Measuring Brand Awareness & Marketing Campaign Efficacy

Changing customer perceptions is hard. And, it takes time. How then, do you know if your marketing and branding efforts are taking hold? You might be inclined to say, “a rise in sales or inquiries.” However, in long sales cycle industries, that could mean you’re waiting far too long to see if your activities are having any impact.

That’s why quick touch-points taken over shorter periods of time are ideal. By using two key marketing research metrics—aided and unaided awareness—you can simplify marketing campaign performance tracking and understand how effective marketing activities are…all while still having time to adjust if things aren’t working as well as you’d like.


It can be all too easy to push brand awareness aside and consider it a vanity number that has no bearing on actual business performance and returns. That would be shortsighted! In fact, there are at least three reasons businesses should take stock of brand awareness:

  • Get Ahead of Long Sales Cycles: As we’ve already mentioned, there are several industries (e.g. enterprise software) where it can take months, if not years, before prospects request information from a company. In these situations, measuring lead or customer growth may mean waiting too long. Measuring awareness represents a quicker, shorter-term approach to measuring campaign performance.

  • Measure Campaign Performance Objectively: Relatedly, taking brand awareness touch points over times gives you a tangible, objective read on whether or not your marketing and branding efforts are really moving the needle.

  • Enjoy An Early Competitive Differentiator: With some studies pointing to as much as 95% of purchase decisions being subconscious, creating a foundation for trust is key. Building brand awareness, even if it’s something customers don’t recognize is happening, can give you a leg up on your competition. However, if you don’t measure it, you’ll never know how you really compare.

Measuring Aided & Unaided Brand Awareness

There are two main ways to gauge brand awareness.

The first is called “Unaided Awareness.” This is a way of capturing top-of-mind awareness which lets you measure how much people do or don’t know your brand without any assistance.

For instance, respondents may be asked: “What are all of the different sneaker brands you can list?” Respondents will likely then list brands like Nike and Reebok. Unaided awareness is the holy grail of brand achievement since it means your brand or business is so well known that prospective buyers can recall it immediately.

The second type of awareness is called “Aided Awareness.” This one captures more latent awareness and lets you gauge how well your brand is recognized with some assistance. To measure aided awareness, respondents will be asked: “Which of the following sneaker brands are you familiar with?” They will then select as many brands as they know.

With this data collected, you can then graph both the unaided and aided awareness of all listed brands, letting you see how stack up early on. As you can see from the graph below, you can also use this to collect other important measures like “most trusted brand/business,” “most used brand/business,” or any other measure that’s relevant to what you do.

Measuring Brand Awareness

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Measuring Brand Awareness Over Time

By comparing what marketing tactics were performed, or perhaps layered in, at particular points in time you can begin to see which activities really had an impact on growing awareness. Of course, there’s rarely one single “silver bullet” activity. Instead, by tracking awareness over time you’ll be able to see the breadth of marketing channels working in concert, coupled with key campaigns executed in-market, that are needed to build your awareness within a key market.


Once you start measuring your brand awareness numbers, you’ll have an objective measure in place to drive strategic conversations around two key areas:

  1. Spend Amounts: How much money to spend on marketing is always a controversial conversation. Seeing growth or declines in awareness can help justify incremental spend, or show that increases in spend aren’t moving the needle.

  2. Spend Allocations: Where to spend your money is often controversial too. By measuring awareness over time, you’ll be able to see if investments in marketing channels or marketing activities are warranted or not.

Remember, you should never measure brand awareness just for the sake of saying you did it. Instead, measuring awareness should always be in the service of driving to broader organizational strategy, be it measuring the efficacy of spend, performance, or some other business decision.