How to Measure Brand Awareness

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.

February 23, 2023

How to Measure Brand Awareness


How can you know if your company’s brand awareness campaigns attracting new customers and driving profit?

In reality, it is difficult to track brand awareness strategies and how much they contribute to the bottom line. That is why many small businesses hesitate to invest money in awareness marketing.

Brand awareness campaigns are synonymous with big business. But even they aren’t always sure how to put a dollar value on awareness.

The fact that most companies value awareness and the role it plays in gaining market share shows how valuable it is.

But, the trick is tracking brand awareness in a reliable way.

In the post, I’ll explore how to measure brand awareness using tangible metrics. With this data, you will be able to figure out when awareness efforts are making money for your brand, and when they aren’t.

Brand Awareness vs. Brand Recognition

Before we go any further, I would like to explain the difference between brand awareness and brand recognition. Many people use the terms interchangeably because they think they are the same thing. But they have distinct meanings.

Brand awareness refers to how well customers can recall a brand without being prompted. It is a measure of how well-known a company is within its market.

Brand recognition is the customer’s ability to perceive a company’s logo, products, or other distinctive features. It pertains to the market’s familiarity with the brand among target customers.

For brands to succeed, they must use awareness and recognition to drive demand for their products and services. But this process is complex.

Businesses must build a strong identity (i.e., logos, packaging, and messaging) that resonates with the target audience. Then they should communicate that identity consistently across all touchpoints, from website landing pages to social media posts. In time, customers will become more familiar with the business when they come across it on- or offline.

Brand awareness vs. Brand recognition
IMAGE: Brand awareness vs. Brand recognition

How to Track and Measure Brand Awareness

Tracking results is the key to successful marketing. Brand awareness is no different. Without data, it is almost impossible to determine how effective your awareness efforts are.

In the sections that follow, I’ll outline several techniques you can use to measure awareness campaigns.

Routine Brand Awareness Surveys

Online surveys are one of the most reliable ways to measure awareness levels. You can use surveys to assess awareness among a broad target audience, or with current customers.

But why should you bother to survey existing customers? After all, they are already aware of your brand, right?

Customer surveys help you understand and monitor changes in their understanding and appreciation of your brand. You may have done enough to convince them to buy from you today, but what about tomorrow? Surveys will reveal emerging trends in customer perception that you can apply to future awareness campaigns.

For example, if you find your ad campaigns confuse current customers, it is safe to assume that people who aren’t customers will also be confused.

When you conduct a survey, be creative and do more than develop single-answer questions. For example, use scale-ranking questions (i.e., 1-10) or open-ended narrative answers. The responses to these questions give much more context and depth. Just make sure questions are straightforward and easy for participants to answer.

The questions posed in the survey are critical to the outcome. Would you learn more using multiple-choice options, or would it be better to ask for free text answers?

Multiple-choice questions are often easier for people to answer and may generate more accurate responses. The answers to free text questions can take more effort for the marketing team to assess.

But sometimes, allowing responders to explain their thoughts freely can provide qualitative feedback. This information reveals deeper insights into how consumers perceive your brand and products.

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.

Google Trends Data

Google Trends allows brands to see how their name comes up on the Internet and if these “mentions” are increasing or decreasing. GT also offers analysis by comparison with data from competitor brands.

Google Trends may not be as useful for brands that have generic names or those already associated with another company (i.e., sub-brand).

Google Trends can identify where and how a particular topic shows up online. This real-time insight can help you adjust your strategy accordingly. For example, you may find that you need to refine keywords or pivot your messaging.

These days, customers interact across several digital channels, not just search. So, you need to use a range of reporting platforms to get an understanding of audience perception and customer satisfaction. Google Trends data remains an invaluable asset for brand monitoring, developing the customer journey, and SEO optimization.

Google Trends screenshot
IMAGE: Google Trends screenshot

Brand Tracking Software

There was a time when brands had to use expensive research agencies to gather data and measure awareness. Sometimes, they would wait months for the results. But today, with modern brand tracking software, you can gather data quickly, frequently, and with complete visibility—all within days.

Brand tracking software is a powerful tool to help companies measure, monitor, and analyze their brand health online. From reputation management to brand awareness, the software provides metrics that reveal how customers view and interact with a business.

Brand tracking software offers more than a typical social listening tool. Social tools only track the conversations that take place on particular platforms. While this can give your marketing team an idea of what people are saying and how they feel about your organization, it doesn’t paint the full picture. People usually post comments and opinions at extremes, overshadowing the valuable contributions from customers in the middle who may have more reasonable views.

With brand tracking software, you can monitor all customer feedback across multiple sources, from surveys to public reviews and discussion forums. This data allows you to compare your perception metrics with those of competitors so you can make better marketing decisions.

Brand monitoring tools can also help you understand other trends, such as seasonality or regional popularity. These tools gather data from various channels, like search engine results pages (SERPS) and website analytics. This information helps companies develop strategies to mitigate local market conditions and global marketplace trends.

Here are some examples of brand tracking software:

Content Analytics

Real brand awareness isn’t just about the number of people who know your brand and what it offers. It is also about developing an audience of potential buyers who are genuinely interested in the brand itself.

Shares and likes are more than just vanity metrics. They can tell us which strategies are working, and which aren’t. By looking at the reactions to blog posts, videos, or social media content, we can spot patterns that help us understand how our content marketing efforts affect our brand’s public perception.

For example, if we post a new video that gets no or only a few reactions, it could mean the message was off target or that the audience simply wasn’t interested. But, when a post receives more engagement than expected, it’s an opportunity to identify why that campaign was successful.

Analyzing content analytics also helps us measure our content ROI. With real-time data tracking, we can compare website visits and click-throughs on each blog post, video, or download, which allows us to pinpoint the ones that appeal to the target audience.

Understanding the connection between the audience and successful content plays a key role in determining what interests our target buyers.

Website Traffic Analytics

Website traffic levels can tell you a great deal about your brand’s share of voice and target customer preferences. But the task isn’t as easy as it once was.

Search engines have taken steps to provide users with more privacy. Now, it isn’t possible to track the source of all website traffic. So, you may not always know what percentage of your website’s traffic volume comes from brand-related searches (direct traffic) and how much is from organic search.

This shift has forced marketers to rethink how they measure website traffic. Many now use alternative metrics to gauge their audiences’ interests.

Referral traffic is an essential factor in tracking website visitors and awareness.

Referral traffic tells you how many visitors have discovered your site through a link that is somewhere else on the web (i.e., another website). These links that bring in referral traffic are called backlinks. A backlink profile that grows consistently shows that your brand is becoming more popular and authoritative.

Backlink profiling is an important step for effective SEO too. With Ahrefs, you can quickly analyze the quality and quantity of backlinks pointing to your website.

To get started, log into your Ahrefs account and go to the Overview tab. Here, you will find a list of all your external backlinks.

Next, look at each link’s domain strength and page score. This information can help you identify any weak links or broken ones that may hurt your search engine rankings.

Then, move on to review the anchor text used in the backlink profiles. Doing so will help you spot any potential keyword stuffing issues that could harm your rankings.

You should also study the referring domains closely to detect low-quality sites linking to yours. Finally, explore the backlinks you are getting, such as contextual, footer links, or direct links from anchor text-rich websites to evaluate their quality.

Once you have identified any potential problems with your backlink profile, use Ahref’s Campaign tool to clean it up and create new opportunities for growth by diversifying anchors and boosting relevant traffic sources.

Ahrefs backlink profile
IMAGE: Ahrefs backlink profile example

You can also use Google Search Console to monitor your website’s organic share of impressions, click-through rate, and conversion rates. These metrics will help you understand more about your brand’s popularity and visibility online, as well as whether your website is converting visitors into customers.

Enabling Search Performance data within Google Search Console will show how keywords generate site visits over a given period. Then, review website analytics to see where shoppers convert. This will help you figure out how to improve future targeting strategies.

Search Console helps companies identify issues such as incorrect indexing or crawl errors. It is even possible to check surface level topics and investigate specific queries that triggered organic traffic downfalls.

Google Search Console screenshot
IMAGE: Google Search Console screenshot

Campaign Clicks and Conversions

Ad clicks from display ads, retargeting ads, PPC, and Facebook advertising are the best way to measure the success of marketing campaigns. But did you know that brand awareness plays an important role in a consumer’s decision to click on certain ads?

According to Forbes, 75 percent of shoppers are more likely to click on ads from brands they are already familiar with. This means that even if someone has noticed your displays or print ads, but has taken no action, they might still click on one of your other ad types (i.e., PPC or Facebook ads) simply because of brand familiarity.

Knowing where customers come from not only confirms whether brand awareness is making a difference, but also shows you which channels are generating the highest tangible returns for the company. With this data, you will have greater confidence when evaluating and optimizing each channel’s ROI.

Earned Media

Earned media is the cornerstone of an optimized marketing strategy. This type of media refers to forms of brand awareness—such as customer reviews, mentions, reposts, and recommendations—that make a significant difference without having to pay for them.

Studies show that earned media triggers sustained market growth over the short- and long-term. Brands also don’t have to invest money into or worry about campaigns underperforming with earned media.

It works naturally. Humans look for information from others during their decision-making process because they usually trust third-party references more than anything else. As an example, reviews play a crucial role in increasing sales conversions by lending authenticity to products or services. And even though someone who reviews a product may not provide an accurate assessment, the review still makes a powerful impression on other shoppers.

In a recent study, nearly 80 percent of consumers said that user-generated content, such as reviews, influenced their decision to buy. Based on this statistic, user-generated content is over 8 times more effective than influencer content, and 6 times more than branded content​.

Social Media Engagement

Social media has become a necessity for brands that want to create awareness. But measuring success on social media channels is like trying to hit a moving target. What works one day may not work the next.

Fortunately, there are a few metrics we can use to analyze social media awareness strategies across platforms.

Followers, engagement (i.e., comments and shares), and other relevant data points give marketers an opportunity to understand how their campaigns are doing in real time so they can make adjustments if needed.

Social media engagement tracking tools can save companies a lot of time and extra work. These tools allow businesses to monitor the engagement they receive on specific posts or campaigns. With this data, brands can stay up-to-date on what is working, what isn’t, and how to improve results.

You will also get an accurate picture of how people feel about your product or service, discover potential trends that may warrant a response, and learn more about relevant topics that shoppers are discussing.

These tools also enable you to watch for any red flags, such as negative sentiment from customers who have had an unpleasant experience or questions that you need to answer. Businesses can also analyze user-generated content such as likes, shares, and comments around product launches and other activities related to the marketing strategy.

Examples of social listening tools are:

Sprout Social screenshot
IMAGE: Sprout Social screenshot

Brand Visibility

Brand visibility is another component of awareness. We can track brand visibility through various methods, such as surveys, social media analytics, and search engine optimization (SEO).

One way to measure visibility is by conducting surveys among your target audience groups to gain insights into how often they have come into contact with your brand. This data can reveal which channels are reaching the most people, as well as which messages prove to be most effective.

Organizations can also use website visibility to assess brand awareness.

The MOZ Visibility Score is a measurement of search rankings across a range of keywords that relate to the brand and its products or services. MOZ applies an estimated click-through-rate (CTR) based on each ranking position to properly weight higher ranking keywords in your score. It then calculates the CTRs and divides them by the number of tracked keywords in a campaign to deliver a score ranging from 0 to 100 percent. The higher the score, the more visibility a brand’s website has.

Using the MOZ Visibility Score is helpful when assessing marketing efforts, such as SEO campaigns or content marketing strategies. By tracking these campaigns over time, businesses can identify areas that need improvement and make better decisions in the future.

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

How to Benchmark Brand Awareness

It is impossible to analyze trends in brand awareness without a starting point. Thus, you must set benchmarks.

To set benchmarks, consider long-term trends that naturally occur due to changing customer demographics or seasonal influences that might skew results. These natural peaks and troughs need to be identified first, before setting benchmarks. For example, if your brand’s sales always increase during the Christmas season, build in a modifier to offset the fluctuation.

Tracking trends against benchmarks enables an organization to assess brand positioning within their target market when compared with competitors.

Measuring Brand Awareness: Mistakes to Avoid

Measuring brand awareness can be tedious at times. So, it is common to make mistakes.

Here are a few tips:

First, avoid being too general when you are assessing brand awareness. For example, a business focused on student lending may find that they are performing poorly in the overall financial services category. This doesn’t tell them much because they need more context. After all, a company like this isn’t competing against all financial services, just those in student lending. So, it might be helpful to conduct a SWOT analysis to discover the forces affecting the business first. Then, they can set brand awareness metrics accordingly.

The second mistake many companies make when analyzing brand awareness is when they overlook unique aspects of an industry that could slant the results. For example, within a large demographic audience, there are smaller subsegments. So, breaking down the larger audience into smaller demographic groups might help you get more accurate results.

Finally, beware of biases and assumptions. To avoid both, use multiple sources to measure brand awareness. Examples are surveys and interviews in combination with existing data to make sure that you are getting a broad view. Brand awareness requires a deep understanding and thorough analysis by asking topic-relevant questions to get accurate results.


Measuring brand awareness is an essential part of any successful marketing strategy. It helps you track how your brand is performing—its visibility and recognition—which helps companies invest resources wisely and increase your customer base.

If you have questions or want to know how The Brand Auditors can help your company measure brand awareness, email me personally at [email protected].

Until next time,


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 web design best practices.

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