Use a Brand Lift Study to Optimize Your Next Campaign
Use a Brand Lift Study to Optimize Your Next Campaign

Use a Brand Lift Study to Optimize Your Next Campaign

Digital Marketing

Jennifer Flanagan

May 05 2023

Reliable metrics form the foundation of a well-designed digital marketing strategy, but metrics alone won’t tell the whole story of a campaign’s impact — and where there’s room to improve.

Instead of relying solely on metrics to determine a digital campaign’s effectiveness, marketers can use brand lift studies to help measure success. This new perspective combined with traditional metrics offers a more complete picture of ad and campaign performance.

Brand Lift Studies, Explained

Brand lift studies are a way to determine how well your ad and/or campaign delivers on its overall goals. A brand lift study could be one question or a series of questions designed to uncover how well an ad promotes brand awareness, brand consideration, and/or purchase intent — i.e., the stages of a traditional sales funnel.

The study is typically a survey presented to an audience who has seen your ad (the exposed group) and an audience who hasn’t (the control group.) The difference between the two groups’ answers is your brand’s “lift.” Brands can also conduct the survey with the same audience pre- and post-campaign for a different measure of brand lift. There are no exposed or control groups in this scenario; just one audience providing feedback at different stages.

Because brand lift studies apply to every sales-funnel stage, the focus isn’t solely on conversion and sales statistics. Instead, these studies show where users are most affected by your ads and campaigns so you can determine campaign effectiveness and optimize accordingly to drive more conversions. Brand recognition and perception matter just as much, serving as potential indicators for future sales.

How to Analyze a Brand Lift Study

Brand lift studies don’t eschew marketing metrics. Instead, they rely on different measurements that most people don’t consult first when reviewing campaign insights. The studies often focus on discovering the audience’s recall and association of brand messaging, brand favorability, and purchase intent. For a better understanding of how that information relates to campaigns, let’s sort them into familiar sales funnel stages.

Brand Awareness

Your target audience won’t look for your brand when making their next purchase if they don’t know about you. To gauge how memorable your campaign is, brand lift studies at this stage should include questions like:

-Do people recall watching an advertisement for [your product]?
-Are you more aware of [your brand] after viewing this ad?
-When thinking about [product type], which brands come to mind?
-Which of these [similar product brands] do you recognize?

While large, popular brands may not benefit as much from awareness-focused brand lift studies, this type of study could be useful for new product launches or for small ecommerce businesses that hope to gain recognition in their product space and industry.

Brand consideration

Once your target audience knows your brand, it’s time to discover if your brand is top-of-mind for purchase consideration. Brand attributes and perception are important in this stage, too. Questions for this stage can include the following:

-Did this ad motivate you to consider [your brand] when compared to [competitor brand]?
-What are your perceptions of [your brand] after viewing this ad? More favorable? Less favorable?
-What words come to mind when you think of [your brand]?
-How does [your brand] make you feel?

Purchase intent

Ultimately, people need to purchase your product or service. These questions can help in determining how persuasive your ads were in convincing the target audience to convert and become customers:

-Do you intend to purchase [your product]  after seeing this ad?
-Which brand of [product type] are you most likely to buy the next time you purchase [product type]?”

Additionally, current trends in brand lift studies include “pairing attitudinal measures with behavioral KPIs” for a more comprehensive look at campaign impact. For example, engagement metrics paired with purchase intent results could offer a better idea of how many users actually complete a purchase, and how quickly they make that decision.

When to Use Brand Lift Studies

Brand lift studies can help digital marketing teams identify weak points in the sales funnel without having to wait for the campaign to run its course. Conducting a study at strategic intervals allows marketers to course-correct while the campaign is still running by making changes where the brand lift is lowest.

This can be especially important for teams who need to justify and optimize media spend. You might be wasting your budget on platforms where your audience just isn’t engaging with the ad when you could be redirecting that to a much more effective channel. Brand lift studies can show where your money is doing the heavy lifting — and where it’s barely moving the needle.

These studies are also a good way to evaluate efforts over time. SurveyMonkey points out that if you have a regular advertising campaign (as opposed to a seasonal or time-sensitive campaign), conducting brand lift studies regularly will show if the campaign is delivering the desired ROI.

The insights from a brand lift study can help marketers identify which campaigns and/or individual ads result in the highest conversions and overall ROI. Because of these distinct advantages, brand lift studies should be an integral part of your team’s research and design strategy.

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