Measuring your brand online can be difficult, but not impossible. To measure the strength of a brand online is not as concrete as counting the number of vehicles sold at a car yard, but that doesn’t mean that it is impossible to get a good picture of performance.
Start by defining what it is you want to measure. Having an online presence through a website opens to door for a range of information (often referred to as countable ‘metrics’, or general values - ‘dimensions’). For example, metrics such as the number of page views, unique visitors or clicks can reveal much insight. Dimensions such as a visitor’s city or country also help you tweak your strategy. Examples of additional measurements include, e.g. how long each visitor spends on a specific web page, and how active they are during the visit.
Some well-defined brands are so well-known and habitual that they can measure their unique strength in relation to the brand. Volvo, for example, can measure how many people associate them with the word "security". IKEA can measure how many people associate their products with being "affordable".
Really big brands almost take on lives of their own, and can be marketed across channels not directly linked to either the business or direct sales. Instead, they build the brands themselves to one day be able to “cash in” thanks to keeping the brand top of mind with potential customers. This is a big part of why one sees major global brands such as Coca Cola and McDonald's sponsoring events such as the European Football Championship.
Or the fact that Ford sponsors the Champions League. It’s unlikely that most would believe that Champions League audience members would buy a Ford the day after. One day, though, the viewer will buy a new car, making it worthwhile for Ford to be associated with something as positive as the Champions League.
According to Advertising Age Datacenter (a site writing about the measuring of trademarks), Coca Cola spent over 3.3 billion USD on advertising in 2013. The brand is so strong that people often just order a "Coke" when they actually mean any kind of cola drink. Coca Cola has given its name to an entire genre.
Some practical tips on how to measure your brand's strength and popularity:
Don’t hesitate to use the same question in a series of surveys; by doing so you gain reference values and will be able to see trends over time. You can also use the same survey multiple times. Be brief and specific, otherwise you risk people not being bothered to respond. Avoid yes and no questions. It’s better to let people rate their answers with words rather than numerical ratings - hence reducing the risk that people misunderstand the grading scale.
2. Measure web traffic
The number of page views, unique visitors, clicks and so on. Additional measurements are, for example, to measure how long each visitor is on a specific web page and how active they are during the visit.
3. Examine the search volume
With the help of tools such as Google Adwords’ Keyword Planner and Google Trends, you can examine how many searches there are for your brand over time.
4. Listen to social media
Good media monitoring tools can easily give you an idea of how your brand is perceived and discussed on social media. You need a tool that does not miss anything relevant, but at the same time features great precision so you do not have to wade through excess information.
Observify users measure both volumes, and gain a more detailed glimpse into private conversations to get a better feel for the tone of your brand. You can also find ambassadors and influencers to help with marketing.