One of the key objectives of modern digital marketing is to raise brand awareness, the extent to which customers and the general public are familiar with and recognize a particular brand.
Enhancing brand awareness is important in digital marketing, and marketing in general, because of its impact on brand perception and consumer decision-making. According to the 2015 essay, "Impact of Brand on Consumer Behavior":
"Brand awareness, as one of the fundamental dimensions of brand equity, is often considered to be a prerequisite of consumers’ buying decision, as it represents the main factor for including a brand in the consideration set. Brand awareness can also influence consumers’ perceived risk assessment and their confidence in the purchase decision, due to familiarity with the brand and its characteristics."
Recent trends show that businesses and digital marketers are prioritizing brand awareness, focusing more on their digital marketing efforts on cultivating brand recognition and recall than in previous years. This is evidenced by a 2019 Content Marketing Institute study, which found that 81% of digital marketers have worked on enhancing brand recognition over the past year.
Another Content Marketing Institute survey revealed 89% of B2B marketers now believe improving brand awareness to be more important than efforts directed at increasing sales.
Increasing brand awareness is a focus of digital marketing strategy for a number of reasons:
The growth of online shopping. A survey by Statista projects 230.5 million people in the United States will use the internet to shop, compare, and buy products by 2021, up from 209.6 million in 2016. Research from business software firm Salesforce found 87% of people began searches for products and brands on digital channels in 2018.
The role of digital interaction in customer behavior. It’s estimated that 70% of all retail purchases made in the U.S. are influenced to some degree by an interaction with a brand online.
The growing influence and role of brand awareness in online consumer decision-making: 82% of online shoppers searching for services give preference to brands they know of.
The use, convenience, and influence of social media. A recent report by Hootsuite estimated there were more than 3.4 billion active users on social media platforms, a 9% increase from 2018. A 2019 survey by The Manifest states that 74% of social media users follow brands on social sites, and 96% of people who follow businesses also engage with those brands on social platforms. According to Deloitte, one in three U.S. consumers are influenced by social media when buying a product, while 47% of millennials factor their interaction with a brand on social when making a purchase.
Online methods used to build brand awareness
Digital marketing strategies may include the use of one or more online channels and techniques (omnichannel) to increase brand awareness among consumers.
Building brand awareness may involve such methods/tools as:
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engine optimization techniques may be used to improve the visibility of business websites and brand-related content for common industry-related search queries.
The importance of SEO to increase brand awareness is said to correlate with the growing influence of search results and search features like featured snippets, knowledge panels, and local SEO on customer behavior.
Search engine marketing (SEM)
SEM, also known as PPC advertising, involves the purchase of ad space in prominent, visible positions atop search results pages and websites. Search ads have been shown to have a positive impact on brand recognition, awareness and conversions.
33% of searchers who click on paid ads do so because they directly respond to their particular search query.
Social media marketing
Social media marketing has the characteristics of being in the marketing state and interacting with consumers all the time, emphasizing content and interaction skills. The marketing process needs to be monitored, analyzed, summarized and managed in real-time, and the marketing target needs to be adjusted according to the real-time feedback from the market and consumers. 70% of marketers list increasing brand awareness as their number one goal for marketing on social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube are listed as the top platforms currently used by social media marketing teams. As of 2021, LinkedIn has been added as one of the most-used social media platforms by business leaders for its professional networking capabilities.
56% of marketers believe personalized content – brand-centered blogs, articles, social updates, videos, landing pages – improves brand recall and engagement.
Developments and strategies
One of the major changes that occurred in traditional marketing was the "emergence of digital marketing", this led to the reinvention of marketing strategies in order to adapt to this major change in traditional marketing.
As digital marketing is dependent on technology which is ever-evolving and fast-changing, the same features should be expected from digital marketing developments and strategies. This portion is an attempt to qualify or segregate the notable highlights existing and being used as of press time.[when?]
Segmentation: More focus has been placed on segmentation within digital marketing, in order to target specific markets in both business-to-business and business-to-consumer sectors.
Influencer marketing: Important nodes are identified within related communities, known as influencers. This is becoming an important concept in digital targeting. Influencers allow brands to take advantage of social media and the large audiences available on many of these platforms. It is possible to reach influencers via paid advertising, such as Facebook Advertising or Google Ads campaigns, or through sophisticated sCRM (social customer relationship management) software, such as SAP C4C, Microsoft Dynamics, Sage CRM and Salesforce CRM. Many universities now focus, at Masters level, on engagement strategies for influencers.
To summarize, Pull digital marketing is characterized by consumers actively seeking marketing content while Push digital marketing occurs when marketers send messages without that content being actively sought by the recipients.
Online behavioral advertising is the practice of collecting information about a user's online activity over time, "on a particular device and across different, unrelated websites, in order to deliver advertisements tailored to that user's interests and preferences." Such Advertisements are based on site retargeting are customized based on each user behavior and pattern.
Collaborative Environment: A collaborative environment can be set up between the organization, the technology service provider, and the digital agencies to optimize effort, resource sharing, reusability and communications. Additionally, organizations are inviting their customers to help them better understand how to service them. This source of data is called user-generated content. Much of this is acquired via company websites where the organization invites people to share ideas that are then evaluated by other users of the site. The most popular ideas are evaluated and implemented in some form. Using this method of acquiring data and developing new products can foster the organization's relationship with its customer as well as spawn ideas that would otherwise be overlooked. UGC is low-cost advertising as it is directly from the consumers and can save advertising costs for the organization.
Data-driven advertising: Users generate a lot of data in every step they take on the path of customer journey and brands can now use that data to activate their known audience with data-driven programmatic media buying. Without exposing customers' privacy, users' data can be collected from digital channels (e.g.: when the customer visits a website, reads an e-mail, or launches and interact with a brand's mobile app), brands can also collect data from real-world customer interactions, such as brick and mortar stores visits and from CRM and sales engines datasets. Also known as people-based marketing or addressable media, data-driven advertising is empowering brands to find their loyal customers in their audience and deliver in real time a much more personal communication, highly relevant to each customers' moment and actions.
An important consideration today while deciding on a strategy is that the digital tools have democratized the promotional landscape.
Remarketing: Remarketing plays a major role in digital marketing. This tactic allows marketers to publish targeted ads in front of an interest category or a defined audience, generally called searchers in web speak, they have either searched for particular products or services or visited a website for some purpose.
Game advertising: Game ads are advertisements that exist within computer or video games. One of the most common examples of in-game advertising is billboards appearing in sports games. In-game ads also might appear as brand-name products like guns, cars, or clothing that exist as gaming status symbols.
Six principles for building online brand content: