Spring '13 Brand

February 3-6, 2013 | Amelia Island, Florida

How to measure and influence brand awareness online


Whether a product sells online or not, its presence there can give a huge boost to overall sales. But how do you know which tactics work best? RichRelevance provides some insights into gauging effectiveness.

Marketers have been able to discern just how well products move off the shelves of brick-and-mortar stores for decades. Through all manner of affinity programs and shopper marketing, everyone from the salad dressing purveyor to the people selling paper towels can tell marketers which shelves work better and why.

But the "long tail" of the internet means there's unlimited shelf space, which changes the formula. In many cases, this is good news for brands and products. But infinitely long shelves also mean that there are dark and dusty corners -- and sometimes that's where a specific brand or product might live, in a place without much light.

"In fact, many online products are just not visible," said Sean Pfister, senior market analyst for RichRelevance. "At retailers large and small, on any given day, half the products will get one or two page views at best," Pfister said. "That's a big problem for brands." He was joined by Diane Kegley, CMO of RichRelevance, in an iMedia Brand Summit Spotlight presentation.

"Forrester tells us that consumers who spend $1 online spend $4 offline with the same brand," Pfister added. "But more importantly, most of those consumers are affected by what they see online, and those impressions affect the other 80 percent of their purchases."

So, whether a product sells online or doesn't, its presence really matters to overall sales. If a product doesn't get viewed online, there is no marketing benefit to offline sales.

Surprisingly, there seems to be little reciprocity to that relationship. Brick-and-mortar brand popularity doesn't guarantee online popularity in many verticals. So, how can brands tell what they need to know about why their products sell -- or don't?

This presentation took deep and complicated insights and boiled them down to three core points:

Brand health is measurable

It's vital to use metrics that matter, however. Identify the right needle to move. It should include both attention and engagement.

Attention and engagement are dynamic and change quickly

Smart marketers pay close attention to the dynamics of online markets: seasonality, new entrants, and unique shopper behaviors. In other words, they use the interactive channel as a listening and learning channel first, not a selling tool.

Brand competition is determined by shopper behavior

Smart marketers also pay attention to all their competitors. They let shoppers tell them who these competitors are by the ways they search online. How many searches are product-centric? How many are brand-centric? Which brands do shoppers pit against other brands? These are just a few of the questions that smart analytics can answer conclusively.

RichRelevance gathers point-of-sale data from millions of online shopping sessions to create indices of product "discoverability" based on the number of products available online, product page views, and consumer purchases. These case studies enhance their understanding of online brand engagement from awareness through consideration and purchase, such that any brand can discern its health from a startling array of criteria.

"Our mantra is that we respect the shopper," Kegley said.

By enabling hundreds of retailers and brands to personalize the brand experience for each consumer, RichRelevance is delivering on that promise.