Ecommerce teams are constantly under pressure to generate Return on Investment (ROI) on every penny spent. While that’s only right given the measurability of digital channels and pressure from the Finance Director, it can often be detrimental to overall brand marketing and revenue-generating potential for an ecommerce brand.
We often see Finance Directors cut above the line on brand awareness spend, without re-investing the budget across other marketing channels. Inevitably, brand demand drops, ecommerce channels suffer as a result, and the team struggles to recover the brand losses with non-brand gains.
Although it’s debatable whether spending vast amounts of budget on brand awareness is beneficial, measuring brand awareness metrics, as you would any other metric, can provide significant value to a brand. This is because a brand can monitor their traffic and monetise on any fluctuations, and so the debate continues. Brand awareness marketers can claim that a campaign is a success based merely on execution, with very little data to back it up apart from soft metrics like ‘share of voice’, impressions or any other display-led metric. None of these is going to impress a Finance Director or any potential investors.
At the end of the campaign, we’re left with some very important and unanswered questions like ‘What’s the ROI of these campaigns?’, ‘Was the money well spent?’ and ‘Is brand awareness marketing a waste of budget?’
The truth is that the vast majority of brands don’t know how to accurately measure the impact that branding awareness campaigns have on the business, which highlights the importance and validity of brand demand measurement.
Brand demand is simply the volume of searches for the main brand phrase over the last five years. It’s a simple measure that can be pulled out of Google Trends which you can overlay with previous years to better understand fluctuations and the effect of campaigns. Brand search is the most valuable source of traffic for ecommerce, as it has the highest conversion rate and typically, the best Average Order Value (AOV). Essentially, these are your most loyal customers. It’s also central to understanding whether your brand is more in demand or less so than in previous years, and therefore, should be measured weekly.
Regarding measuring the marketing campaign, if it has caused a big shift in brand demand, the marketing team can start to measure the ROI. This can be done by working with the ecommerce team to identify the uplift in Direct and Brand Search revenues over the baseline. From there, they will have a pretty good estimate for the incremental revenue the campaign has generated. This should be presented in addition to the other softer metrics, bearing in mind the residual effects of a great campaign can have influence for months after. Therefore, it’s incredibly important to keep checking the uplift against the baseline and update your ROI report.
Regarding brand awareness campaigns and measurement of brand demand, responsibility lies with the marketing team, as they need to adopt a culture of measurement similar to that of the ecommerce team. With this approach, they become more accountable to the effectiveness of the campaign and will potentially question it more during execution.
The marketing team needs to feed in a brand uplift target over the year for the ecommerce team to measure on the weekly trade reports and analyse the results against expectation. This will help Finance Directors realise the value of brand demand and how pivotal it is within the channel mix on an ongoing basis. If done effectively, this could potentially result in more budget for the brand and brand awareness campaigns.