In our article, How to measure influencer marketing ROI — the right way, we discussed the four primary objectives that brands typically put in place in order to effectively measure influencer marketing ROI. The first goal we covered, brand awareness, is often mistakenly overlooked as a “fluffy” goal with no tangible business impact. This is because most brands are focused on growing revenue through direct sales — and if there’s no way to prove the impact that awareness has on revenue, it’s not going to be a priority for the company.
However, we’re here to dispel this myth and help you track the impact that brand awareness has on your brand as a whole. In this post, we’re diving deeper into the importance of brand awareness, the role it plays in your full-funnel marketing strategy and examples of brands who have successfully increased brand awareness with influencer marketing.
Let’s start with the basics.
What is brand awareness?
Brand awareness is a measure of how familiar your target audience is with your brand and how well they recall it when prompted. For instance, if you were asked to name a skincare brand, what would be top of mind? The brand that comes to mind has succeeded in their brand awareness efforts.
Brand awareness is often the first step in achieving performance-marketing goals. The more people are aware of your brand, the more they become familiar with it and trust it. This sentiment will be extremely valuable when consumers are making purchasing decisions down the line. In the long run, brand awareness will increase your chances of generating leads and conversions.
How can brands increase brand awareness?
There are countless ways to increase brand awareness. For decades, brands have gained visibility by running television commercials, billboards, magazine ads, and the like. But as the world has become increasingly digital, brands have started putting spend in paid media across various channels, including influencer marketing.
In recent years, savvy brands have started to invest in influencer marketing to drive awareness. Influencer marketing is the perfect way to build brand awareness, because influencers already have a built-in audience that considers them experts in their niches and regard their recommendations highly. And if you’re working with the right creators, they’ll have thousands of followers who fall under your ideal customer profile. Because influencers typically build a strong sense of trust with their audience over the years, these consumers are likely to be influenced by the creator when making purchasing decisions and have a higher probability of actually taking action toward buying.
However, it’s important to note that there is no “right” way to increase brand awareness. For utmost success, brands need to adopt a multi-channel approach to build awareness.
How can I harness influencer marketing to increase brand awareness?
Here are some tried and true influencer activations that have helped brands to increase brand awareness:
- Working with influencers with varying audience sizes and niches: Some brands choose to work with a big group of nano- or micro-influencers to spread the word about their products to many different groups of people — all without breaking the bank. Meanwhile, some brands with big budgets partner with a few celebrity-level influencers who have very wide reach to get the message out to a large audience all at once. Whichever way you choose to go, working with influencers is a great way to reach thousands of people in a more organic way than targeted ads.
- Running giveaways with influencers: Hosting giveaways and contests with influencers is a perfect way to build a buzz around your brand. To really increase brand awareness, have influencers enlist contest rules such as following your brand’s account, sharing the giveaway post to their Stories, tagging their friends in the comments, and more.
- Investing in allowlisted ads: By allowlisting influencers, you can use influencer audience data to get the allowlisted ad in front of your target consumer — not just the influencer’s existing audience — by utilizing tools to customize lookalike audiences. Plus, the allowlisted ad is shown under the influencer’s handle, allowing you to reach your preferred audience quickly and seamlessly.
- Running a product seeding campaign: Gifting products to influencers (or product seeding) is a great way to drum up interest in your brand among your target audience at little expense. If a creator loves the product they were gifted, they will not only share about it on their social channels, but also genuinely incorporate it into their everyday lifestyles. These organic mentions can do wonders for increasing brand awareness.
- Instagram takeovers: Partner with an influencer to take over your Instagram Story for a day, and have them promote the takeover on their own page. This is the perfect opportunity for both your brand and the collaborating influencer to get exposure to two different audiences.
- Create a brand ambassador program: Launching a brand ambassador program is a great way to build awareness of your brand within specific audiences and generate long term relationships with influential people.
How does brand awareness impact different types of businesses?
All brands can benefit from increasing brand awareness. An emerging brand may want people to know what they do. Conversely, a larger business may want to increase recognition in the market — for instance, making a brand name synonymous with its product (as Band-Aid is with bandages).
Because brand awareness is about making a target market aware of your brand name, products, or values — rather than direct sales — some brands are better positioned for this goal than others. While awareness is important for every brand, as we mentioned in our ROI blog, brand awareness should be a primary KPI especially for:
- Brands entering a new market
- Smaller brands in crowded markets
- High-consideration purchase brands (i.e. diamond companies or furniture)
- Brands with a long or time-based sales cycle (i.e. pregnancy products or cold & flu remedies)
How do I measure the impact of brand awareness on my business as a whole?
If you’re still thinking, ‘Okay, but how does all this lead to sales?’ or ‘How can I prove to my leadership team that awareness is crucial for revenue growth?’ — remember that brand awareness is what kickstarts the buyer’s journey. No one can buy from your business if they don’t know it exists.
Plus, when it comes to purchasing decisions, the brands that consumers recognize most are more likely to be included in their consideration. In fact, 71% of consumers said it was important that they recognise a brand before they make a purchase. Another study found that 46% of consumers tend to buy from familiar brands.
Make it clear to all levels of your organization that brand awareness is a crucial part of the buyer’s journey. To prove the impact of a brand awareness campaign, we recommend evaluating metrics like:
- Branded search volume
- Social media mentions
- Website traffic from social media channels
- Overall uptick in website traffic
These metrics will help you track the number of new potential customers who have become aware of your brand or product through the campaign you’re running. As you continue to get consumers familiarized with your brand, these numbers will ideally turn into leads and sales.
What are some examples of influencer campaigns that have successfully increased brand awareness?
If you still don’t believe that brand awareness leads to overall business growth, check out these success stories from three D2C brands that have effectively increased brand awareness with influencer marketing.
LIMITLESS is a clean beverage company that focuses on powering productivity through its new lightly caffeinated sparkling water. The brand harnessed influencer marketing to expand its reach among its target audience: health-conscious people between the ages of 25-35. Understanding that influencers know their audience best, the brand gave their partners creative freedom to produce authentic content that would resonate with their followers.
Since the start of the program, LIMITLESS has seen tangible business growth beyond brand awareness metrics. The brand experienced an increase in social media followers, impressions, and overall engagement, as well as direct sales through their influencers’ links. In fact, in one customer acquisition campaign that promoted a drink coupon, influencers generated 1.5k clicks to the brand’s website and 500% more engagement on the coupon offer than the brand was able to do organically.
As influencers have long served as tastemakers in the beauty space, the high-end organic skincare brand COOLA set out on a mission to boost brand awareness among its target market by partnering with creators with an engaged, well-aligned audience. In exchange for free product alone, COOLA partnered with over 500 high-quality influencers per month, all of whom align with the brand’s values.
As a result, COOLA not only boosted its online presence, but also sales. Since scaling its program, the brand has acquired and retained more than 37,500 loyal followers on Instagram, who have proved to be valuable community members with high purchase intent. In fact, after its “Drop It Like It’s Hot” campaign, sales for the Sun Silk Drops were up 60% from the year prior.
To gain access to new audiences (and potential new customers), the digital picture frame company Aura Frames partnered with influencers to create personalized, authentic content that could fuel all of the brand’s channels. When Aura Frames scaled its influencer program by 10x, the brand was able to source over 650 pieces of content that garnered over 2.5 million impressions.
Because its content performed so well organically, Aura Frames also repurposed influencer-generated content (IGC) in its paid ads. The IGC shown in the ads showcase the frame in many different homes with a wide variety of home decor tastes. It’s no surprise that it resonated with a lot of people in its target market — 20% of its overall sales were attributed to influencer marketing or paid ads featuring influencer content.
Make brand awareness a priority
Influencer marketing is a tried-and-true way to increase brand awareness, and a crucial factor in increasing sales and revenue in the long run. Invest in influencers to spread the word about your brand, increase brand recognition, and eventually drive conversions.