Why you should use brand search to measure your marketing effectiveness
Brand search is one of the most important things a marketer can look at to assess their marketing performance. In a world with an overwhelming number of marketing measurements, brand search volume represents a simple but powerful metric that can provide the insights needed to assess whether what you are doing is working.
What is brand search?
When people talk about brand search, their immediate thought is brand search ads. When I talk brand search though, I’m talking about the number of times on a given day that people have searched for your brand and not how often they have seen or clicked on your brand search ad.
How do I measure it?
Organic brand search is a way of people navigating to your website, but so too is direct traffic only the person remembered your URL! Therefore, I find it helpful to combine these two data points given they have the same intent from the person visiting:
Organic brand Searches + Direct traffic
You can get organic brand search data from Google search console and direct traffic data from your site analytics tool.
Why is it important?
Brand search reflects both ends of the marketing spectrum. When someone hears about a brand for the first time, they search for it. When someone has made a decision to buy your product, they also perform a brand search. However, both of these are crucial interactions for a brand and warrant time and effort being spent on them. This is also easy to justify because brand search tends to convert at a much higher rate than anything else. Indeed, a good tactic for any business is to focus on increasing the number of brand searches, as conversions will usually follow.
A word of caution
If brand search reflects both ends of the marketing spectrum, it can be difficult to know what changes in brand search volume actually means. How do you know whether your brand search is reflecting brand awareness campaigns or demand for your product?
You need to look at brand search volume in the context of conversion rate from brand search and volume of conversions from brand search. The below are simplified rules of thumb that will work for most small to medium-sized businesses and provide a useful start point to explore your data in more detail and discover how effective your brand search really is.
Observation: Brand search volume up and conversion rate up
Meaning: The bottom of your funnel is working well
Explanation: Demand for your product has increased
Observation: Brand search volume up and conversion rate down
Meaning: The top of your funnel is doing well
Explanation: More people are becoming aware of your brand
Observation: Brand search volume down and conversion rate down
Meaning: People are not finding what they want on your site
Explanation: Demand for your product has decreased and fewer new people are becoming aware of your brand
Observation: Brand search volume down, conversion rate up
Meaning: The bottom of your funnel is working well but the top isn’t
Explanation: Demand for your product has remained, but fewer new people are becoming aware of your brand
Observation: Brand search volume down, conversion rate up, but the number of conversions down
Meaning: Top of funnel not working well and bottom of funnel not making up the shortfall
Explanation: Demand for your product has decreased and fewer new people are becoming aware of your brand.
Observation: Sharp spike in brand search volume
Meaning: Lots of people have searched for your brand at once
Explanation: Usually due to a discrete event such as a tv ad or press coverage
To conclude, brand search is an easy to measure and powerful metric that is often overlooked by marketers. By including it as part of your regular reporting you will be gifted with data that can quickly produce insights that will drive your business and your brand forward. Brand search data can provide a key monitor for the effectiveness of your marketing efforts over time and should be a vital tool in any marketers toolkit.