Measuring the effectiveness of online brand protection strategies

Chrissie Jamieson, senior director, MarkMonitor, a brand of Clarivate Analytics

More than one-quarter of consumers have at some point unknowingly purchased counterfeit goods online, a MarkMonitor barometer report has revealed.

The ramifications of this for brand reputations as well as revenues are significant. Brand owners need to adopt an online protection strategy that minimises these risks and ensures comprehensive security. The right strategy can even help companies recapture revenue they’ve been losing out on and help rebuild consumer trust.

Adopting a consumer-centric approach enables businesses to maximise effectiveness and protect well-intentioned consumers from making counterfeit purchases. This involves removing the most visible counterfeit pages and advertisements on search engine results and online marketplaces.

But with such a vast scope of activity and channels to monitor, how can brands ensure the effectiveness is being accurately measured?

Standard measures of success

Brands typically take two common measures. The first is the number of counterfeit or infringement instances that show up on search engines and marketplaces, compared to before the brand protection plan was introduced. If the new figure is drastically lower than the original, you can assume that the reduced visibility means fewer consumers have fallen into the counterfeit trap. The second metric is the number of consumers that have unknowingly bought counterfeit items. Once again, this new figure should be compared to the original one before the protection strategy was introduced.

The value of these figures is undeniable, but the truth is that the battle against counterfeiters is ongoing. For every site and listing successfully taken down, a new one will eventually pop up, and as new pages pop up, consumers are still fooled into making illegitimate purchases. To truly measure the effectiveness, organisations look closely at more detailed analytics.

This is where it is beneficial to work closely alongside a trusted partner. Brands can often only track data to a certain level, so the right third party partner will guarantee that analytics and reports provide maximum detail for greater insight.

What makes a great brand protection partner?

Brand owners need to be able to access analytics in real-time, as opposed to receiving reports every hour, day or week. The world of counterfeiting moves at such a fast pace that tracking it periodically is only useful to a certain degree, because once a new has been made, you can guarantee that the goalposts will have already moved yet again.

Secondly, brands should be able to clearly track all of their KPIs – including compliance, activity, volume, quantity, value and financial impact – within a single intuitive platform. By measuring each KPI individually, and then side-by-side with one another, it is much easier for all parties involved to accurately determine whether the percentage of total infringements is decreasing over time (Data has proven that, with the appropriate enforcement, 80 to 85 percent of online counterfeiters targeting a particular brand will stop shortly after the enforcement has been made).

Within this centralised platform, it can also be helpful to be view analytics in various layouts that make it easier to find the data sets you’re after. For example, if you want to view the number of enforcements that have been made, you might choose to view this within a general activity report. If you want to get a more detailed view of the number of sellers across different websites, then something akin to an impact report would be more relevant. With numerous views and reports at your fingertips, brand owners can waste less time searching for the right data and more time using it to protect themselves.

Communicating the story of success is vital to the life of your brand’s online protection strategy, and the only way to do that is through accurate and detailed analytics. Not only does this make it easy to track progress in real-time; it also simplifies your ability to communicate the value of your strategy to key stakeholders within your brand or company.

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