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.

July 7, 2023

How to Measure Brand Awareness


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

There are several metrics you can use to track brand awareness campaigns. But it’s difficult to figure out which ones relate to your marketing goals. Even if you track metrics, 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 the key metrics used to measure brand awareness. With this data, you’ll be able to figure out when an awareness campaign is making money, and when it isn’t.

The Challenges of Measuring Brand Awareness

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

The customer journey isn’t linear. 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 brand 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 brand 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. It’s about seeing the forest, not just the trees.

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

How to Measure Brand Awareness Efforts

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 for measuring brand awareness. I’ll also share some practical tips for how to use them to improve your awareness strategy.

Google Search Console screenshot
IMAGE: Google Search Console screenshot

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 site. 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. They’re provided by the largest search engine in the world with the most data. These are reporting platforms that break down site traffic by source. You can use the 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 brand 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 paste your website URL into the browser (or use a bookmark) to visit your site. Google Analytics can’t track this type of link.

An increase in direct traffic could mean your brand presence is growing. To know for sure, you can use Google Analytics to track direct traffic levels over time. Examples of these metrics are unique pageviews 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 brand 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.

But the number of people who follow you is just a vanity metric. 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. You should also maintain a consistent posting schedule.

Remember, comments and engagement can help expand your social media reach. So, include content that encourages your followers to engage with your brand. For example, ask questions or share fun and light-hearted content.

Online Visibility

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

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. This is important because business transactions are no longer limited by geographic boundaries. A strong online presence allows you to attract a wider audience and increase sales.

Most consumers research brands before they buy anything. The 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.

MOZ Search Visibility
IMAGE: Search Visibility (SOURCE: MOZ)

Check Reviews

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

When customers read positive reviews about your business, they’re 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, brands 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 level of brand 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 site linking out to you applies to your industry.

Ahrefs backlink profile
IMAGE: Ahrefs backlink profile example

Search Trends Data

The Google Trends platform is an underrated tool for measuring brand awareness. The search data will help you understand your target audience’s search behavior.

Google Trends gives you the ability to compare the trend of two different search topics. This is one of the most authentic sources of search data because it comes from Google.

By observing relevant search trends, you can gauge the volatility of any topic. Then, you can adjust your marketing strategies as needed.

For example, you might notice a trend rising quickly, then dropping off. When this happens, you can avoid wasting resources on a short-lived trend. This allows you to focus on a better strategy.

Google Trends screenshot
IMAGE: Google Trends screenshot

Brand Awareness Surveys

A brand awareness survey is another way for businesses to gauge consumer sentiment. These online surveys target a group that goes beyond a brand’s current customer base. Business can define groups by geography, products, and 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

Brand 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 allows you to see how many people are taking an action on your website. It also shows you what the action is (i.e., a sale, filling out a form, or signing up for a newsletter).

Conversion tracking reveals which channels and campaigns are driving the most conversions. This allows 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 (social media, Google Trends data)

When someone mentions your brand online, it means they’re aware of your brand and talking about it.

Brand mentions can come from social media, blogs, forums, and other online platforms. They refer to any online reference made to a company, brand, or service. This includes product reviews, blog posts, educational content, and news articles.

The number of mentions can impact a brand’s online reputation. So, it’s essential to check them using media monitoring tools. Companies can then identify any negative comments and take action to address them. In time, this is an effective way to improve your overall brand reputation.

Branded Search Volume

Branded search traffic comes to your site via branded keywords on search engines. To calculate this metric, track the number of visitors to your website from branded keywords over time. Maintain a report for each month or quarter. This gives you a clear picture of how your brand awareness is growing.

Share of Voice

Share of Voice shows you how your brand is performing compared to your competitors. This metric allows you to compare brand awareness across different channels. Examples are ads, social media mentions, or website traffic.

Using Share of Voice, you can see how much of the conversation you're dominating in your industry. This reveals where you need to improve. For instance, you may find that you have a high Share of Voice in social media but not in organic traffic. Then, you could improve your marketing strategy to include a plan to grow organic traffic and raise brand awareness.

Organic Traffic Growth

One important metric for awareness is organic traffic growth. Businesses should create content using branded and non-branded search terms. This helps them reach new customers at every stage of the buyer’s journey.

This approach helps to guide customers as they make a buying decision. It also expands the brand’s reach to new audiences. As organic traffic grows, so does brand awareness, recall, and eventually, trust.

Content Engagement

When it comes to building brand awareness, engaging content is key. Brands must create content that is informative and educational. But content should also be entertaining and relatable to the target audience. Your content should highlight what sets your brand apart from competitors. Use it to show potential customers why they should choose your brand over others.

Tracking engagement can help you use content to increase brand awareness. The data enables you to figure out what topics interest your target audience. Then, you can develop the type of content people want that will generate more engagement.

Social Listening (shares, comments, number of followers)

Social listening involves monitoring social media channels for any mentions of your brand. You can also look for mentions of competitor brands and related keywords. This gives you real-time information about how customers perceive your products or services. You'll also learn a lot about their pain points and future expectations.

But social listening isn't limited to just tracking your brand mentions. You can use data to design a marketing strategy and make informed business decisions.

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. This enables 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 your brand awareness and marketing efforts. With the information they provide, you can take steps to improve visibility and reach.

Measuring Brand Awareness: Mistakes to Avoid

Measuring awareness efforts can be tedious at times. So, 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’re assessing brand awareness. To get a reliable measurement, you need to look at all factors that contribute to awareness, not just the obvious ones.

I’ll use an example to illustrate. A student lender may discover they’re 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. So, it would be helpful to drill down and look at direct competitors. Likewise, comparisons with indirect competitors (i.e., substitute brands) 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.

Brands 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.

Get Brand Awareness Insights with a Brand Audit

There are many ways to build brand awareness. But a brand audit is the most effective way—by far.

An audit helps you understand your business’s strengths and weaknesses. It also shows you what you must do to beat the competition. When you’re done, you'll have a plan of action that will help you build authority and increase revenue.

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 brand strategist.

Chris Fulmer

Chris Fulmer

Brand Strategist | Managing Director

Chris Fulmer is a professional brand development manager who provides expert insights on brand strategy, media channels, and other essential information required for marketing success. This includes market research, analytics analysis, and digital design best practices.

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 increase ROI and reduce marketing expenses.

  • 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.

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