Using visual analytics to spotlight brand awareness online


According to a survey conducted by the MIT Sloan Management Review, 58 percent of marketers felt increasing pressure from their senior management to use analytics to make better decisions about their programs.

Yet, many marketers are typically grading their teams and programs on the volume of activity rather than the quality of outcome. If they are measuring performance, they are doing it primarily in silos around execution channels rather than holistically around buyers and their journey. In fact, in a study conducted by Econsultancy and Adobe, nearly three-quarters of respondents reported not having a solid data-driven marketing strategy in place.


Proving value through integrated analytics

The key to proving value is being able to demonstrate outcomes over indicators in a way that non-marketers can understand. This is the importance of implementing integrated data visualization into your analytics, using multiple sources to provide as full a picture as possible on both customers and prospects and their engagement with your brand, from Awareness all the way through to Retention.

The following is the first of a three-part series discussing strategies and tactics for using visual analytics to help drive more understanding and performance from your marketing.

More than a tool set

There are many data visualization tools on the market. While we use Tableau primarily, there are many others that provide powerful platforms to report on the most complex marketing programs. The key is not the tool, but how you use the tool; that makes all the difference.

Measuring awareness behaviorally

Historically, brand awareness has been measured using survey-based studies. While still the most valuable approach, these studies can be time consuming and complex.

In the interim, there are other ways to assess brand visibility through direct consumer behavior. One option is to measure overall brand awareness by tracking brand and service impressions in organic search.

The data

We pulled the keyword impressions and clicks for all the different variations of our branded terms and types of marketing services we provide. While Google no longer shares this information with third-party tools, you can access it directly in their Search Console (formerly Webmaster Tools).

The visualization

Once we had the data, we aggregated the individual keywords around clusters like brand, products, solutions, buyer needs and others. We then set up views to make it easy to monitor increases or decreases over time for both impressions and clicks, like the chart below.


In the case of our own visibility, we found that throughout 2016 we were beginning to build greater awareness around the solutions we offer, which has manifested itself in increases in our organic site traffic. However, we also found that after a strong first quarter our impressions from pure brand-related terms had slowed, meaning we have work to do in promoting our own brand.

We are using this information to help us refine our own content strategy for 2017, when we will be looking for a better balance in the types of content we develop.

Next time, we’ll review how you can use visual analytics to assess multiple engagement activities across a marketing campaign.


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by Shade Wilson

Director of Digital Strategy for Elevation. Shade has more than 15 years experience in digital marketing, is an active speaker and is a past president of the American Marketing Association - Richmond Chapter. He was also the founder of Scalability Project.

Topics: Marketing Analytics