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Tips & Bits #41: Measure Branded Search Volume

How to generate a reasonable measure of search activity by sifting-out irrelevant and search terms from a keyword list.

For those who are looking for a method to measure branded search volume, here is a handy and FREE tip.

We’ll present the technique using well known brand as an example. The subject brand will be J.P. Morgan Chase, one of the larger banks in America. To simplify this exercise we’ll use the name Chase. After all, Chase is the consumer brand with the most search activity.

Here’s how it’s done:

Step 1. Generate a list of seed keywords. Make it as long as possible — any keywords containing the word "chase." There are a variety of tools that can do this; Wordstream is used in this example because it generates up to 10,000 suggestions, even in the FREE version!

Step 2. Using content from the brand’s website, create a list of relevant keywords. These represent, as closely as possible, what the brand is about. For this step, Website Content Analysis was employed.


Step 3. Paste the output from each of the above steps into adjacent columns of an Excel spreadsheet. Then, match the seed keywords with the relevant keywords.

Step 4. The results are keywords that match and are designated as branded keywords, and the rest are considered off-brand keywords. Next, Wordstream’s "relative frequency" metric is re-applied to each group.

 Here are the results for the Chase Bank example. The branded keywords’ overall share of total search queries is 34.3 percent (Note: this number is unique to Chase, and will be totally different when applied to your brand).

Step 5. Using 34.3 percent as a factor, and Google’s AdWords Keyword Tool, multiply 34.3 by the raw search query volume for "chase," which was 30,400,000 in June 2010. The number of branded search queries for Chase in June 2010 was 10,427,200.

Is this a useful metric?
One metric alone is not very useful, but if this process is applied month after month, the trend in branded keyword query volume versus marketing investments can be plotted. The data and its graphic representation points to seasonality, buying cycle, consumer intent, and more.

The branded share metric could be applied to Google’s historical data, thereby displaying Chase’s branded search query volumes for the past, which can be used help project forward. This is the kind of information a brand manager can put to good use.

If this process is used on competitors in the same market such as Bank of America, Citigroup, Wells Fargo, Morgan Stanley, and others, it would yield a good picture of how Chase compares.

Keep in mind that these results are for the search channel alone. That’s just one of a vast array of digital marketing metrics that can be used to asses brand performance. Other data includes conversion rate of display media, engagement with mobile ads, Facebook "Likes," blog comments, even qualitative research findings from brand preference studies.

For those who love statistics and research, there’s plenty of work to go around thanks to the tracking technology that can be applied to the internet and social media.

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