Can you really measure ‘brand awareness’?

27/04/2021 14:43:37
Here’s the key difference between a good and a bad PR agency. A bad PR agency will try to wow you with buzzwords like ‘brand awareness’, without giving you any real context. A good PR agency will give you the stats that matter – not the vanity metrics – and explain what these figures mean.

In isolation, the term ‘brand awareness’ might seem a little vague. How can we make sure that our PR efforts are pushing us to meet our KPIs? At Partners, we take the holistic approach: marrying up the ‘bottom line’ statistics such as orders and leads with the quantifiable impacts of brand awareness.

Monthly reporting: actionable results and insights

So, how exactly does a good PR agency go about reporting this? Let’s remember that today’s customers don’t always act straight away. We need to be consistent, using a gradual drip-feed of messages to guide them down that sales journey.

We can measure the points in that journey using a channel breakdown method:

Website performance

Website performance
Website performance brings a new age of visibility to traditional PR brand awareness methods. Not only can we track where we’re appearing in offline publications; we can also see who’s coming to our site. We might measure things like:
  • Keyword rankings: what keywords are we appearing for in Google, and have our positions moved?
  • Acquisition: where are our visitors coming from – referrals, organic search, social?
  • Behaviour: what are they doing when they land on the website? Are they reading more than one page, or is there something stopping them from moving on?

The benefits of measuring website performance include getting better insights into which campaigns are working, and understanding the customer journey.

Email marketing

It goes without saying that any good marketer will look at the metrics on your email dashboard. Open rates, click-throughs and bounces are great for spotting trends, but what about customer behaviour?

We’ll take it one step further by analysing these clicks, letting your sales team know who showed an interest in a particular product or service.

This approach can inform future campaigns, helping you to create user segments or remarket based on previous purchases.

Social media engagement

The same principle applies here – it’s one thing to track social media metrics, but what are these users doing once they engage with the content? Let’s take a few examples:
  • Number of followers: does this stay consistent or do you see spikes in follower numbers? If you are seeing spikes or drop-offs, how do these align with the campaign you’re running? Are more people inclined to follow you based on a particular topic?
  • Number of likes: we might call this ‘social listening’. Some might tell you that any publicity is good publicity – that it’s worse to get no reactions than bad press! While we’d never encourage actively seeking ‘bad press’, tracking likes is a good way to determine the general perception of your brand. After a while we can spot trends – what consistent themes pique your audience’s interest?
  • Number of shares: this is perhaps the most important social media metric of all. Not only are users reacting positively to your campaigns; they’re so affected by it that they actively share it with their network. Again, we can track what happens afterwards here – if more people are clicking through to your website, how are they interacting on the site?
Tracking social media activity is a proven method of quantifying brand perception. We can use this to guide future campaigns, for example, if more users react to competitions or downloadable guides, we can add these to our marketing strategy.

What’s more, keeping your eye on general social media discourse may guide you in terms of campaign scheduling or changing content on the grounds of sensitivity.

Media relations

Traditionally speaking, ‘media exposure’ is notoriously difficult to measure. That’s where the advent of digital really helps us out. Let’s say you’re sharing a piece of ‘earned media’ – a newspaper interview, for example – on your social channels. We can track its performance in multiple ways. 

We can measure how people are interacting with social content using the methods outlined above. We can also track referrals from that one piece of earned media – whether it’s page views or conversions on your website.

Putting it all together

All of these numbers might sound a little terrifying on paper – but that’s where good PR agencies stand out. Rather than baffling you with science, we draw conclusions from this ‘data visualisation’. For example, if more sales came through from social channels one month, we could advise you to reallocate your budgets.

All of this is presented on your own bespoke dashboard. A good PR agency understands that what matters to one client will not to another, so we’ll help you to create a personalised reporting dashboard.

Focus on the bottom lines, and better campaigns will follow.

 Contact us today for a better understanding of your campaigns