A quick and easy guide to get started with Brand Analysis, branding metrics, and building robust brand analytics practices for a more competitive business.
I recently attended a conference titled “Mastering Your Digital Marketing Mix” where the panelists discussed numerous brand-related topics including brand positioning, brand values, and brand acceptance. During the conversation, the panelists dove into their efforts to get acute branding metrics from their online presence, which included Facebook, Google Analytics, Twitter, etc. As is the case with many conferences, they began discussing their achievements from their brand analytics practices but they never spelled out the “how to create a successful brand analytics practices” that the majority of audience members were craving to hear in order to replicate that model for themselves. It seems that for such an important topic in the industry, the “how” continues to be elusive to most of us. In this article, I will attempt to drive that conversation forward by giving a starting point in understanding brand analytics in a way that will help guide brand and marketing organizations forward towards long-term growth.
Before I get started, you need to realize that if you don’t have a clear and differentiated brand story, no amount of technology or analytics platforms will make a company or a product successful. The message is as important as the analytics behind it.
What is Brand Analytics?
We define a “brand” as the sum of all feelings, thoughts and recognitions that a target audience will have about a company. Consequently, the definition of brand analytics or brand analysis is:
our ability to quantitatively measure all the feelings, thoughts, interactions, and recognitions from a target audience.
These quantitative measurements, or brand metrics, are then put together to help companies make informed business decisions that will strengthen the brand insights, drive marketing, drive sales, and increase long-term profitability.
How to Set up your Brand Analytics
There are a number of ways that we can quantitatively measure brand promotions or brand standings in digital channels. The article will focus on helping you set up the following KPIs for brand analytics:
- New vs. returning visitors
- Visitor loyalty and frequency of visits
- Traffic from communities
- Target action
- Introducing a New Product
- Search Share
- Traffic Differences vs competitors
This guide will help you get started and should not be considered definitive to all situations. You might find that as you continue with these practices, you will want to know new information. When that happens, you are well on your way to becoming a brand analytics master.
1) Brand insights Category 1: New vs Returning Visitors.
We begin by focusing on the key goal for the brand campaign: drive visitors to the site (measuring new and returning visitors). The way that we will measure our impact is by measuring the change in the percentage of New Visitors to the website from your ad interactions and campaigns. Set up your Google Analytics to understand new vs returning visitors. Then, the metric “Change in percentage of New vs. Returning” tells you what is the comparative increase of first time visitors that came to your site. Note that if you’re interacting with users through Facebook, you will want to have your analytics reflect who’s interacting with your Facebook page, are they clicking on your call to actions, then going to your site, etc…
2) Brand insights Category 2: Visitor Loyalty (before and after) and repeat visits by frequency.
Now that you know where visitors are coming from, you will want to identify who is most active with your brand buy comparing visitor loyalty to repeat visits by frequency (Recency). Measuring recency for the paid traffic, campaign traffic, or social media traffic will let us know if the frequency of visits increase in a campaign compared to your previous status quo. To measure this, just compare your first time visits from paid traffic vs all visits.
3) Brand insights 3: Traffic from communities
By setting up your Google Analytics correctly, you can start measuring where users are coming from based on the domain/link. Filter out those links that contain words as /community/ or /Forum/ or /Thread/ in their link. With it, we can measure this metric to see how much the brand is being talked about in the general forums.
4) Brand insights Category 4: Target Action or Digital Call to Actions
Your Facebook campaign or Google Ads campaign will undoubtedly ask a target consumer to interact with you in specific ways. In many cases, this can be offline actions (ie, purchase in store) or online action (refer a friend, write a review, etc). These are direct indicators of a Brand value and can be measured by combining your brand campaign with your action call data. Here are some examples of how to measure your campaign impact with target action:
- Quick on exit survey forms give you data
- Referral (both online and offline)
- Online purchase
- Download app
- Share link with promotional code
Note that you can obtain these brand metrics in different ways: If you’ve set up your brand analytics correctly at this point, simply comparing that data with sales for example, will give you an idea as to the impact of the campaign.
Example: A software company uses Stripe to manage their online payments. Every month they are getting about $10,000 in recurring revenue but haven’t run many branding or marketing campaigns. When they decide to run a campaign, they set up their brand analytics and brand insights to track the success of their campaign. As such, they start tracking New vs returning visitors, loyal vs recent visitors, and call to action interactions such as reviews and clicks on signups. Once they are tracking this, they continuously compare their brand analytics or brand metrics kpis with their stripe revenue data together to see the impact of the campaign. Their data then indicates that loyal users who wrote reviews on the product in Facebook lead to a exponential increase of sales from stripe. Upon realization, the strategy changed form building a complete brand campaign to pushing for more loyal user interactions through Facebook. This decision could not have been made without this data and the accurate and timely analysis of this data was critical for the company to maximize its profit.
5) Brand Insights 5: Introducing a new product
I created a new category here because product introductions require more metrics that should be carefully examined on a continuous basis. These metrics will revolve around all supporting material, including:
- Coupons or promotion codes
- Free downloads / trial memberships
- Landing page form completions
- PDFs/Brochures/Page print
- Visit length
- Navigation paths
- “help” clicks and contact us request
Anyone launching a new product should be monitoring these metrics in real time to learn quickly what is working vs what doesn’t work. This will help you maximize your potential profit while minimizing any potential problem that could really stomp on your launch.
6) Brand Insights Category 6: Search Share
Now you want to compare how you’re doing vs your competitors and why could they be doing better than you. You can do this by measuring volume rank of searches by your competitor’s websites, total keyword volume, and % of site’s search traffic to begin with. This can be done through Google Analytics.
7) Brand Insights Category 7: Traffic Differences vs competitors
You are already measuring search share, now superimpose it with your traffic owing to press release campaigns or any product launches. With this data, you can also measure the comparative effects of the brand promotion activities to your competitor traffic. This can be done through Google Analytics as well.
I get it! How do I create a Brand Analytics report?
Until recently, brand analytics, insights and metrics have resided in several systems and thus prevented any users from automatically bringing this data together for quick and better decisions. As a consequence, users have had to go into the different systems and manually export their data from Google Analytics, Facebook, Twitter, etc.. into excel to then create these reports. Companies will build extensive Facebook analytics excel templates or Google Analytics excel template to speed this process. However, this process is highly error prone (88% of spreadsheets have human errors) and time consuming. This results in brand campaigns that continue to be seen as a cost instead of a revenue generating tool. Only deep data knowledge will change this perception.
Which tools could I use for better Brand Analytics?
There are some tools available that could help change the perception that branding is a cost driver. These include dashboard tools like Tableau and Domo but require large set up and subscription fees, plus complicated maintenance processes. Today, Factivate provides users with the brand analytics and insights tool they have always wished for. Within a few clicks, users are connecting to different systems (including Google Analytics, Facebook Insights, Twitter, and even Stripe) to generate their automated brand insights and metrics spreadsheets.
Is there a brand analytics template that I can use?
Yes, Factivate also built brand analytics spreadsheet templates for marketing and brand organizations that include the brand insights discussed in this article. If you’re looking on how to set up your brand analytics reporting or looking to get better brand insights from Google Analytics and Facebook insights, for example, click here to sign up. When you get a welcome email from a Factivate team member, mention promo code: ILOVEBRANDANALYTICS to immediately get a free trial to their brand analytics platform.
Factivate is a software company part of the Google for Entrepreneurs community in Durham, NC. Factivate provides business users with a cloud-based data analytics platform that can sync with different online tools to create automated, real-time spreadsheet reports and web dashboards with just-in-time business reactions. The result of our intelligent spreadsheet is accurate data analysis that drives better business decisions while reducing manual spreadsheet report time and errors by a factor of 150+ hours/employee/year. Factivate requires no learning curve or programming knowledge. In sharp contrast to the complex and expensive business intelligence tools on the market today, if you know spreadsheets, then you know 95% of what you need to use Factivate–we’ve got the rest covered.