Awareness, attitudes, and usage (AAU) metrics (sometimes called the Hierarchy of Effects) model the idea that potential customers pass through different stages before purchase.

The obvious takeaway here: that customers first have to know that your company/brand/products exist. 

Many companies invest a lot in advertising, social media and other tactics to get in front of new potential customers.  But how do you know if these investments are actually helping increase your brand awareness?  There are metrics available but many can be confusing and even misleading.  The following are commonly available Online Advertising and Social Media awareness metrics:

  • Impressions – Impressions are the number of times a post or ad is displayed, whether the post/ad is clicked or not. One person may see multiple impressions of the same post. For example, someone might see a Page update in News Feed once, and then a second time if their friend shares it.
  • Reach is the number of people who are exposed to your message. Reach might be less than impressions since one person can see multiple impressions.
  • Frequency – the number of times a person was exposed to a message over a period of time.

The problem with the above metrics is that you are not directly measuring the impression on your target audience.  So many companies conduct brand awareness research on a regular basis and compare results over time.

In brand recall tests, researchers measure the ability of consumers to recall brand names in a particular product category. Brand awareness is the percentage of those people who can name your brand, unaided.  Order is important here as you want your brand to be the first to be named, illustrating that you have a top of mind or leadership position.

Here is a survey template (

  • How familiar are you with <<product category>>?
  • Extremely familiar
  • Very familiar
  • Moderately familiar
  • Slightly familiar
  • Not at all familiar
  • When you think of <<product category>>, what brands come to mind?

In a brand recognition test, you again use a random selection of your target market.  But in this case you present each person with a list of brands (yours and your top competitors) and ask if they can remember seeing any of the brands before.  This test is more useful for seeing if your brand is consistent and “sticky” in the minds of viewers.

  • Which of the following brands of <<product category>> have you heard of?
  • Which of the following brands of <<product category>> have you purchased?
  • Which of the following brands of <<product category>> do you currently have in your home?

How do you track brand awareness?

About the Author(s)

 Jeanne  Rossomme

Jeanne uses her 20 years of marketing know-how to help small business owners reach their goals. Before becoming an entrepreneur, she held a variety of marketing positions with DuPont and General Electric. Jeanne regularly hosts online webinars and workshops in both English and Spanish.

President, RoadMap Marketing
Measuring Brand or Company Awareness