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Making digital accountable in the journey of brand building

It is time for digital media to do the heavy lifting for your brand, says Dev Batra, Co-Founder and CEO, lyxel&flamingo. 

Isn’t it ironic that the most measurable and transparent medium at times, continues to be treated as second fiddle to TV advertising – when in fact, building a brand purely on digital media is indeed possible. Today, almost half the nation is plugged in and accessible digitally. The penetration of digital amongst cohorts like the urban India, millennials, Gen X, Gen Z, Indian Middle class etc is even higher. And in the last six odd months, the usage of digital as utility (e-commerce, entertainment, payments, education) has gone up significantly coupled with the fact that their time spent on traditional TV and Print has gone down. 

Alright then, let us address the real pain points.The issue is not that digital is not measurable. The issue is that we aren’t making digital media more accountable. 

A customer’s choice of brands is largely dependent on the space the brand occupies in his/her mind and a mix of emotional and rational benefits that the brand espouses. Since the customer journey is really a funnel, it is important to develop digital media strategies for each stage of the funnel instead of just focusing on sales. 

Digital investments by brands should be planned in a way that each stage of this funnel is measurable and KPI need to be identified keeping that in mind. 

So *drum roll*, here are the 10 KPIs that can help brands assess their investments in digital media more thoroughly and be able to move the needles that really matter. 

Awareness

Let’s get Impressions to tango with Frequency–Impressions measurement without the ability to measure frequency is half-work. Recall of a brand is directly dependent on the frequency with which it ‘consistently’ presents itself infront of its audience. Without recalling a brand, people are unlikely to purchase a washing machine or even a candy. A report by Facebook suggests that a brand’s recall is linearly related to the number of impressions per week/up to 2 impressions per week, post which the graph flattens. Digital is advantageous as it empowers brands to be sharp in its targeting and deliver reach to the right audience.

Salute the Share of Voice (Social media): A brand whose share of voice is higher than the market share will continue to gain more and more market share. Since social media is a very good indicator of a brand’s share of voice, it can be used to calculate a brand’s share of voice vs its competitors (in %) over a period of time.

Impression Share (of search on Search Engines, YouTube and E-commerce marketplaces like Amazon): When people search for a product in a category on Search Engines, YouTube or E-commerce marketplaces like Amazon they tend to either do so for a brand (Colorbar Lipsticks), its competitors or generic keywords – red lipstick or running shoes for flat feet.It’s important to increase impression share when people are searching for generic categories too because that’s where it starts building salience in the minds of relevant audience. 

Consideration

Track and Grow your Brand’s Search Volumes: Many tools empower marketers to understand you how much of the target audience is searching for their brand – vis-à-vis their competitors’. Tracking and growing this number on channels like Google, YouTube and Amazon, over a period of time can have a big impact on the revenues.

Category search percentage: This is mostly relevant for brands that are selling on e-commerce platforms. Brands can assess how many searches are happening for them as a percentage of total searches happening for the category (A brand + Competition brand + generic keyword searches).

Keep an eye on Engagement Rate: It can be a misleading number at times but if you are posting content about your brand on Instagram or YouTube – keep a track of engagement rate and compare it against your competitors. Higher engagement rate can suggest a higher emotional bond with an audience and hence improved salience in the long term. This however, doesn’t apply strongly to topical content – as the brands may get high engagement due to topicality of content but may not necessarily build salience for the brand.

Consistent Click Through Rate (CTR): In the long term, a brand can be built both by both good and ‘average’ creatives. What matters more is consistency of communication – that a lot of brands (and agencies) miss – especially in the digital world. However, good creatives are like amplifiers. They enable monetary investment to last a lot longer and hence better CTRs which in turn can indicate improved consideration.

Website/ Brand Store/ Product Display Page Visits: Increased website traffic typically indicates increased interest in a brand. For a brand that’s listed on e-commerce platforms – the traffic it gets on the brand store or product display page is also a very good indicator. Here, a very important sub-metric is the visits delivered by direct traffic – traffic that comes purely because of a brand pull. 

Purchase

Advantage ‘Add to Cart’: Specifically for e-commerce brands, while there is a clear obsession on sales – it is important to also assess ‘add to cart’ metric to understand its relevant audience. This metric can be always improved by tweaking experience, check-out process, value offering, etc., for the target audience.

Marrying sales with Conversion Rate: While sales is the holy grail for all brands selling online – tracking just sales without understanding the vagaries of conversion rate can lead to inaccurate assessment of sales. 

There are many many more KPIs like followers on a brand’s social page, organic traffic etc. that are critical but take a backseat in front of the top 10. The increasingly changing technology will continue to enhance the digital landscape. What we need to remember is that marketers and digital agencies have important roles to play in fostering accountability. It takes two to tango!

Marketing
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