Loyalty program
Research Intelligence

Brand Loyalty: Understanding and Measuring the Quality of Your Audience

by Chelsea Feil , Marketing Intelligence Specialist 9 Min.
December 31, 2020 | Updated October 11, 2022

In the digital age, there are so many options for consumers to buy online. Getting their attention and keeping it on your brand is definitely a challenge. This is why meeting consumers’ needs and creating an experience that keeps them wanting more to build brand loyalty is more important than ever. 

Your audience will keep coming back if you’re the cheapest, or most convenient, or – better yet – the only option, but a loyal audience has an active preference and feels a positive connection with your brand. Once you’re the brand they love and are loyal to, they will drive farther, wait longer, and even pay more for your products and services. 

Why is brand loyalty important?

As long as readers and customers keep coming back, does it really matter why? Of course, it does. 

Loyal customers tend to return more often and for larger purchases. One study found that a 7% increase in brand loyalty can increase each consumer’s lifetime spending by up to 85%.

You don’t necessarily need to spend money on PPC ads or marketing campaigns to convince brand-loyal customers that you’re the best. They already enjoy what you have to offer and they prefer you over competitors. They engage more with your brand’s content and social media organically, making them better-informed on your company and ultimately turning them into your brand ambassadors. 

This becomes your foundation for word-of-mouth marketing. These brand ambassadors spread the word about your company, leave reviews, and share your content with their family, friends, colleagues, and followers. The bottom line is getting recommendations from people who care about your particular brand builds your brand authority and trust with your audience.

Building brand loyalty

“When you look at a strong brand, you see a promise” – Jim Mullen, Founder of MullenLowe U.S. advertising and marketing communications agency.

There are five essential building blocks for a long-term, keep-them-coming-back relationship with your customers. Build your marketing strategy with these fundamental principles in mind and you’ll gain customers who appreciate and recommend your brand wherever they go.

How you execute this can vary vastly from industry to industry, so there is plenty of room to take it up a notch and let your creativity run wild.

Trust

Your credibility relies on having a strong reputation. To build such a reputation, you’ll need to provide high-quality service and products that solve real problems. Trust is #1 for creating strong ties with consumers. Just like a friendship or courtship or any type of relationship, it takes time and energy to build, especially if you want it to last. 

Once your audience understands that they can rely on you to meet their needs and solve certain problems for them, you’ll prove you’re worthy of their trust. 

Expertise

Customers rely on you to have the skills and experience to do what you do in the best way possible. You’ll need to show them that you specialize in what they’re looking for. Educate them about your products and services and share content that positions your brand as specialists and thought leaders in your industry.

Consistency

People want to know they can count on you, everything you do from the products or services you offer to your customer service needs to continually meet their standards. You also need to make sure the quality of your work stays the same or improves as you evolve and grow. Customers won’t stick around if they are disappointed in your work and how you treat them.

Personalize the experience

Connecting with your customers on a personal level is imperative when it comes to building a truly loyal audience.  If you want people to commit to your brand, you should personalize your customer communications as much as possible. Some easy ways to do this are by adding a first name field to your messages, creating segmentations based on interest so everything you send is relevant to the reader,  and sending emails and messages from an expert staff member. Also, be sure to respond promptly when they reach out to you.

By finding ways to communicate on a personal level with customers, you can engage them and keep your brand top of mind when they’re not in immediate need of your services.

Valuable content

Content is one of the most powerful tools you can use to support the four factors above. People will follow a brand that is known for high-quality and unique content that speaks to them. Make sure your content is thoroughly researched and fact-checked, so your audience is better informed and ultimately more loyal and passionate about your brand.

5 factors for brand loyalty checklist

Identifying and measuring brand loyalty 

Mixpanel identified six parameters that characterize customers with strong brand loyalty:

  • Repeat purchases – coming back to buy the same product again
  • Expansion – purchasing more products from your brand
  • Action – whether customers are looking for alternatives or not
  • Tolerance – looking past poor service or mistakes
  • Stated preference – answering that they prefer a specific brand in surveys
  • Revealed preference – consumer behaviors reflected in the data

These behaviors paint a clear picture of a loyal customer. But it’s hard to tell which customers engage in which behaviors. Fortunately, there are a few different types of brand loyalty tools that can help you quantitatively measure your audience loyalty.

And the survey says…

Surveys, questionnaires, and user interviews are the most direct way of figuring out what your audience knows about you and what they think of you. However, these tools are not fool-proof. Typically, people who opt-in for surveys have an extremely positive or negative experience to share. It isn’t an accurate representation, and it doesn’t give you the full picture. That’s why companies turn to the data for a precise measure of audience loyalty.

Brand Loyalty Survey

Analyzing your audience loyalty

Google Analytics

By diving into the data that users are generating organically, you’ll be able to find answers that are authentic and more reliable than surveys. Using Google Analytics can help you find loyalty trends. Returning Visitor Rate (RVR), frequency and recency of visits, session duration, and engagement are all good metrics to follow to measure how loyal your audience is. These analytics show where your customer loyalty is right now and gauge how you can adjust your marketing efforts to increase loyal customer retention.

Mixpanel

With product analytics solutions, like Mixpanel, you can get real-time insights into how people interact with your brand. In the platform, product managers and marketers can observe and analyze the actions their users take. Every time customers complete a step or trigger an event, that’s an indication of how loyal they are to your brand and the system then captures the data and helps your team understand the user’s journey. You can build funnels to track specific behaviors and use their retention and signal reports to understand the actions and behaviors that drive customer conversions. You can use these metrics to test different marketing communication channels in Mixpanel to see if they move the needle and encourage users to become more loyal over time.

Similarweb

Similarweb’s Website Analysis lets you measure the loyalty percentage of your website’s audience against the industry average. This audience loyalty metric shows the proportion of monthly active users who visited one site versus other sites within the same category. 

You can filter by date range and region to see how the average percentage changes over time and across countries. You can then benchmark your website’s audience loyalty score against the competitive set and see the difference between each player. This gives you an overview of audience behavior at the industry level and helps you evaluate whether your audience is more or less likely to visit competitor sites.

Audience loyalty metric overview on Similarweb Pro

Give your brand loyalty a boost

“It’s your duty to build your brand daily not in a day” – Bernard Kelvin Clive, Author, Speaker, Trainer and Lecturer, Ghanaian authority on Personal branding and Digital Publishing

Research

To gain your customers’ loyalty, you need to understand their wants and needs. Ask any person in a serious relationship, and they will tell you understanding starts with listening. Actively listening to your audience helps you to get to know their challenges and pain points.

 You can use Similarweb’s competitor benchmarking tool to follow how consumers interact with your website or app, your competitors, and the industry leaders. You’ll be able to detect industry trends by looking into traffic and user engagement. Then you can gauge your growth potential, identify areas for improvement, looking into audience demographics and geography to recognize competitor strengths and blindspots.  

You can also actively engage with your audience using social media. Join specific customer communities and dig into what they’re posting and where to understand their needs. There, and through customer satisfaction surveys, you can ask them what’s important to them.

Buyer personas

Once you’ve done your research, you can create your own buyer personas. Creating profiles for users helps to understand their background, their interests, what motivates them, and the best way to reach out to them. Buyer personas will help you fine-tune your value proposition. You’ll know exactly how to align their needs with your unique specialization and expertise.

Content 

Now for the fun part, developing and polishing a solid tone and voice for your brand that speaks directly to your target audience. Your voice reflects the specific benefit you offer and helps create a consistent flow of information that builds trust. 

The content you create should answer the challenges your audience is facing. Prove your value by creating content that reflects what they’ve asked for and gives them a sense of belonging. 

Content comes in many forms and should be distributed strategically; social media and influencer marketing are great tools to increase brand awareness

Nurturing your audience with valuable content through blogs, images, videos, infographics, and podcasts (+ so much more) is the 101 of content marketing. These marketing efforts convert six times more than other marketing methods. 

Paid acquisition

PPC ads and creative acquisitions are not just for new customers. It is a marketing channel you can use to push your customers further down your funnel. Use ads to get the word out about loyalty programs, special discount offers, rewards programs, and product updates, or to remind users when it’s time to renew subscriptions. 

Monitoring and optimizing

Building a loyal audience is a full-time gig, not a one-time task, so you want to create lifetime value for your customers. With the right tools and analytics, you’ll be able to develop, improve, and master your marketing strategy to enhance customer experience and build an audience with unwavering loyalty.

Companies doing it right

Apple

Apple fans are notoriously loyal. This is in large part because they encourage their customer base to use their products around other people. They have created a sense of mystique and identity based on being an Apple user. All of these factors have contributed to a sense of community among Apple fans. Most importantly, though, Apple has created a robust and consistent brand name. Their products are streamlined, user-friendly, and reliable. Their marketing strategy highlights these advantages, plus it’s highly entertaining and speaks to their users’ challenges.

Apple insights from Similarweb.com

Facebook

Unlike other tech giants, Facebook has always made a point of being user-centered and aggressive with its public relations. When they planned to change their terms of service in 2009, they ended up allowing users to vote on which set of terms to adopt. Although less than 700,000 users (of 200 million at the time) chose to participate, the vast majority voted for a set of terms that included inputs from users. The gesture created a core group of users who felt like they had a personal stake in the future of the platform and led to Facebook adjusting the changes to meet their users’ requests.

Facebook insights from Similarweb.com

Hearst

Rob Barret, President of Digital Media at Hearst Newspapers, said that the San Francisco Chronicle and SFGate have changed their focus to increase readership and create a higher number of loyal subscribers. Instead of checking how many unique visitors each site gets per month, they are trying to maximize the number of visitors who come back to the sites at least ten times. Not only are these visitors the most likely to subscribe, but this strategy has also increased the total number of page views on both sites.

Hearst insights from Similarweb.com

The value of audience loyalty

Building brand loyalty is about more than acquiring new customers and retaining them. It’s about building a sustainable relationship with your customers, and it pays off. In a Hubspot study, loyal customers spend 67% more with a business than new ones. . 

Loyal customers make more significant purchases, forgive brands that make mistakes, bring in new customers, and convince customers who are loyal to your competitors to make the switch. Companies that want to tap into the gold mine of brand loyalty need a marketing strategy that includes tracking, measuring, and continual optimization. From there, you can strengthen the relationships that provide value for both you and your customers.

Similarweb provides audience insights and data to monitor brand loyalty accurately and build it from the ground up. To find out how to start tracking consumer loyalty, forging data-based relationships, and growing your audience, download Similarweb’s Guide to Audience Growth.

This blog was written in collaboration with Chava Forman-Horovitz

 

This post is subject to Similarweb legal notices and disclaimers.

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