Online Brand Metrics Revealed

In terms of online measurement, conversation over the last few years has been all around conversion — and for good reason. The first thing most marketers must understand and analyze is immediate return from marketing investments. Thus, the top performance metrics people focus on are online revenue, total leads, cost per acquisition, average order value, conversion rate, and campaign ROI (define).

These will remain key metrics, but the Web has a much larger influence on your business than direct conversion metrics can tell you.

Conversion Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story

If your conversion rate is 7 percent, what’s the monetary value of the other 93 percent of visitor activity taking place on your Web site? This other category of behavior, which represents “online brand value,” is a largely unknown area and a tremendous measurement opportunity.

In the world of consumer electronics, for example, data show many consumers leverage the strengths of the Web for product research and pricing comparisons but make the majority of purchases at local brick-and-mortar stores for immediate satisfaction. Top retailers’ exit surveys have shown as much as 60-70 percent of in-store purchases now originate online. Traditional online conversion metrics wouldn’t capture this behavior’s overall value and impact on the business.

Research also shows more dollars from traditional offline marketing channels, such as TV, radio, and print, are shifting online and branding is becoming a more strategic Web objective. Web-savvy organizations are investing in innovative ways to entertain, educate, and enhance their customers’ overall online brand experience.

Based on this trend, new analysis questions have emerged:

  • What’s the value of your online branded content, including movies, interactive games, podcasts, and rich media brand campaigns, to your business?

  • How often (frequency) and for how long (visit duration) do visitors interact with your brand online over time? How does that relate to total sales?
  • What branded keywords do visitors use in external search and within your site (on-site search) to find information about your products or services?
  • Which customers are your brand cheerleaders? How many of them pass along? How many referrals does your site get? How are they influencing others about your brand within their own social networks and blogs?

Online Brand Metrics Shared

Last time, I asked readers to share their brand metrics. Thanks to all who responded; I received some interesting insights. Here are some metrics other readers recommended:

  • Total traffic volumes as it relates to total brand impressions and total revenue

  • Volume and percentage of return customers
  • Total views and visit duration with branded content
  • Volume and percentage of brand keyword searches
  • Inbound brand recall (traffic to unique Web address from offline ads)
  • Offline influence (offline performance originating from Web)
  • Visits to online store locator
  • Total views of advertising spots online and passalongs

Keep the Feedback Coming

How are you measuring online brand value? Are there other specific brand metrics you recommend? This story will continue to evolve over the next few years as an emerging area of measurement marketing organizations and strategic consultants will focus on.

If you have questions, comments, or our own story to share, let me know your insights on how you measure the effectiveness of online branding initiatives.

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