Measuring Awareness Campaigns
An awareness campaign is a promotional campaign that does not have a defined acquisition, cost per lead (CPL/CPA), or return-on-ad-spend (ROAS) goal in mind -- but rather the promotion of a message without the need for an immediate response. In the digital advertising world we’re accustomed to knowing exactly how a particular piece of creative is performing at any point in time, but how is success determined when “awareness” is all we have to work with, how exactly should awareness campaigns be measured and what determines success?
To better understand what we can measure we need to understand a user’s journey within your awareness campaign.
A digital campaign begins with a targeted impression, more importantly a viewable impression. Ensuring that the correct impression was not only targeted to the correct user, but also that an impression is in-view as well, this is the first step towards measuring awareness.
Not all ad units are created equal – digital advertising comes in many forms ranging from simple text ads to full screen interactive videos. Even display banners themselves have their own nuances whether they appear as a static image, HTML5 banner and if they’re seen on a desktop screen, mobile phone or OTT device -- there is a subjective degree of impact that is made from each piece of creative. Awareness campaigns can favor unique units such as site takeovers or an IAB - rising stars units – the more unique and memorable the better.
As your user continues on within your campaign they may simply see your ad with no further action, they may click your ad, they may take a survey asking them a question relevant to your creative messaging, or a combination of any of these options.
Let’s begin with the scenario if a user simply sees your ad and takes no further action. If a user sees your ad and takes no further action that isn’t the end of the campaign when targeting this user, there are opportunities within the creative itself that can be leveraged with other existing campaigns. Adding a pixel within the creative itself can create a cookie pool of users who have seen ‘Message-A’ that can later be served a different or sequential ‘Message-B’. Taking advantage of all impressions and leveraging this power can assist other direct response campaigns that may also be running at the same time or during the lifetime of the cookie (30-90 days typically).
A targeted user may have also clicked your ad; tracking post-click metrics are also another measurement that can be used to tell a story about engagement and interest related to the creative messaging. Awareness campaigns are also a great jumping off point when it comes to landing page testing. If there is an open ended awareness goal associated with a landing page that encourages information gathering as opposed to a direct response (i.e. immediate form submission, purchase, or phone call) goal – awareness campaigns can assist in generating additional traffic that can assist with A/B testing.
Ultimately an advertiser wants to know if their campaign drove any additional brand lift, this is measured with a brand study. Digital brand studies cookie users who have been exposed to advertising and serve them a survey question related to an advertiser’s ad. A control group of users who have similar browsing habits related to the exposed group, but have not been served a particular ad are also served the same survey. This survey question continues to run for the duration of the campaign or until it is considered statistically stable in which a brand lift or the difference between the exposed group and control group can be calculated. If a campaign ultimately has a positive lift, this shows that users’ who have been exposed to a particular ad’s messaging have been influenced in a positive way that will favor the advertiser. There are other variations of brand studies that have different mythologies but measuring brand lift is the “hardest” key-performance-indicator an advertiser can hope for if running an awareness campaign.
Going down the sales funnel, awareness campaign goals may appear to be soft but going from delivery to brand lift, this continuum of the user’s journey allows you to tell a story about your campaign’s performance.