The age of targeted digital marketing has transformed how eCommerce companies build their brand name and prospect for customers.

While TV, print, snail mail, and other approaches still play a vital role in blanketing the world with your brand’s message, digital marketing reigns supreme as the most attributable mechanism to set your brand’s flag in the ground. While the primary measurement of digital success is always going to be “How much did I spend to generate how many conversions?”, there has to be an absolute focus on what you’re doing to build overall awareness of your brand’s existence in the marketplace.

Smart companies read this brand awareness lift from their multi-channel digital efforts in a variety of ways. While it’s easy enough to read conversion rates and Return on Ad Spend, it’s time to step outside the realm of ‘spend and return’ and see what else all of this dedicated digital marketing budget is doing for your brand.

Google Analytics = your BFF

While it can indeed be tough to measure the overall awareness lift that digital efforts provide outside of conversions, clicks, and engagement, let Google Analytics guide your way.

It’s best to silo performance into specific windows of time to get insights into overall awareness while posing the right questions to yourself and your team. For instance…

  • “Since ‘Day 1’ of launching our digital efforts – what do my unique page view totals look like month-over-month and beyond?”
  • “Once we really started to scale our efforts by X%, what has all of this digital spend done to ‘average time spent on page’ amounts?”
  • “How have I impacted the composition of the top pages on our site with digital spend and are there parallels I can draw from these measurements?”

Dig in, because Google Analytics is looking to tell you the story of your brand growth. Build a simple benchmark dashboard that gives you and your team transparency into what is happening to your site traffic as a result of pushing the budget on digital marketing. Pay attention to flags that suggest an overall “lift”. And be talking about it incessantly.

Google to the rescue…AGAIN!

Google provides simple mechanisms for you to measure where your brand name stands in your industry. Using the “Google Trends” section of your account, look at keyword interest specific to your brand name as a quick way to see if returns are increasing or decreasing over time.

Simply Google yourself! Where are you showing up in organic and paid page returns? Where is your brand’s search return priority vs. where it was a month ago? Use your own Google searches to get a heartbeat on if the online-searching world is looking for you. Once again, keep a historical benchmark document that gives insight into where you’re returning week-over-week and beyond.

It pays to be a “social” butterfly.

Keeping an eye on your social media channels by monitoring engagement and followers and participating in conversations on your channels is an important part of the brand growth process. This is referred to as “social media monitoring“. But “social listening” goes beyond looking at high-level social engagement data to dig into what’s being said about your brand on social channels.

While a company can employ their own intelligent methods of social listening, there are also trusted vendors out there who provide helpful third-party tools that allow for advanced social listening. These tools give companies the ability to dig into if they’re trending in conversations. More complex social listening tools give companies the opportunity to create “listening queries” where specific trending expressions can be built to dig deeper into the context of online conversations about a brand. For more information on social listening, check out this deep dive article from Hootsuite on properly using social listening to a brand’s advantage.

Have we mentioned benchmarking your growth?

As you benchmark out what you think to be your best measurement of brand growth, establish what growth metrics lend themselves best to telling the tale of your growth initiatives.

Social engagement is a metric to put in a silo. Measure your engagements vs. how much you’re spending over timed intervals and strap your own engagement rates.

Are you watching your cost to market? Your Cost Per Million Impressions (CPM) and Cost Per Click (CPC) on Paid Search, Paid Social and additional digital channels to serve as indicators that your brand message and the response to these ads are doing enough to win online bids. There are other variables that can impact costs to market in these volatile digital marketplaces, but chances are if you’re winning bids, you’re doing something right in getting your value prop accepted at mass scale.

‘Reach’ (usually read as ‘unique impressions’) is a valuable metric to gauge how you’re scaling awareness efforts. Are you improving your overall reach vs. how much you are spending in a given time period? Are your unique click rates increasing along with this accelerated reach? For each digital channel, keep a close eye on how much your audience is growing and how much you’re paying to increase that growth.

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