How to Measure Brand Marketing, Both Online and Off

Brand marketing and brand-based advertising are intrinsically difficult to measure. Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t give you a free pass to ignore metrics.

By a show of hands, how many of you know a marketer who has provided little or no data on a marketing campaign because, “it’s just a brand piece?”

Personally, I know quite a few.

Brand marketing and brand-based advertising are intrinsically difficult to measure. Unfortunately, that fact doesn’t give you a free pass to ignore metrics.

As a branding agency, we definitely see the value of brand marketing. When done effectively, brand-based advertising campaigns can provide a lift to all of your sales and marketing efforts across the entire organization. That’s what brand marketing should do, and all of that is inherently measurable. You may not report a direct return on investment, but you should at least be able to measure meaningful boosts in key performance indicators that are important to your business. If you’re looking to measure your brand marketing efforts, we’ve outlined a simple process we like to use to measure brand marketing campaigns.

Start by Defining Clear Branding Objectives

The first, most important, and most obvious step of the process is defining clear branding objectives. The reason brand marketing campaigns fail is because the intent is too broad and undefined. “Increasing brand awareness” is a very opaque goal, and if you’re willing to do the hard work of breaking that idea down into its component parts, you can find something much more actionable, measurable, and effective.

So what does a clear branding objective look like? I like to follow a simple formula:

  1. Start by assuming your ideal prospect is going to see the ad and love it. Every desired outcome is predicated on this assumption, and it divorces the ad’s creative from the strategy behind the ad.
  2. Next, ask yourself, “What do I want this person to do immediately after seeing this ad?”
  3. Next, “What impact do I want this ad to have on this person’s behavior over the next week? Month”
  4. Next, “What impact do I want this ad to have on this person’s behavior a year from now?”
  5. Finally, go through each one of those actions or behavior changes and assign a metric that corresponds or correlates to that action.

Sometimes the correlation will be direct (I want them to buy this product so I will track sales of this product) and other times the correlation will be inferred (I want more people to remember my brand, so I will track search traffic of branded keywords.) Regardless of the metrics you choose to monitor, once you have established a baseline for success, it becomes demonstrably easier to measure success.

Always Measure Engagement Levels

Hopefully, step one yielded a few metrics that will be helpful in measuring the efficacy of your brand marketing campaign, but if you’re still stumped, we always advocate tracking engagement levels when measuring brand marketing efforts. Multiple studies have found a positive correlation between brand recall and engagement levels, and that doesn’t include the long-term positive impact that high engagement levels can have on things like SEO and email sender score.

In my experience, engagement levels tend to be the easiest and most interesting metrics for marketers to follow as success indicators. If you’re running a brand marketing campaign, we’d advise monitoring the following metrics online no matter what your end objectives are:

  • Average time on page, both for the entire website and campaign-specific pages
  • Average session duration
  • Pages per session
  • Engagement levels (likes, retweets, shares, etc.) on social media
  • Open rate and click through rate on email
  • Relevance scores on PPC

Only Measure Brand Marketing By Impressions For the “Wow” Factor

Finally, the biggest mistake we see marketers make when measuring brand marketing is focusing too heavily on eyeballs or impressions. (For offline ads, like billboards and TV spots, these numbers are meaningless fluff.) Tie these ads with a specific action, even if that action is as tertiary as increases in branded keyword search or increases in social following. This will make your overall results deck way more impactful. You can always dust off the impressions number for a “wow” factor, but that can’t be all you bring to the table.

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