Brand awareness is the first stepping stone and the foundation of all marketing activities. It is critical to increase the recognition of a brand and begins the process of driving performance-related objectives.
Without brand awareness activity it becomes harder to prospect and increase your brand share in the market.
3 Factors of Brand Awareness
By making your brand more visible and positioning yourself as a thought leader within the industry, you are able to build trust and recognition. Over time, this helps to increase confidence in a brand and, lead to brand advocacy.
People want to buy from people. By putting effort into brand awareness activity you are able to showcase the values, ethics and personality of your brand. When you are purely focused on leads and sales activity, potential customers don’t have the opportunity to connect on a more personal level.
Over time you can build association for your brand. Whether that’s a colour, a product name, or a piece of music. If you think of the likes of Coca-Cola and Hoover, they are brand names that are adopted through the country and world as the product name regardless of brand also.
Making Your Brand Visible
Before you begin with any brand awareness activity you first need to identify:
- What you will measure – will this be views of a video, ad impressions or will you be targeting more interaction-based awareness through engagements and clicks?
- How will you measure the success?
- Who will you be targeting and how will you target them?
- Which platforms will you use? Facebook, YouTube, TikTok?
Paid media provides a great means in which to help you build brand awareness amongst large audiences. Paid media spans search, display, video and social media to reach relevant prospective audiences. If you can diversify your ads from the competition, paid media will allow you to embed your brand message, put your logo and name front and centre, and showcase what your brand is all about.
Brand Awareness Campaigns
Each advertising platform presents you with auto optimised campaign solutions for driving brand awareness. These campaigns are a great place to start, but to enhance the results you get from these you need to understand your goals and can use some additional measures to ensure enhanced trackability.
There are a number of KPIs you can set and track, ultimately, they each hold different values:
- Impression volume
- Click volume
- Video views
- Social page likes
- Social shares
- Post engagement
You can use paid display advertising to reach a wide audience, which can be broken down into audience (target specific people) and contextual targeting (target specific content people are viewing).
- In-market – predefined audience categories for users showing active intent to convert in specific areas. Examples of these audiences would be ‘business services’ which indicates users in this audience have recently been searching for and showing intent towards what Google deems business services.
- Custom intent – these audiences are defined by you, and are populated with the same reasoning and logic as the in-market audiences. They look for people who have shown purchasing and conversion intent.
- Affinity – users in these pre-defined audiences have shown broad interests in certain topics. This could be something like sport.
- Similar audiences – these are built from your first party audience data of users who have either been to your website or are an existing customer of yours. Google takes this first party data and looks for audiences who share similar traits, characteristics and behaviours to this original audience.
- Placements – you can select specific websites on which you would like your ads to appear
- Topics – You can select content themes which Google will use to place your ad on specific website pages that have content around your chosen topic
Video enables you to tell your brand story in an engaging and visual way. With the right mix of targeting and content, you can move prospects through the marketing funnel.
It can also be extremely cost-effective, as cost per views are usually between £0.03 and £0.07. Some video formats such as skippable in-stream also mean you only get charged if a user watches 30 seconds of your video, clicks the ad or the full video if shorter than 30 seconds.
YouTube has similar targeting to display advertising around placements (on channels or videos), intent, in-market, affinity and similar audiences. On top of these already mentioned you can also target based on:
- Life events – there are some pre-defined categories for specific key life events. These include recently retired or started a business.
- Demographics – you can use the standard demographics around age and gender, but Google has also started building out some employment-based demographics. These detailed demographics look at company industry and company size.
Meta Ads (Facebook & Instagram)
Meta, like many of the social platforms, has pre-built campaign objectives centred around building brand awareness. Depending on what you have defined as your own measurement objectives you could opt between:
- Brand awareness – campaigns with this objective will work to get the largest reach for your budget.
- Engagement – these campaigns will show more frequently to users who are likely to engage with the ad. Engagements could be likes, comments or link clicks.
- Website traffic – whilst you will still get a wide audience reach, these campaigns will focus on delivering to users most likely to visit your website. These are great for building remarketing audience lists.
Facebook and Instagram also have audiences you can build that are perfect for driving awareness:
Within Facebook, you can also run what is known as a brand-lift experiment. This experiment uses brand-polling, alongside other measurement techniques to establish the value your Facebook Ads are driving. When an experiment is created sample groups are broken out into test and holdout groups. Each group is then polled around ad recall and brand awareness
Create and Share Free Content
One of the best ways to build your brand is through delivering great engaging and informative content. This content should not always be around the end sale, and for brand awareness purposes it can help to position you as a thought-leader.
Sharing free blog content, alongside downloadable assets and guides that educate users, but subtly position your brand, can help to propel you to the forefront of your potential customers’ minds. These educational content pieces can help to address the pain points these users may be facing.
Bidding For Brand Awareness
Depending on which platform you are on, you will have different options on how to bid and pay for your ads to achieve more reach:
- CPM – Pay for every 1,000 impressions. In some scenarios you will be asked to set a target
- CPV – Pay per video view. Different platforms class what a view is differently
- Target Impression Share – Specifically a Google Search bidding function, this enables you to outbid your competition to get your ad positioned at the top of the search results
Google Search For Brand Awareness
Search is not typically used for brand awareness. However, with the correct keyword set you can use it to your advantage. You can use tools like Answer the Public to find base or exploration keywords.
Measuring the Impact of Brand Awareness Campaigns
When it comes to measuring the impact of brand awareness-led activity you can look to some quantitative measurements:
- Direct traffic
- Keep an eye on the levels of direct traffic coming to your site
- Use an Analytics platform such as Google Analytics
- Brand search traffic
- Whether you are running ads or not you can use tools such as Google Search Console or Google Keyword Planner to track your brand searches over time
- Social media engagement rates & followers
There are tools and techniques you can use to help you establish and track the three traffic and engagement statistics above.
- Search Console – Track the impact on the number of brand impressions and clicks, by applying a query filter for your brand and tracking the trend before and during the branding activity launched
- Google Alerts can help you to track brand mentions. These will track and monitor for content pieces mentioning your brand. We also use a tool called Meltwater for brand tracking
- Social mentions – you will want to track who is tagging your brand, mentioning your brand, or using your brand campaign hashtag. You can use tools such as Sprout Social, Hootsuite or Brandwatch
- Followers and Likes – you will want to build a tracker to keep a visual of how your follow counts are increasing over time. You can measure the increase and trends during periods your awareness campaigns are active
- Brand-lift survey results – if you create a brand-lift survey in Facebook Ads you can review the results of this. You can track the impact of the campaign on specific metrics, such as purchases
- Remarketing – when you create your campaigns it is crucial you add UTM parameters to your URLs. This means that specific remarketing audience lists can be created and used to re-engage these users to move them down the marketing funnel from awareness to conversion. You can also use video-views remarketing to monitor and retarget to people who see your video ad but don’t necessarily go to your website
- Brand share of voice and search allows you to track how your brand searches are increasing over time in comparison to your competitors. You can use free tools such as Google Keyword Planner, or premium tools such as Similarweb to track the level of brand searches.
Ultimately, brand awareness is critical for the long-term success and growth of a brand. It allows you to reduce barriers in the conversion path, because you can begin embedding your brand in consumer lifestyles and habits.