What makes a great advertising campaign? You might think that a successful campaign is one that immediately drives sales. In actual fact, the relationship between advertising and sales revenues is often murkier and difficult to detect. That’s because advertising might not drive sales in the short term, but might in fact raise the profile and appeal of your brand—leading to a long-term boost in the health of your brand that isn’t immediately detectable using traditional metrics like revenues. This notion that advertising can boost brand health is known as brand lift. It describes the impact of a brand advertising campaign and is a way to measure your ads’ impact on the perception and performance of your brand. Marketers may quantify brand lift using a variety of metrics, including brand awareness, brand perception, and intent to buy.
First, let's go into more detail about what brand lift is and what its benefits are. You might have heard of metrics like impressions and views, which have traditionally been used to measure the impact of advertising on perceptions and behaviors throughout the consumer journey. While these metrics are certainly useful, they might not capture some of the less tangible impact of your marketing efforts. Brand lift is a positive shift in how prospective customers perceive your brand, typically measured via survey, that doesn’t necessarily translate into an immediate action or sale. Brand lift is a way to measure the impact of your ads on the perception and performance of your brand through a broad assessment of metrics, including:
While some prospective customers might have seen and been inspired by your advert, this might not necessarily translate into immediate sales. However, if brand awareness has been lifted, that should be seen as a win for your brand. That’s because, in the long-term, there’s a relationship between brand awareness, and brand health. People who know your brand are more likely to talk about it, further boosting brand health.
Associated with brand awareness is brand consideration, the likelihood that a customer will purchase a brand. Customers that are aware of your brand may consider buying it when presented with a range of options, especially if your advert was powerful and appealing.
This goes beyond consideration of a brand, but is a stage in the customer journey when customers actually express an intention to purchase your product or service.
This is another long-term measure of brand health. Many large companies with very well known products continue to invest heavily in advertising, even though awareness of their brand is already very high and unlikely to be boosted through advertising. However, continual exposure to marketing messages about the brand keeps it top of customers’ minds, and so should be evaluated as part of your brand lift measuring strategy.
The attributes of your brand which come into customers’ minds when they hear about the brand. When measuring brand lift, you will need to assess whether your brand is associated with positive sentiments, or whether brand associations are more negative (and if that is the case, it's time to take action!).
By capturing insight into these dimensions of brand health following an advertising campaign, you’ll be able to discern whether your adverts have had impact, which can help you align campaigns with marketing goals.
Brand lift can provide you with powerful insight, but how does it work? Typically, using brand lift, you’ll develop surveys for people to answer questions about the brand and its product category after viewing or being exposed to your adverts. These surveys can answer questions like:
If you have a regular advertising campaign, you can also run these surveys regularly over a certain period of time. This will give you insight into the cumulative effect of your advertising campaign: helping you to understand whether it was money well spent.
Let’s take a closer look at some of the metrics you can measure in brand lift surveys. These can be organized according to the three main stages in the marketing funnel: growing awareness of your brand, product or service, growing interest, and ultimately boosting desire for it.
If customers are to be aware of your product, your advert must have the power to break through the existing marketing clutter, be retained in viewers’ memories, and be associated with the sponsor brand in the way that you intended. Two key metrics of importance are attention and brand linkage.
While promoting awareness of the brand is a crucial first step in lifting the brand, brand awareness is meaningless unless it promotes customer interest. Three areas you should think about evaluating in order to measure interest are message communication, perceptions of brand attributes, and ad diagnostics:
Iis the ad’s strategic message really being conveyed by the ad and received by the viewers? In other words, was the message that you intended to convey understood in the same way by those that experienced the advert? By asking respondents to put the meaning of the ad into their own words, you’ll get a better idea of how the message was understood. You’ll also want to measure how relevant and believable the main idea of the advert is to viewers.You can even capture this before the ad has launched, through ad testing tools.
Does the advert improve perceptions on key brand or product attributes? For example, you might have created an advert for an affordable in-home security solution. In this case, you might be interested in learning whether ad viewers found the core product to be safer, more secure, more affordable, or more appealing than competing products.
Once an ad is run, you might be able to obtain some data on its performance. For example, you might have data on interaction times with the ad, or the number of likes and shares it generated on social media. Survey data can help you to understand why the ad is performing the way it is, by capturing respondent ratings on aspects such as the advert’s likability, believability, relevance, newsworthiness, entertainment, and/or informational value.
Desire metrics should measure the “response” to the ad, and ideally capture how desirable the brand now is in the mind of customers. Desire can be evaluated in a number of ways. Attitudinal changes measure changes in attitudes towards, or perceptions of the brand, but you might also measure changes in intentions or behaviors towards the brand. What you’re looking for is whether customers are more motivated toward the brand after seeing and hearing and seeing the ad, whether they're more likely to try or buy the brand, or whether perceptions of the brand have improved. It will be especially important important to capture insight into:
In other words, were people persuaded by the marketing messages contained in the advert? Are people more likely to consider or buy the brand after seeing the advert (measures of brand consideration and purchase intent), or are they likely to consume the brand more often (a measure of frequency)?
This captures whether people feel more positive or more favorable toward a brand after experiencing the advert. For example, viewers of an ad might have a more positive impression of the product or the sponsoring brand, or reputation might be improved compared to that of a competitor.
In some instances, it may be possible to capture desire from metrics on social media, such as the number of shares and likes on a digital advert. However, surveys more accurately capture how people feel about a brand, and so these should be used in conjunction with any digital research into ad effectiveness. In order to make sure that your ads are effective on desire before they even launch, you should also consider some ad testing.
Brand lift shouldn’t be a supplement to any evaluation of your advertising effectiveness: it should be at the heart of your research. That’s because brand lift can indicate the success or failure of advertising initiatives, and can give you insight into the long-term impact of your advertising campaign. Measuring brand lift can:
You do not have to wait until the end of your advertising campaign to try to assess its effectiveness, and in fact, it often makes sense to measure brand lift midway through the campaign. That way, you can reorient your approach if it turns out that the advertising is less effective than you had hoped.
Imagine that both you and a direct competitor have created an in-store advertising campaign. You’ll get an incomplete insight into the effectiveness of your campaign if you only focus on how customers perceive your brand. By comparing your brand desirability with that of your competitors, you’ll be able to determine whether your ad was effective not only in isolation, but also against competing campaigns.
Multi-channel marketing is growing in popularity, and brand lift can help you compare the relative effectiveness of different media campaigns. Using a brand lift survey, you can compare perceptions and performance of ads run across social media, traditional print media and broadcast media, for instance.
Finally, brand lift helps you to maximize the growth of your brand. If your evaluation efforts show that your advertising is working, you can be confident that extra spend is likely to generate even more lift.
Momentive can help you run brand lift studies prior to, during and following your advertising campaigns to measure the impact and effectiveness of your ads. Through our ad testing solution, we can also help predict the impact of your ad before you launch, for ultimate cost effectiveness, and brand tracking insights can help you track how the needle is being moved on your brand health.
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