It’s a question that’s plagued brand marketers for decades: How do we know our branding is making an impact?
With the age of digital advertising & analytics that questions gotten much easier to answer. There’s no longer half baked guesses that are passed off as “expertise”. We can actively measure metrics that are directly correlated to the strength of a brand.
In this blog post I outline two easy ways for any business to measure the impact of their branding adspend. There are brand lift studies that can be conducted for companies with large resources but this blog post is targeting the “Joe-Six Pack” of business owners. It’s for those businesses that don’t have the resources to conduct a brand lift study themselves.
#1 Brand Campaigns To Measuring Branded Searches
Branded campaigns in Google Adwords/Bing Ads/Yahoo Gemini have a variety of uses. One of those uses is to measure the number of impressions your brand receives in these search engines.
It’s not expensive to bid on your own branded term. Most companies will pay less than a dollar to do it. There are exceptions of course, but in general it’s an inexpensive tactic.
If you’re new to search advertising here’s how you set up a branded campaign:
- Create a new campaign targeting Search Network Only
- Set up all the niceties of geotargeting/budgets/adcopy
- Target your brand using exact match, phrase match and broad match modified. DO NOT use broad match for a branded campaign. That is a big no-no.
And boom, there’s your branded campaign.
There’s a direct correlation between the strength of a brand and the number of branded searches it receives. As an example, Coca Cola receives more branded searches than Fanta.
When you see a spike in impressions for your brand or your number of impressions grow steady over time you know you’re doing something right with your branding. It’s when you see no uptick in your branded searches when you’ll want to worry about your branding campaigns effectiveness.
#2 Direct Traffic Correlates To Brand Strength
The second indicator of brand strength is direct traffic over time. I use Google Analytics to measure website traffic data and you should too. It’s awesome.
Direct traffic is the number of times someone went to your website by typing the url directly into the browser. It’s actually a little more muddy of a definition than that, but for these purposes that definition is sufficient.
If your branding campaign is having the desired effect your direct traffic graph should be going up and to the right over time. If it’s flat or falling that indicates a problem. This is a quick and easy report to pull within Google Analytics. To find it, go to Acquisition -> All Traffic -> Source/Medium. You’ll want to look at the column that says “Direct/None”.
There you have it, two ways to measure the effectiveness of your branding campaigns.