How to Measure Brand Awareness [Methods and Metrics]

Unlock the key to success with this guide on how to measure brand awareness. Build an effective strategy and start tracking impressions, reach, and more.


January 22, 2024

How to Measure Brand Awareness

Have you ever wondered how to measure brand awareness efforts? How do you know if your investment in awareness marketing campaigns is actually paying off?

There are several ways to track and assess brand awareness campaigns, but it’s difficult to figure out which ones relate to your marketing goals. Even if you use analytics, you must be able to interpret the data in a meaningful way. Otherwise, you won’t be able to make adjustments that will move the needle.

Measuring brand awareness isn’t impossible. All it takes is a combination of metrics and tools to give you a clear picture of consumer perception. Some examples of awareness metrics are:

  • Impressions
  • Reach
  • Social media engagement
  • Web traffic

With the right strategy, awareness growth can help increase market share and brand equity.

In the post, I’ll explore how to measure brand awareness. Using these strategies, you can figure out when an awareness campaign is making money and when it isn’t.

Table of Contents

    The challenges of measuring brand awareness

    Measuring brand awareness is not as simple as counting clicks or tracking conversions. Awareness is a complex ecosystem of factors that work together to influence how the target market perceives your brand.

    The customer journey isn’t linear. In fact, consumers may interact with your brand many times and in many ways before buying.

    Then there’s attribution. How do you know which touchpoint influenced the customer’s decision to buy? Was it the ad they saw on Facebook, or was it the product review they read on Amazon? It’s tough to say for sure.

    There is also the intangible nature of awareness. It’s a feeling, an emotion, a perception. How do you measure that? It’s not as simple as measuring the open rates for an email campaign.

    But that doesn’t mean we should give up on measuring brand awareness altogether. There are reliable ways to get a sense of how the target audience sees your brand. Surveys, focus groups, and social media listening are examples. All these provide valuable insights into consumer sentiment and their degree of recall.

    The key to measuring brand awareness strategies is to look at the bigger picture. You must understand how every touchpoint works to create a cohesive brand experience.

    Brand awareness vs. Brand recognition
    Brand awareness vs. Brand recognition

    How do you know if your brand awareness measurement is accurate?

    To ensure accurate brand awareness measurement, compare multiple data sources, such as surveys, social metrics, and web analytics. Consistency across these sources typically signifies reliable measurement. Divergence suggests a need to reassess your data collection or analysis methods.

    How to measure brand awareness efforts: Methods

    There are several ways to measure brand awareness. Surveys, social media metrics, and website analytics are examples. Each of these provides unique insight into how consumers interact with your brand.

    Tracking awareness over time lets you assess the impact of your marketing efforts. Then you can use the data to adjust your strategy as needed.

    In the sections that follow, we’ll explore the methods used for measuring awareness. I’ll also share some practical tips for how to use them to improve your awareness strategy.

    IMAGE: Google Search Console screenshot (Click to expand)

    Web traffic

    Website traffic is one of the best ways to measure brand awareness. These metrics enable us to learn how visitors use search engines to find your website. We can also see what site visitors do once they arrive on the page.

    Google Analytics and Google Search Console are some of the best website traffic tools to use. Google, the world's largest search engine, collects the most data. Their proprietary reporting platforms break down site traffic by source. You can use data analytics to find out how many visitors knew your brand name before visiting the site.

    But, sometimes, Google Analytics doesn’t show the source (i.e., “not provided”). When this happens, reviewing organic search queries becomes more complicated. Despite this, website traffic metrics can still give you a broad sense of awareness. This method works even better if you have a large volume of search engine traffic.

    Direct website traffic

    Direct traffic refers to users who input your website URL into the browser (or use a bookmark) to visit your site.

    An increase in direct traffic could mean your presence is growing. To know for sure, you can use Google Analytics to track direct traffic levels. Examples of these metrics are unique page views and direct blog referral sources.

    Referral traffic

    Referral traffic refers to the visitors who come to your website without searching. These users find your website links on other sites, such as social media platforms. You can track this traffic using UTM codes to determine the exact source of the referral.

    Backlinks are a common source of referral traffic. These are links to your site from other websites and are a source of organic traffic.

    Watch your brand's online presence

    You can track awareness by monitoring each aspect of your marketing strategy. In this section, we’ll look at some of the most common marketing channels used to gauge awareness.

    Social media platforms

    Social media marketing is the most popular channel for brand awareness campaigns. Most companies use follower count to track their success on social platforms. As your follower base grows, so does your brand’s reach and awareness.

    The number of people who follow you is just a superficial metric. So, you should also watch social media engagement, such as likes, shares, and comments. To get more engagement, post useful and diverse content that will appeal to your audience.

    Remember, comments and engagement can help expand your social media reach. Include content that encourages your followers to engage with your brand, such as thought-provoking questions or light-hearted content.

    Online visibility

    Online visibility is a measure of how much attention your brand receives online. It’s a key factor in attracting potential customers because the brands with higher visibility show up more often across digital channels.

    Having a website is not enough to ensure online visibility. Your website needs to be accessible to your target audience, no matter where they are in the world. Geographic boundaries no longer limit business transactions. Most consumers research brands before buying. Brands with higher visibility that offer more information on their products are more likely to attract customers online.

    You can also gather more reviews by getting visitors to your website and social media pages. These can help you improve your customer service process and brand reputation.

    IMAGE: Search Visibility (SOURCE: MOZ, Click to expand)

    Check reviews

    Allowing customers to post reviews on your website can have a positive impact on sales. One online survey found nine out of 10 consumers trust online reviews as much as personal referrals.

    When customers read positive reviews about your business, they are more likely to buy. Giving shoppers an opportunity to review your brand gives them more confidence in it. This confidence increases awareness because it shows consumers you have nothing to hide.

    Customers may view stores negatively if they don’t let them post reviews.

    Organic search rankings

    Organic traffic isn’t driven by paid advertising efforts. Instead, it comes from a collection of web pages that get indexed in search results. Your rankings on search engines show how well-known your brand is to consumers.

    Most online experiences (68 percent) start on a search engine. This means that when consumers search for brands, they turn to Google. So, companies must appear in search engine results to gain recognition with consumers.

    You can measure brand awareness using organic search traffic metrics. The best way to do this is to compare organic versus paid search traffic. A higher percentage of organic search traffic means better brand awareness.

    Backlink profile

    Backlinks are links to your website from other domains. You can track backlinks using an SEO tool. There is a correlation between the number of backlinks and the level of awareness.

    Brands with a strong presence receive backlinks from industry publications. Links from industry blogs reveal which audience types are interested in your brand.

    Use a backlink checker tool, such as the one from Ahrefs, to track backlink growth month over month. Note the number of backlinks, their quality, and if they are dofollow or nofollow links. Also, make sure the site linking out to you relates to your industry.

    IMAGE: Ahrefs backlink profile example (Click to expand)

    Search trends data

    Google Trends is an effective tool for gauging brand awareness. Enter your brand name to see how popular it is in searches and to make competitor comparisons. The tool offers regional data, showing where your brand is more recognized, and helps identify seasonal patterns in interest.

    Google Trends also shows related queries, offering further insights into customer interests and associations. However, it’s important to note that Google Trends reflects relative popularity rather than exact search numbers or awareness levels.

    IMAGE: Google Trends screenshot (Click to expand)

    Brand awareness surveys

    Surveys are another way for businesses to gauge consumer sentiment. These online surveys target a group that goes beyond a brand’s current customer base. Businesses can define groups by geography, products, services, or other factors.

    For instance, a wine brand might survey an audience group based on their age or preference for red or white wine. Meanwhile, a local brewery might survey beer drinkers in a particular geographic area. It’s crucial to survey the right target group to get accurate results.

    The Power of a Perception Study

    Get inside the minds of your audience to discover their true feelings with a perception study and gain a competitive edge in the global marketplace.

    Conversion rate tracking

    Awareness is often the first step in the path to conversion. To figure out how effective your marketing efforts are, you need to track conversions. Then, you can analyze the data to find out how your awareness level influences sales. Conversion tracking tracks website actions and identifies their nature (i.e., sales, form submissions, newsletter sign-ups).

    Conversion tracking also shows which channels and campaigns are driving the most conversions. These insights allow you to adjust and optimize your strategy.

    Brand awareness KPIs

    Now, let’s review all the brand awareness key performance indicators (KPIs) you should track. This collection of metrics will give you all the data you need to grow awareness.

    Brand mentions on Google Trends

    When using Google Trends as a tool to measure brand awareness, there are several Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you can focus on:

    Search volume trends.: This KPI tracks the volume of searches for your brand. The higher, the better.

    Geographic popularity: This KPI shows the regions or cities for which your brand is more frequently searched. It’s useful for understanding the geographical impact of your brand’s awareness.

    Comparative interest: By comparing the search interest of your brand with industry benchmarks, you can gauge your brand’s market awareness.

    Related topics and queries: This KPI involves monitoring related topics and queries that appear with your brand. It can provide insights into how people are discovering your brand or what other interests they might have in relation to it.

    Time-based analysis: Analyzing how search interest varies during different times of the year can help identify seasonal trends or the effects of specific marketing campaigns.

    Remember, these KPIs provide relative—not absolute—insights. They are more about understanding trends, shifts, and comparative interest rather than exact figures.

    Branded search volume

    When using branded search volume to measure brand awareness, track the following KPIs:

    Total search volume: This represents the number of times your brand name gets searched for in search engines. An increase in this number indicates growing awareness.

    Search volume over time: Look at how the search volume for your brand changes over time—weekly, monthly, or yearly. This can show whether awareness of your brand is increasing, decreasing, or staying the same.

    Geographical distribution: Track where the searches for your brand are coming from.

    Search volume in relation to campaigns: Measure how search volume changes in response to your marketing campaigns. A spike in searches after a campaign can suggest its effectiveness in increasing awareness.

    Comparison with competitors: Compare the search volume of your brand with that of your competitors. This helps in understanding your brand’s position in the market.

    Share of Voice

    Share of Voice (SoV) essentially measures your brand’s visibility compared to competitors.

    Focus on:

    Social media mentions: Track how often your brand is mentioned across social media platforms compared to competitors. This includes posts, comments, and hashtags.

    Online media coverage: Gauge how much online and digital media attention your brand gets in contrast to others. This includes news articles, blogs, and online publications.

    Advertising share: If applicable, measure the proportion of advertising efforts (like online ads, TV, radio) in your market segment.

    Customer reviews and ratings: Track the volume and quality of customer reviews and ratings on various platforms.

    Engagement rates: See how much interaction (likes, shares, comments) your brand’s content receives relative to competitors. Collectively, these KPIs provide a comprehensive view of your brand’s market presence and consumer mindshare, which is crucial for understanding overall brand awareness.

    Organic traffic growth

    When using organic website traffic growth, review these analytics:

    User engagement: This includes metrics like engagement rate, time spent on the site, and the number of engaged sessions per user. High engagement rates and longer session durations suggest users find your content relevant and interesting.

    New users: The number of new users who visit your site through organic search. An increase in new users can mean your brand is reaching a broader audience.

    User retention: This shows how many users return to your site after their first visit. High retention rates can show that your brand made a positive impression, prompting users to return.

    Social listening

    Tracking these social listening KPIs allows you to get a clear picture of awareness on various social platforms:

    Mention volume: The number of times people mention your brand on social media. Tracking this helps you understand how many people are talking about your brand.

    Sentiment analysis: This involves evaluating whether mentions of your brand are positive, negative, or neutral. Positive sentiment is a sign of a good reputation.

    Influencer mentions: Track mentions from influencers or key industry figures. These mentions can have a significant impact on awareness.

    Hashtag performance: If you use specific hashtags for your brand or campaigns, monitor how often these are used.

    Engagement rate: Measure likes, shares, comments, and other interactions with your brand’s social media posts and content marketing. Higher engagement rates suggest higher interest and awareness.

    Reach and Impressions: Reach is the number of unique users who see your content, while impressions are the total number of times your content is displayed.

    Sprout Social screenshot
    IMAGE: Sprout Social screenshot

    Brand tracking software

    Tracking brand awareness metrics can be cumbersome. Fortunately, there are tools to help you do the job. These applications provide insights into your brand’s health metrics, which enable you to assess reputation, mentions, and even data on your competitors.

    Brandwatch, Brand24, and Qualtrics are examples of tracking software. These tools help you monitor awareness and marketing efforts. With the information they provide, you can take steps to improve visibility and reach.

    How to measure brand awareness and avoid inaccuracies

    Measuring awareness efforts can be tedious. It’s common to make mistakes.

    Here are a few tips to help you maintain accurate awareness tracking:

    First, avoid being too general when you are assessing brand awareness. To get a reliable measurement, examine all factors that contribute to awareness, not solely the obvious ones.

    I’ll use an example to illustrate. A student lender may discover they are underperforming in the financial services category. But this doesn’t help them improve because they need more context. The company isn’t competing against all financial services, only student lenders. It would be helpful to examine direct competitors in more detail. Likewise, comparisons with indirect competitors (i.e., substitutes) may also be valuable.

    A SWOT analysis can help companies discover the factors affecting their business. Then, they can set brand awareness metrics aligned with their business type.

    Organizations also overlook aspects that could slant the results of an awareness study. For example, within a large demographic audience, there are smaller subsegments. Breaking down the larger audience into smaller groups might yield more accurate results.

    Finally, beware of biases and assumptions. To avoid both, use several sources to measure brand awareness. Examples are surveys and interviews. Combine these with existing data to make sure that you’re getting a broad view.

    How to measure awareness with a brand audit

    There are many ways to build awareness. However, a brand audit is by far the most effective method. An audit helps you understand your business’s strengths and weaknesses. It also shows you what you must do to beat the competition.

    Working with The Brand Auditors, you’ll be able to develop a better awareness strategy. Your business will be more competitive and attractive to customers.

    Ready to learn more? Click on the button below to schedule a free consultation with a strategist.

    Chris Fulmer

    Chris Fulmer

    Brand Strategist | Managing Director

    Chris has over 15 years of experience in brand development and marketing. He has designed strategies across various industries, such as technology, B2B services, and healthcare. His areas of expertise include brand positioning, competitive analysis, content marketing, and web development.

    Are you ready to find out how a brand audit can transform your business?

    Our brand audit process is a comprehensive analysis designed to help companies optimize performance.

    • Increase ROI on lead generation and sales conversions.
    • Reduce marketing expenses.
    • Strengthen brand positioning to become more competitive.

    We guarantee satisfaction or get your money back! Schedule a discovery call with a brand auditor to find out more.

    Related Content

    Measuring Brand Equity

    Essential KPIs for Measuring Brand Equity

    Measuring brand equity is essential but not easy. This post will show you how to use key performance indicators to assess and improve your brand's equity.

    what is a brand analysis

    Elevate Your Customer Experience With a Brand Analysis

    Is your team struggling with a business problem? Discover how a brand analysis can reveal the underlying cause and what to do about it. Read our blog for more.

    Which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness

    Which Targeting Option Is Best for Achieving Brand Awareness?

    Discover which targeting option is best for achieving brand awareness. Learn about interest targeting, lookalike audiences, and geographic targeting.