Brand Lift Studies: The Unsung Hero Behind Building Great Brands

February 21, 2024
mins read
Malinda Senanayake

There is no denying that building a great brand involves various factors, and effective advertising is definitely one of them. After all, if we don't remember a brand, we are less likely to buy from it. However, determining which advertising campaigns actually make a business impact is not an easy task. This is where brand lift studies come in handy.

Large brands invest millions of dollars in advertising, but their main concern is often limited to the number of people reached and the number of impressions made. Brand managers seldom dive deeper to understand the true effectiveness of their advertising efforts.

These metrics are not a true indicator of advertising effectiveness. What we really should be trying to understand is the incremental impact of our advertising and the specific changes it brings about in our target audience.

Interestingly, even though brand lift studies can provide a wealth of valuable insights, only a meagre 22% of marketers have utilized the power of such studies, according to the July 2018 eMarketer report "The New State of Audience Data: Accuracy Matters.

“Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.”  John Wannamaker.

Although there is undoubtedly some business impact resulting from advertising campaigns, it remains a great challenge to pinpoint the exact measurements. This enduring problem, once articulated by John Wannamaker, continues to confound us. Despite observing a surge in both awareness and sales, attributing this surge to a specific channel and determining the exact causes and magnitudes of the impact remains an arduous task.

Conducting a brand lift study: the fundamentals 

The essentials of conducting lift studies are widely acknowledged within the realm of research. The target audience is typically divided into two groups, with 90% being exposed to the advertising campaign and the remaining 10% who are not. Both groups are then asked the same set of questions. If a discernible difference emerges, it can be concluded that the variation is a direct result of the advertisements shown on that particular channel.

1.1 A brand lift study can help you understand how your customers are responding across each stage of the funnel.

While it is true that the aims of each campaign, brand, or business may differ, utilizing the lift study capabilities of major platforms such as Meta, Google, TikTok, and LinkedIn can unlock a myriad of unique insights based on the specific questions being asked.

Conducting a lift study: the essentials

When designing a brand lift study, it is of utmost importance to establish a clear objective for your creative endeavours. Are you seeking to increase awareness, convey a unique selling proposition (USP), or influence consumer preference for your brand within the market category? Your desired campaign outcomes will serve as the determining factor in shaping your approach.

Here are some insights that you can uncover with Meta Lift Studies. Each of these categories offers the option to ask customized questions, and you can ask up to three questions.

The importance of brand focus and understanding its position in the brand lifecycle cannot be overstated. Whether you are launching a new brand or striving to gain market share as an established brand, it is crucial to measure the effectiveness of your brand's objectives.

Let's explore scenarios where lift studies have proven to be highly effective in driving successful brand building efforts.

Case study: a 30% increase in brand lift

Consider a well-known brand that launches a campaign aimed at promoting its product to the 18-35 age group. The brand manager is eager to determine whether statics or short videos would yield better results in terms of ad recall, message association, and message recall among the target audience.

To address this, we conducted a multicell brand lift study for one of our partners with two groups. One group was exposed to statics, while the other group had access to mobile-optimized short videos. Surprisingly, the statistics (Static) group demonstrated a higher lift across all three metrics, surpassing the regional benchmark by an impressive 30%.

This study helped the brand refine its communication strategy using statics, ultimately enhancing its ability to connect with the target audience. Importantly, the brand now conducts brand lift studies for all major campaigns to understand the incremental impact on brand metrics.

Our research unveiled that the highest message recall came from an age group that was not part of the intended target audience. This discovery highlighted a critical flaw in our assumptions regarding the ability of the creative to resonate with the desired demographic. By recognizing this oversight, we were able to save millions of rupees in ad spend across all channels.

It is indisputable that brand campaigns must be accompanied by lift studies. In 2024, it is s time to move beyond mere impressions, likes, and shares. By delving deeper into the effectiveness of our campaigns through lift studies, we can truly understand their impact on brand perception and elevate our marketing efforts to new heights.

“The most important thing measurement can do is teach us what works best and what does not so we can grow and learn and do it even better next time… and in this way never stop learning and improving” ~ Charlie Ballard