Julian Grainger

Head of SEO at Unique

Google as a brand measure

One of the biggest mistakes by marketers new to Google is handing over Google Adwords and Search to an advertising agency. I include SEO practitioners as agencies within that context.

The real value of Google is not in the lead generation, which is important tactical execution, but in critical bits of information about brand and consumer behaviour. Specifically:

  1. what are people searching and how they are looking for your product
  2. the recognition and pull of your brand.

These are strategically important and form part of the knowledge in developing your marketing program and how you talk to your customers. For any website, not just an ecommerce site, in fact any business, the information you can get for free on Google can save you thousands in research and brand measurement as well as provide valuable insight into your customers motivations. This post is about the brand.

Googling your brand measurement

Over time knowing how often someone searches for your brand, if at all, tells you whether your advertising is providing long term value.

Below is a graph of the number of searches for Direct Broking on Google Trends since 2004.  Up until November 2007, on my arrival, the website had done no real advertising. Just PR and a brand pull strategy. Unfortunately brand pull doesn’t work without an initial concerted push. So no one looked for Direct Broking. We did some optimisation, Google Adwords and PR straight away and a brand campaign throughout February before we really pushed hard in the 2nd and 3rd quarters of 2008.

Searches for Direct Broking since 2004

Searches for “direct broking” since 2004

What this graph shows is a very real recall of the brand name since we started investing in awareness, first with some spikes at the start and then as we campaign. Best of all there is some real consistency coming through in between later activity where people are still searching our name.  So our acquisition based internet advertising program is delivering for the brand. Who says you can’t brand on the internet?

The second cool bit of brand knowledge is how often you are searched compared to your competitors.  This shows your mind share against your competitors. With the Google keyword tool I compared us to our previously better known and better marketed, bigger budget competitor.

I typed in our brand name and theirs (asb securities) for New Zealand based searches (our stomping ground) and what I got was a lot more variations of our brand name and bigger volumes of people searching. Our volumes are about 20% higher which is not bad for an internet advertising strategy versus a very powerful, consistent, television sponsorship (yes I am a bit jealous). This was also the other way around a year ago so we’ve gained and overtaken on brand recall through Google. This will be indicative for the rest of the population.

Brand measurement on Google isn’t exact science, nor is it as good as a traditional, surveyed brand monitor. But, if like me, you want to spend money on pointy activities, it’s good guidance on whether you’re doing the right thing.

Next time consumer behaviour.

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