Brand Stewardship

Brand Stewardship – Measuring Brand Health

Measuring Brand Health

The Wikimedia Foundation measures global familiarity, understanding, and attitudes about Wikipedia and Wikimedia projects. This research has been conducted since 2016 and serves as a strategic resource to the entire movement in understanding how our readers see our projects, as well as where we make improvements to achieve the goals set out in the 2030 Movement Strategy.

The most recent brand research, carried out in December 2022, shows that 80% of global internet users have heard of Wikipedia. This positions Wikipedia above traditional knowledge sources like Britannica (22%), but below rich media platforms where people go to seek information like Twitter (86%), TikTok (85%), and Google (93%). While the Wikimedia movement does not aspire to replicate large search or social media platforms, it is important to understand more broadly how people use the internet to find information, and what platforms they find most trustworthy, accessible, and delightful if we hope to continue to make Wikimedia relevant and used around the world.


Figure 1: Aided brand awareness (%) for Wikipedia and competing knowledge platforms

Q. Which of the following websites or apps have you HEARD of?

(Hover over the chart for precise data)

Among the 12 countries surveyed, Russia, Argentina, Nigeria, Germany, and South Africa had the highest level of  awareness of Wikipedia. South Korea, Egypt, and the UAE had the lowest awareness levels.. 

Figure 2: Aided brand awareness (%) for Wikipedia and competing brands across markets

Q. Which of the following websites or apps have you HEARD of?

(Hover over the charts for precise data)

When asked about associations with Wikipedia, survey participants highlighted “quality information” as the strongest association; followed by “free to use” and our status as “open source”. Readers do not associate video, images and photos with the Wikipedia experience. This is in stark contrast to other online platforms like TikTok and Khan Academy.

Figure 3: Deviation from category average for Wikipedia to show how respondents relate attributes to the brand

Q. Which of the following do you ASSOCIATE with each brand, if any?

(Hover over the chart for precise data)

Using Wikipedia makes people feel  “smart”, “inspired”, and “empowered”.  This was in contrast to other internet brands where the leading emotional association was “connection to others”. 

Figure 4: How people feel when using Wikipedia vs other knowledge and information sources

Q. How do you FEEL when you USE each of the following?

(Hover over the chart for precise data)

When asked how much they trust different websites/brands, including Wikipedia, the result shows that Wikipedia is well trusted to be honest and unbiased, just behind Google and YouTube.

Figure 5: How people trust Wikipedia to be honest and unbiased vs other knowledge and information sources

Q. How much do you trust each of the following sites to be honest and unbiased?

(Hover over the chart for precise data)

The survey also looked at whether people who use Wikipedia are likely to recommend it, using a widely used market research metric: the Net Promoter Score (NPS). In the 2021 survey, the result for Wikipedia was positive at 14.6 points, but the score was impacted by a large number (32%) of brand “detractors” (respondents who gave Wikipedia a rating of 6 or lower).  The 2022 survey shows an improvement for Wikipedia. The Net Promoter Score was now at 21.7. There were fewer detractors (25%) with the bulk of previous “detractors” moving towards a more neutral view. People in this category are referred to as “passives” and do not show any real enthusiasm for Wikipedia.

In contrast, brands like Google and YouTube scored +56.5 and +51.8 respectively, showing the power of people endorsing your brand.

Figure 6: NPS result for Wikipedia and competing brands

Q. How LIKELY is it that you would RECOMMEND the following websites or apps to a friend or colleague?

The survey found Indonesian, Indian, and Nigerian internet users are the most likely to recommend Wikipedia to a friend or colleague; while German, American, South African, and South Korean internet users are the most likely to warn friends and colleagues from using the site. This survey confirmed what we’ve seen in previous research: preference for Wikipedia is relatively low in countries such as the United States and Germany where misplaced poor quality perceptions of Wikipedia still linger. In contrast, in countries where Wikipedia is entering peak adoption, Wikipedia has a high number of promoters. 

Figure 7: Promoters, Passives, and Detractors for Wikipedia in surveyed countries

Q. How LIKELY is it that you would RECOMMEND the following websites or apps to a friend or colleague?

(Hover over the chart for precise data)

The survey also looked at how Wikipedia is seen by different age groups. Worryingly, 18-24 year olds scored Wikipedia very low and even negatively. This poses a high risk for the future of the project and the movement as a whole.

Figure 8: Net Promoter Score for Wikipedia by age groups across surveyed countries.

Q. How LIKELY is it that you would RECOMMEND the following websites or apps to a friend or colleague?

(Hover over the chart for precise data)

Free Knowledge Movement

In the second wave of the Brand Health Tracker we also added a section to determine the levels of awareness and concern people have about free knowledge, knowledge access and  the Wikimedia free knowledge movement. From the research it is clear that there is a lack of concern about access to free knowledge, low awareness of the Free Knowledge Movement, and low understanding of how access to free knowledge links to positive impacts in the world. 

However, respondents shared their concerns around some of the threats to freely available information and knowledge, highlighting  misinformation and disinformation (69%), authoritarian governments (58%) and economic constraints such as poverty and recessions (69%) as critical threats. 

When we provided respondents with a list of movements rather than asking them in an open-ended question, younger people (18-34 years old) proved to be more aware (21%) of the Free Knowledge Movement than those over 55 years of age (7%). 

To better understand the competing big issues in each country’s political economy, we ask respondents what local issues they are most concerned about. Corruption is the leading concern in Argentina, Brazil, Nigeria and South Africa, whereas war is more of a concern in Germany and Russia. From this added layer in the research it is clear that more work  needs to be done to establish the critical importance and intersectional nature of access to verifiable knowledge and information, as well as its relevance to people’s everyday lives. The current lack of awareness has drastic implications for the sustainability of our movement.

A short history of measuring our brand

Over the last decade, Wikimedia project usage, brand and mission awareness have been measured using a variety of methods. Research conducted in 2010, 2016, 2018, 2019 and 2020 were either one-off investments, regional, or explored product, brand or mission awareness independently or selectively. Today, we know that among the billions of people who use our projects, some are aware of their functional value but many are not aware of our brand or social good mission. 

The brand health tracker project is aimed at tracking top-end metrics that will enable the Foundation to evaluate and monitor the health of movement brands across the globe, perception of our audiences, as well as key indicators that can help us visualize the impact of our work. By measuring our efforts, we can hold ourselves more accountable for the work we do. The first two iterations of this survey have already revealed the important role brand awareness, understanding, and love plays in ensuring a healthy movement. Strengthening and distinguishing the Wikipedia and Wikimedia brands from the likes of Google or Quora will be crucial in achieving our shared ambitious 2030 goals.

As a baseline, the first iteration of the brand health tracker done in December 2021 covers 11 countries to represent a global view. The countries were chosen based on countries surveyed before, focus areas based on recent developments and campaigns across the movement. The countries surveyed for the baseline include the United States, Germany, Russia, Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, South Korea, Nigeria, South Africa, India, and Indonesia. For the second survey, done in December 2022, we made slight changes to the list of countries. We added Argentina, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates and removed Mexico, and the Philippines. This was done to ensure we standardize the data across the regions, collect data for markets of focus, and triangulate the findings for markets within the regions, so we can adequately represent the insights for the regions from the markets surveyed.

Photo credits

Brand Health NPS