Branding and advertising: why it is difficult to measure the impact on business performance
The effect of strategic communications aimed at strengthening the brand appears after a while and lasts for a relatively long time. Ivan Dylko, CEO of the marketing research agency markintel , will tell you how to properly measure the impact of branding and advertising on business performance.
Specific goals may include increasing brand awareness and trust, creating strong positive associations with the brand in the mind of the target audience (TA), increasing sales, and others.
Such communication campaigns should be based on professional research of the target audience and deep insights about consumers, as well as be smart and creative. Here we will refer to the effect of these campaigns as the influence of branding and advertising.
How branding and advertising affect business performance
In the first illustration, branding and advertising efforts generate some intermediate results that later lead to important business outcomes such as increased sales, margins, and market share.
Many intermediate results of branding and advertising take time to fully develop and do not appear immediately.
The target audience must see each advertisement several times in order to correctly comprehend and assimilate the information (rarely does anyone “fall in love” with a brand after seeing it for the first time in some kind of advertisement).
The second illustration shows other factors that affect sales , margins, and market share. Because of them, even impeccable branding and advertising does not guarantee an increase in profits, sales and market share.
The arrows in the circle show where branding and advertising weakens or enhances the influence of these factors:
- product quality. The actual quality of a product greatly affects margins, sales, and market share. However, effective branding and advertising amplify this effect as they increase the perceived value and quality of the product;
- branding and advertising of competitors. Competitor communication efforts also have a strong impact on margins, sales, and market share. However, a positive attitude towards the brand and high loyalty and trust in it, the clear advantages of the product or service make customers less susceptible to the influence of competitors’ communications;
- reputational crises. Unexpected reputation crises hit even well-respected brands and can drastically reduce sales, margins, and market share (think of the Volkswagen and Tylenol scandals). Long-term investments in branding and advertising reduce the damage from such crises, as they provide a cushion for the brand to respond. This is because strong positive associations and feelings of customers towards a brand are difficult to quickly destroy even with a bad reputational crisis;
- strategic threats and opportunities. Since branding and advertising are based on thorough target audience research, important threats can be detected early and effectively prevented, and strategic opportunities can be exploited before competitors know about them.
What are the difficulties in measuring the impact of branding and advertising on business performance
There are several important nuances to consider in order to correctly measure the impact of branding and advertising.
Accumulation of influence over time
Often, at first glance, it seems that branding and advertising have nothing to do with sales, profits and market share. Imagine the concept of promoting Moscow at Moscow Travel Create and compete for a prize fund of 100,000K USD
This is because the effect travels down the length of the marketing funnel, pushing prospects slightly (by a few percentage points) from one stage to the next.
Effective branding and advertising can make a customer think about a brand a couple of percentage points more than before, or associate positive feelings with a brand a few percentage points more than before.
Such a subtle and stretched effect is difficult to detect as those few percentage points can be lost in the statistical noise.
But this seemingly insignificant increase in awareness and positive perceptions can lead to future sales increases of a few percentage points, often multi-million dollar increases in profits.
Wrong time frame
It takes time for the effect of even the most effective branding and advertising to fully manifest itself. If the measurements are taken ahead of time (often tracking is done the next day or a few days after the end of the communication campaign), the statistics will show that there was no effect.
This, however, is an erroneous conclusion, and it is caused by the wrong choice of time frame for the measurement.
On the other hand, if measurements are taken too late, it can also lead to the wrong conclusion that your branding and advertising was a failure.
Any effect disappears naturally over time.
Countering competitor communications
Sometimes branding and advertising helps to prevent the target audience from falling for competitors’ communications, losing sales and losing market share to competitors.
In this case, the analysis may show that there is no statistical relationship between your branding and advertising efforts and business results.
However, the impact was actually very important.
In order to objectively establish that an advertisement caused an increase in sales, four conditions must be met:
- advertising is shown before the start of sales;
- More ads seen correlate with more sales.
- all factors affecting the apparent connection between advertising and sales should be excluded;
- there must be a logical explanation of how advertising affects sales.
In the field of strategic communications, most often problems arise with the third condition.
For example, we are launching a new advertising campaign, and at the same time a competitor is loudly launching a great new product, or news about some relevant technological innovation is being broadcast loudly, changing the preferences of the target audience , or something similar happens.
All of these events can affect sales, margins and market share. And since these events happened at the same time as our advertising campaign, it will be difficult to separate their influence from the influence of our advertising campaign.
Such experiments are carried out in the real world (for example, in a store or showroom).
For example, package A was displayed in the morning, and in the afternoon, package B is used on the same shelf of the same store.
As a result, it is possible to compare the number of buyers who stop to look at the same product in different packages.
Assume that package A attracted fewer people than B. Since this type of study is not a true experiment, it does not rule out all alternative explanations for why package A received less attention.
It is possible that package A was worse. It is also possible that buyers were in a greater hurry in the morning than in the afternoon.
Some of these alternative explanations can be ruled out statistically, others methodologically, but there will always be some that cannot be ruled out.
How to more accurately measure the impact of branding and advertising
Measure intermediate results
Since the impact of branding and advertising is distributed over time, it is necessary to measure specific effects at different stages of the marketing funnel (for example, awareness, openness to trial, purchase intention, etc.).
Also, since influence has an intermediate stage, it is necessary to measure specific intermediate effects (eg, perceived differentiation from competitors, brand loyalty, etc.).
Use the right time frame
You should carefully consider what time interval to choose between the end of the advertising campaign and the measurement of its impact. Logic and past tests should guide this choice.
Multiple waves of the same measurements (using multiple time frames) can be invaluable for measuring the impact of current and future companies.
Consider factors that distort the impact of branding and advertising
During an advertising campaign, it is necessary to carefully monitor the actions of competitors and other relevant external and internal events.
For example, if there was an unexpected high-profile rebranding of a competitor, we can be sure that the effect of our advertising campaign was actually greater than the statistics show.
In this case, part of this effect was “spent” on counteracting the competitor’s unexpected action.
Use “real” experiments
These types of studies give maximum confidence in the conclusions about the impact of branding and advertising. Such experiments do not require large samples and can be carried out quickly.
The main problem of these experiments is the dissimilarity between the conditions of the laboratory where the research is being carried out and the real world. However, it is possible to design research in such a way that it mimics the real world sufficiently for the results to be informative.
Choose the right KPIs
Everyone is interested in sales, margin and market share. But using these three variables as KPIs to measure the impact of branding and advertising is an overly simplistic, head-butting procedure.
Attempting to assess the true impact of branding and advertising by examining sales, margins, and market share will cause the analysis to miss important effects and rather be detrimental to strategic decision making.
Instead, in order to properly assess the impact of our branding and advertising campaign, we must select KPIs that have branding and advertising as the only or top reasons, have a strong relationship with sales, margins, and market share, and are important to the strategic goals of the branding and advertising campaign.
Effectiveness and effectiveness of branding
Determining the economic effect of creating and developing a brand is a rather difficult task. As noted by D. Aaker, “… investment in brand building is as difficult to justify as investment in any other intangible assets”  . P. Doyle writes that brands like HM A increase the company’s shareholder value. Therefore, the economic effect of brand management is formed due to four factors:
- 1) brands increase cash flows (increasing revenues, reducing costs and reducing investment);
- 2) brands accelerate cash flows (risks and time reduce the cost of future flows, which means that it is necessary to strive to receive them faster);
- 3) brands have a positive effect on the long-term value of the company , this influence is exerted by investments invested in tangible and intangible assets;
- 4) brands reduce the cost of capital and risks , as well as stabilize the expected cash flows  .
Thus, in order to accurately assess the economic effect of branding and, accordingly, the return on investment in its creation and development, it is necessary to calculate the financial value of the brand using the income sharing method. This method is used by such well-known companies as Interbrand , Zinzmeyer & Lux (Switzerland), Brand Finance (Great Britain), V-Ratio (Russia), etc. When calculating the financial value of a brand, this method calculates two key indicators of the brand’s influence on predicted cash flows:
- 1) brand contribution (the degree of influence of the brand on consumer demand);
- 2) brand strength (brand influence on risk reduction for the company).
Brand contribution reflects the degree of its influence
on consumer choice in the purchasing decision process. Brand Contribution measures the proportion of cash flows from EVA intangible assets that originate from the brand. Brand contribution is a function of marketing, and this indicator can also contain key performance indicators (KPIs) of the marketing departments in the company.
The strength of the brand (brand strength) reflects the ability to reduce risks for the company, to make its business activities more diversified, stable and reliable. The brand strength measure represents the probability of receiving predicted cash flows. Based on this indicator, a discount factor is calculated, by which the projected cash flows from the brand are reduced. Brand strength is a function of management, and this indicator can be included in the KPI of management departments in the company.
Thus, the most important brand factors that form the economic effect are:
- • influence of the brand on consumer demand (strengthening demand and competitiveness);
- • influence of the brand on risk reduction for the firm (effective use of brands for business diversification).
In the materials of D. Haig, O. V. Kitova, O. K. Oyner, O. N. Alkanova, T. Munoz, S. Kumar, S. Davis, M. Dunn, V. II. Domnina offers various models to evaluate the effectiveness of the management, marketing and branding management system. The model of transformation of corporate activities into market and financial indicators of the company by influencing the perception, attitudes and activity of consumers is presented in Table. 13.1.
Transformation of the company’s actions into its market and financial
|Company impact on the market||Consumer Perceptions||Installationconsumers||Expressionactionconsumers||Marketindicators||Financial indicators|
|Product.Range.Price. Sales channels. Service. The site of the company. Advertising. Sales promotion. Advertising at points of sale. Public relations.Special events. Sponsorship. Charity||Induced awareness. Spontaneous awareness. Brand image. Understanding brand identity. brand attributes. Brand reputation. Product quality. Product reliability. The ratio “quality / price”. Availability. Visibility||Brand preference. Brand loyalty. Intention to buy. Brand relevance. Brand opinions. brand attractiveness. Brand trust. Brand respect. Brand credibility. Brand satisfaction. Brand review. Willingness to buy at premium prices. Willingness to recommend||Product testing. Trial purchases. Repeat purchases. Regular consumption.behavioral commitment. Purchase frequency. Purchase size. “Word of mouth”||Volume of sales.Dynamics of sales volume.The sizemarket.Dynamicssizemarket.Market share. Market share dynamics. Sustainability of sales volume.Share of votes.The level of quantitative distribution. Level of quality distribution||Revenue. Cash flows. Margin. Operating profit. Net profit. Economic value added. Brand value. Business value|
This approach provides a systematic understanding of the branding activities of the company and evaluation of the effectiveness of branding in six areas: the impact on consumers, perceptions, attitudes and market behavior of consumers, market and financial results from branding activities.
The concept of efficiency is based on comparing the effect obtained with the costs. Branding performance management (BPM) plays a special role in the marketing performance management system. Comprehensive branding performance management is implemented at three levels:
- 1) strategic branding (managing the effectiveness of brand management and brand marketing);
- 2) tactical branding (evaluation of the effectiveness of branding);
- 3) operational branding (monitoring the position of the brand).
The strategic level is designed to achieve strategic
company goals. At the tactical level , the solution of various tasks necessary to achieve strategic goals is organized. The operational level defines the planning, organization and control of numerous branding activities, which are a means to solve tactical problems.
At the operational level, it is necessary to measure many parameters (metrics) in the market environment in order to organize and evaluate the effectiveness of branding activities. Efficiency at the tactical level is measured by KPI. Performance management at the strategic level is based on a balanced scorecard (BSC). For top managers, business owners and investors, the balanced scorecard is integrated with the company’s key financial performance indicators, which are aggregated into a dashboard. Such a dashboard displays a graphical scorecard that gives a holistic view of the effectiveness of company management.
BRAND PERFORMANCE EVALUATION
Evaluation of brand effectiveness – the beginning of the article….
Model of “contact branding” metrics by S. Davis and M. Dunn
Now a very fashionable topic is CJM (Customer Juney Map) and points of contact. In fact, this is the development of the idea of integrated marketing communications, which has existed since the last century.
The essence of this concept is that through the identification and control of the points of contact between the brand and the consumer, it is possible to evaluate the effectiveness of brand management. At the same time, touch points are understood as all those ways, using which “existing and potential consumers come into contact with the brand and which can or are already used to influence current or future decisions related to the brand”.
The first group of points of contact is aimed at attracting consumers, forming knowledge about the brand before making a purchase. At this stage, the experience of contact with the brand is acquired through communication tools – advertising, PR, promotions, sales promotion.
The goals of marketing communications are:
- create brand awareness,
- create brand perception and expectations associated with it,
- convey the main benefits and benefits,
- encourage the consumer to consider the brand for purchase.
At this stage, it is important to form such expectations among the consumer, which will be fulfilled in the future. Otherwise, a pleasant experience associated with expectations will be completely offset by a negative experience at the time of purchase or use. In this case, you can not count on efficiency. After all, the consumer will not come a second time and will not recommend it to anyone.
The second group of touch points is formed during the purchase and is aimed at creating a positive experience of interaction between the consumer and the brand at the time of the transaction. Here, the quality of sales service, the qualifications and friendliness of the staff have a strong influence. If this is a store, then the atmosphere in the store, merchandising, and promotions in the store itself (for example, sampling, tastings) will be important. If the experience is positive, then it is at this point that the consumer will be ready to pay more than for a similar product of competitors or will gladly purchase something additional or more expensive option.
The third group is contacts after making a purchase. The goal is to maintain a favorable relationship with those who have already made a purchase of the brand, and achieve a high level of satisfaction for these consumers. After-sales activities, guarantees and service are important here, as well as loyalty programs – discount cards, promotions for regular customers, client communities. The measure of the effect here will be repeated purchases of loyal consumers and recommendations.
The effectiveness of the concept of contact branding is that the consumer receives a positive experience at all stages of contact with the brand. Negative experience, accordingly, will lead to a decrease in the effectiveness or inefficiency of branding as a whole. That is why all points of contact and constant work with them are important.
As a result, the effectiveness of contact branding lies in the fact that the consumer receives a positive impression at all levels of contact with the brand. A negative customer experience at one of the levels of touch points will lead to ineffective branding as a whole.
For the contact branding model, the authors propose two types of metrics – strategic and tactical.
Strategic metrics measure the brand’s impact on business performance. How effective is the contribution of the brand to the success of the company as a whole, how the company’s efforts to create a brand and actions at points of contact with it affect the overall results of work.
There are six such metrics:
- brand extension,
- attracting customers with a brand,
- brand customer retention
- brand buying,
- brand price premium
- brand loyalty.
Tactical metrics measure the effectiveness of branding in terms of shaping the consumer experience at brand touch points.
The authors of the model refer to tactical metrics as:
- brand awareness,
- brand understanding,
- brand relevance/relevance,
- brand trust,
- delivering brand promises
- brand preference,
- brand review,
- influence of the brand on the purchase decision,
- brand promise fulfillment,
- brand satisfaction,
- brand recommendation.
Performance analysis provides an opportunity to identify brand strengths and weaknesses and identify those brand touch points that require special attention, enhancement or correction.
The choice of metrics depends on the objectives of the assessment, which will be individual for each company.
The table (Fig. 3) will help you identify those metrics that may become relevant specifically for your goals.
Figure 3. Correspondence of goals and metrics in the model of “contact branding” by S. Davis and M. Dunn
The three models considered are currently the easiest to implement for companies of any type and size of business.
What are the first steps to take to evaluate the effectiveness of your brand?
If you work for a large company and you have a portfolio of brands, then you should adapt the integral indicators model to your needs and keep records. It is clear that some of the measurements cannot be carried out every month, but at least once a year you can study some of the indicators – for example, awareness indicators and market share.
NPS (Net Promoter Score) is often used to measure satisfaction. The indicator reflects consumer commitment and willingness to recommend, sometimes used to assess readiness for repeat purchases.
Measuring the NPS Loyalty Index involves a few simple steps:
- Consumers are asked to answer the question “What is the probability that you will recommend the company/product/brand to your friends/acquaintances/colleagues?” on an 11-point scale, where
0 corresponds to the answer “I will not recommend in any case”,
10 – “I will definitely recommend”.
- Based on the ratings obtained, all consumers are divided into 3 groups:
9-10 points – supporters (promoters) of the product / brand,
7-8 points – neutral consumers,
0-6 points – critics (detractors).
- Direct calculation of the NPS index. NPS = % Supporters – % Critics. If it turns out to be a negative value, it is necessary to take urgent measures. If the value is positive, then select activities that will help increase the indicator.
It is recommended that you add two more questions that will help you gain invaluable information and improve the situation immediately.
- why did you rate it like that
- what can we do better to get you a 10 next time?
Measurements can be taken continuously, after each transaction, by asking these few simple questions if you have a product or service on the Internet. At the moment, there are even special software modules that allow you to quickly organize an assessment of the quality of a service or product sold.
If you sell food or other FMCG products, you will need to evaluate this indicator by conducting additional consumer surveys. But for FMCG, market share and shelf space will be more important, as well as the average number of purchases per unit of time and the share of costs in the buyer’s budget. NPS is often included in the KPI system for marketing and sales departments.
With CRM, you can determine what happens to which product or brand at any stage of the sales funnel and in the after-sales period, what percentage of repeat business and in which customer segments. With the development of digital marketing, obtaining data for analysis becomes possible at any time. If you have data, you can correct it very quickly.
For effective brand management at all stages of interaction with the consumer, create a map of points of contact and evaluate how good, bad or average you are at each point. This is perhaps one of the few fairly simple and not very costly ways to manage the effectiveness of branding events.
To work with the map of points of contact, there are services that help build the client’s path and collect a complete picture in a single matrix. An example of such services is UXPressia, Touchpoint Dashboard, Сanvanizer, Realtimeboard.
For food and other FMCG products that are sold off-line, unfortunately, these services are not very suitable. You will have to periodically conduct research and surveys of consumers. And improve your packaging, adjust your communications campaigns, and get the best shelf space.
Each type of product and each industry has its own specifics, so you will not find ready-made recipes. But with the help of models, you can at least form a set of metrics that are worth tracking specifically for your brand.
In order to completely surprise and delight financiers, you can calculate ROBI (a variation of the classic ROI, but in the aspect of the brand)
ROI=(Income from investments – the size of investments) / Amount of investments *100%
Accordingly, the ROBI (Return of Brand Investment) formula will look like this
ROBI = (Brand income – Brand investment) / Brand investment * 100%
A reasonable question arises – what will be considered income from the brand and what will be considered investments in the brand.
Brand investments include:
- preliminary investments in development – product, design, concepts, production of commercials and banners;
- investments in communication programs;
- personnel costs (for example, if you have to hire another brand manager to implement the next project for one of the brands);
- other costs related to the project.
Income will be considered the growth of gross income after the introduction of the brand.
I agree that the formula is rather controversial and will always raise a lot of questions – what to include, what not to include. However, if there was an increase in gross revenue after the introduction of the brand, then you did everything right and your efforts were effective.
The most difficult thing is to determine the period for which to count. From the moment the brand is introduced, it is better to count in a year, when there is already an accumulated effect and revenue statistics. It often makes no sense to consider ROBI, since a brand is a strategic intangible asset that takes time to reach its design capacity. But then, with proper management, with control of points of contact, you will receive an additional effect.
Working with a brand and performance management are tasks that require a systematic approach and regular consistent actions. In this case, the success of your brand will be inevitable.
Examples of the work of PR agencies: a strong brand without much investment
One of the advantages of online business is that almost any performance indicators can be calculated here. On the other hand, a large number of available metrics can confuse even experienced Internet marketers and add headaches to web analysts. As a result, in practice, some business representatives on the Internet consider only CTR (advertising click-through rate). Yes, this indicator is important and provides answers to many questions that are significant for marketing. But there are other important metrics as well. We will tell you more about those that are strategic in nature and allow you to evaluate the effectiveness of PR and branding campaigns.
Metrics for brand and business purpose
When doing PR promotion on the Internet, the first thing to do is to focus on two specific and calculated goals:
- increasing awareness,
- impact on brand perception.
With the growth of recognition, you can count on the influx of new customers. The second metric is more complex, it helps track user engagement, aims to build and/or maintain trust, and indirectly influences customer decisions. Work within the framework of PR-promotion should force the client to change the current opinion about the brand and lead to purchases on the site being promoted.
In the process of working with these two goal metrics, marketers and analysts will need key KPIs that demonstrate performance in each specific direction chosen. And all these areas can be identified five:
- first acquaintance with the brand;
- attracting an audience;
- customer engagement;
- building long-term (loyal) relationships;
- influence on decisions made.
We will describe in detail those metrics that will help track and analyze each of these five steps as part of an ongoing PR campaign.
First acquaintance with the brand: types of metrics in PR
At the start of a PR campaign for a new brand, they usually try to inform users about the site, the enterprise, events taking place within the promoted object, the results of the work done, etc. The project may concern the following:
- emergence of new services/products;
- improving the quality characteristics of the goods;
- creating a profitable commercial offer.
PR campaigns are launched by the agency to build relationships with new clients and form stronger bonds with existing customers.
We will focus on the fact that in e-commerce we operate with the concepts of digital strategies. They, as in the case of conventional advertising, aim at a wide audience coverage, arouse natural interest in a new brand . The goal of the campaign is to get people thinking about the brand/product being promoted . A distinctive feature of digital is that even for the smallest business it is possible to set up web analytics and objectively monitor the achievement of goals. For example, you can track two important parameters such as:
- unique viewers – unique views;
- impression frequency – the frequency of ad impressions (or the number of views per user).
For digital marketing, it is considered fair to say that more impressions give better results. But in practice, the following is often observed: the 10th or 11th viewing, as well as all subsequent ones, have practically no effect on the final result for the business. And actually web analytics will help you choose the optimal number of ad impressions for one user. This minimizes the cost of advertising campaigns, while leaving all the chances of maximizing profits.
Company mentions online
To quantify this parameter, there is a separate metric – brand buzz. It counts the number of mentions of the company on all web sites. The metric directly and indirectly shows how strong the influence of the brand is on the target audience.
But just a positive trend in brand buzz is not a reason to rejoice. Perhaps now the whole market is on the rise and mentions are increasing all brands without exception. Therefore, it is also extremely important to compare the number of mentions of the promoted brand and its competitors. Usually they use the ratio of the company’s brand buzz to the mentions of all competitors in your niche. This is how they get a share of mentions (that is, share of the conversation). This is a more specific metric that reflects the frequency of “talks” about your brand compared to the overall “buzz” in the niche.
When starting a PR campaign, it does not matter what kind of brand mentions there are: good or bad. All you need is metrics about how often the company is talked about. Google Trends will help you estimate the share of search queries – share of search. It is equal to the ratio of queries about the promoted brand to the total number of search sessions in a particular niche. Thus, it is easy to see in numbers what is more in demand – for you or for competitors.
Consider a specific example for Android, iPhone and Blackberry brands. Through Google Trends, you can realistically assess their current position in a particular segment. First, it is recommended to set a certain period of time: a year, two or more. And based on this data, Google Trends builds graphs of search queries. For these brands, they are increasing over a long period of time (with the exception of Blackberry, which has lost ground in recent years). But this is not yet the share of search queries, it must be calculated using a formula.
In November 2013, the distribution of mentions of these brands looked like this:
- Android – 44;
- iPhone – 52;
- Blackberry – 8.
In this case, the numbers are not the number of requests, but normalized values on specific time dates. To get the search share for Blackberry, you need to divide the numerical value for this brand by the sum of all indicators in the same month. It turns out that the monthly share for Blackberry in November 2013 was only 0.07%.
We also note that when analyzing brand buzz and share of search, the selection of competitors is also important. Relatively speaking, for regional business, it is most likely necessary to be equal to the same regional and national companies, and not to the international market.
The impact of video advertising on brand awareness
The next useful web analytics tool for PR campaigns is Brand Lift. In fact, this is a free tool from Google that will help you evaluate how brand awareness and recall changes in relation to the placed video ads. Here you can control two numerical indicators, namely awareness (recognition) and ad recall (memorability).
Google Brand Lift essentially performs a user survey. It is provided to obtain information from different categories of the population by sex, age, etc. Additionally, the tool measures awareness and ad recall for people who have watched a brand’s video ad and those who have not seen it. Another feature of the service is determining whether the frequency of showing ads affects recognition or not.
Who are your online customers: how to determine the number of potential customers?
Assessing the prospects of your business on the Internet, it is necessary to predict the size of the target audience. Entrepreneurs receive similar data on Facebook by setting a portrait of the target audience. And the more accurately this portrait is formed, the closer to reality the information about the number of potential customers will be. But every time to use the services of a social network is not always convenient. It is worth trying to calculate the likely number of your potential buyers using other marketing tools.Consider the example of a conditional brand. Assume that our buyer persona is female, aged 18-34. Using a demographic study of the population and the public, we understand that the number of the target audience is 6.4 million. Next, we look at online statistics to understand how many of the selected audience are visited by online media. This can be done using services like eMarketer. They segment users, including demographics. Let’s assume that it turns out 5.4 million. It turns out that about 84% of the entire target audience of our brand “lives” in the network.With this data and information from previous metrics, you can determine the percentage of the population that is already familiar with the promoted brand (let’s say they saw your ad). The coverage will be equal to the ratio of unique viewers (unique views) to the total number of target audience presented on the Internet.
The distance traveled can be systematized and presented in a short table. It will help you better understand what marketers achieve at the initial stage of brand promotion and what can be improved.
|Quantitative characteristics for optimization||Calculations for evaluating the constructed strategy (first results)|
|unique viewers (unique views)||online mentions|
|impression frequency||Comparison of your brand with the total number of searches in the selected segment|
|Google Brand Lift Service||recognition|
The second stage of brand marketing: attracting an audience
The purpose of launching an advertising campaign is to transfer the target audience of the brand to its territory (into the category of potential customers). This will help to establish communications with the public and bring them closer to the status of a real buyer / client. The “territory” refers to all digital platforms managed by you or your contractors: websites, landing pages, social media accounts, mobile applications. All these sites, against the background of ordinary advertising, are distinguished by the possibility of feedback.
Next, we need to determine the CTR – the click-through rate, which is determined by the ratio of the number of clicks to the total number of impressions. In addition, you need to evaluate the failure rate . The presence of these two indicators allows you to optimize the advertising campaign. Marketers from this data see two important indicators:
- the interest of the target audience in the advertising offer;
- the quality of the page that users are directed to when they click on the ad . And the chain of subsequent actions will show how the site is able to fulfill all the expectations of interested consumers.
Newbies often make the mistake of taking into account the overall average bounce rate of the site. It is more correct to rely on the data for each specific landing page in combination with the CTR of advertising objects that bring visitors. To obtain digital values, any popular web analytics services are used, where they are collected. The most accessible of them is Google Analytics. In the reports of this system, you can find the number of unique visitors. And this metric gives an idea of the popularity of your site. Whereas the number of new customers will show the speed of dissemination of information about the brand. The combination of these metrics is used to optimize the costs of advertising campaigns.
The growing popularity of social networks sometimes makes it a priority for a PR campaign to attract users to business accounts on Facebook, Instagram, and others. But in this case, you also need to track the number of views and the number of participants.
Another indicator that is used to evaluate the effectiveness of attracting an audience is the share of traffic (share of traffic). This value is calculated as the share of search queries, that is, the traffic to your site must be divided by the total traffic in the niche. So you get objective information about how many visitors to the network prefer the promoted brand compared to competitors.
Let’s summarize the data obtained at the second stage of the PR campaign in a short table:
|Attracting users to brand platforms|
|Quantitative characteristics for optimization||Calculations for evaluating the constructed strategy|
|clickability of advertising objects||share of traffic (share of traffic)|
|number of page bounces|
|Analytics for social accounts|
Engagement: how interested users are in interacting with the brand
When two stages have been passed: the brand is known to the user and the first transitions to the promoted site (or other company sites) have already been made, an even more difficult need arises – to please the client. All the work done so far has been done to ensure that visitors to the landing page perform some action on it: watch the video, read the article, subscribe, or simply like the post/video. If you observe such user activity, then you tried not in vain.
Having 100% confidence that the portal has no technical problems, loads quickly and the transitions between the pages of the site are correct, you can safely proceed to the analysis of the following parameters:
- the duration of the user’s stay on the landing page;
- number of clicks per session (number of pages viewed per session);
- average time on site (average time on site).
These metrics are available in Google Analytics. But you can not delude yourself ahead of time, if all these indicators are large. So, for example, the number of pages visited does not give an unambiguous answer to the question: why the transitions were made. The site aroused genuine interest, or all due to the fact that the visitor rushes about in search of the necessary information and cannot find it.
Indirect confirmation that you are on the right track is the number of comments, the number of likes, subscribers, as well as recommendations on social networks to read your note or article . Today, users who value their accounts on Twitter or Facebook share on their personal page only the content that they are not ashamed to show. It is noteworthy that heated discussions regarding the material itself or the ideas considered in the publication often flare up on third-party pages. This can be explained by the fact that it is there that the topic falls into the environment of the target audience and people have something to say on this issue.
“Likes” are also considered a sure sign of communication, that the publication is liked. But still, they mean that the user, as a rule, does not want to spend more time on a particular page.
This brings us to the important point: key engagement actions. Counting likes, followers, and other interaction metrics gives a numerical score for this parameter. Each social network has its own set of key engagement actions. They are tracked through the settings of special tools. And already on your sites with analytics, PR indicators are helped by Google Analytics, where you need to properly manage the goals offered by the system or set independently.
Getting users to take the actions a brand wants is not always easy. So, many are categorically against subscriptions, registration and other things. On the other hand, the site often offers that informational minimum for which you won’t take money, but it’s a pity to give more just like that. These can be life hacks, master classes, the results of your own research. Alternatively, for online stores, announcements of future promotions are suitable. It remains only to offer visitors an equivalent exchange:
- watching videos for a subscription;
- sending profitable offers only to registered users;
- notification of promotions to users of the application earlier than to everyone else, etc.
By the way, sign ups or in Russian “registration” also refers to one of the metrics. Google Analytics users should take it into account in the goal settings.
Another quantifiable parameter for monitoring engagement in a PR campaign is the number of subscribers or subscriptions. They can subscribe via RSS (more rarely) or through the appropriate buttons on social networks. For example, on Twitter there are “followers” and “followers”. On Facebook, “friends” or “group members.” But it is worth remembering that a large number of subscribers does not affect the quality of communication, does not bring any additional profit. Especially if these same subscriptions are not obtained naturally, but due to various “cheats”. The business has no motive to pricelessly increase subscriptions. It is always more beneficial to build long-term relationships with those people who will really be interested in staying on your site.
Let’s summarize this section. Let’s briefly recall useful metrics that allow you to understand how important your site is for users and what is the level of their involvement:
|Building relationships with users|
|Optimization options||Strategic parameters|
|number of sessions||key engagement actions|
|duration of one visit||subscribers, readers, followers|
|number of clicks within the site||registration|
Strategy of long-term relationship with the client and control of repeat visits
Even without statistics and web analysis, it is clear that attracting new customers is a costly activity. Therefore, the focus is on retaining existing and building long-term relationships with them (for example, through social networks and messenger channels). But even this can be expensive for the brand. Therefore, we must strive for the golden mean and create the most favorable conditions for economically mutually beneficial relationships with loyal customers. Plus , brand advocates will certainly appear among the latter , protecting the interests of the company for free and influencing other target audiences.
To evaluate the relationships built with their audience, they use the “returning customers” or returning visitors parameter. The current values will help you evaluate how well things are with repeat visits (i.e. loyalty) and become an impetus for optimizing your work on building influence.
To get an even more complete picture, use the auxiliary parameters:
- return frequency (frequency);
- time of the last visit (recency);
- number of active users (active users).
The logic is this: the more often users return to the site and the less time passes between the current and previous visits, the stronger the relationships built with the target audience of the company. And if everything is in order in this aspect, then you can move on to a new stage of promotion, namely, focusing efforts to turn visitors into active users. All of the metrics listed are offered in Google Analytics.
Also note that there is no one-size-fits-all definition of an active user. But it is often assumed that this is a person who visits the site at least once a week and performs engagement actions on it.
We influence the opinion of consumers or lead the visitor to purchases
Finally, we come to the main goal of virtually any marketing campaign. This is making purchases on the promoted site and choosing it by users, and not the offers of competitors. To do this, the influence on the opinion of the buyer should be significant enough, but not intrusive.
To achieve success in this direction, it will be necessary to monitor the brand based on the results of a launched PR campaign. Plus, it should be understood that business can influence the opinion of the target audience primarily through communication. Accordingly, the following parameters will be important metrics for analyzing this aspect of work:
- share of comments with answers (response rate);
- response time of your employees to brand mentions and/or user requests (turnaround time);
- task completion rate. This metric is similar in essence to conversion, only through the eyes of users, not business;
- customer sentiment. The indicator determines the tone of brand mentions. So, if the brand buzz considered at the very beginning is cumulative “talks” about a business / product, then sentiment is with an emotional coloring. It is clear that the impact will be higher with the overall positive tone of brand mentions.
Another important point of communication is conducting customer surveys. Even though users often shy away from such brand offers, they are worth doing, including offering additional motivation for respondents (the simplest example is a 5% discount for participating in a survey). In surveys, it is recommended to find out about the purpose of the visit, visitor satisfaction, etc.
We looked at useful metrics for evaluating brand building and brand impact efforts. All of them are extremely important to monitor when conducting PR campaigns. Even on a free basis, many web analytics services and tools provide information on many of these metrics. It remains only to set the appropriate goal in the work.
For the effective operation of an online store or other selling site, it is not enough to automatically configure analytical services to collect the above metrics. Qualitative assessment of the received data is one of the key tasks of analysts, marketers, and PR specialists.