web marketing channels: Press, Social, Website/Search, and Advertising;
  2. A narrowing social media data sources to include those most important to b2b marketers — LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, and Google+;
  3. A narrowing of advertising data sources to include those most important to b2b marketers — search and display
  4. Determining which quantitative dimensions are core to brand awareness, like number of brand mentions;
  5. Determining which qualitative dimensions to use as proxies for recall and recognition, like branded search.
  6. Adding the element of time since brand awareness naturally dissipates over time.

We identified more than 75 data dimensions important in calculating a score for brand awareness. Our algorithm smoothes and normalizes data variations and includes probability attributes, as well as the element of time. The result is our Brand Awareness Score.

Get more. 

Don’t want to sift through our individual KPI blog posts?  Download the Web Marketing KPIs white paper.

The Web is a Market, Not Just a Channel.™ is a seminal white paper on the need for marketers to expand how they view the Web.

Learn about web presence optimization as a web marketing strategy.

Be sure to follow CMO Dave on his 2015 Measurement Odyssey on YouTube!