What are consumers really thinking when they see a branding campaign?
It's a question that we've all asked ourselves - and that we've had asked to us by our clients. With good reason, they want to know whether their ad dollars are delivering more than just impressions, and that those impressions aren't falling on blind eyes.
Certainly there are ways in which to track the consumer response to your web-based branding ads, whether through market research studies, by measuring the percentage of new visitors to your brand site and Facebook page, or - if your objective is to increase online sales - by evaluating your new orders, average order size, and return visits post-campaign. These metrics may give you some insight into how consumers are responding to your ads, but they won't tell you how your potential customers feel about your brand, or what they've learned about it.
Brand Lift Earns Its Place Online
Vizu was founded on the concept of real-time brand lift data, as this is what the company felt was the most valuable measurement of branding campaigns to marketers. This week, it announced the launch of its "Value in Video" program, which will allow marketers to measure consumer sentiment in real-time through any video that complies with the IAB's VAST/VPAID standards.
The new announcement is consistent with Vizu's two-pronged approach to branding measurement. Its Audience Incite product is designed to validate such aspects of a campaign as site categories, psychographic profile, and brand sentiment by polling a sampling of consumers from a publisher or network in the media plan. Ad Catalyst, meanwhile, measures consumer sentiment through polls conducted throughout the life of an ad campaign. The idea, in other words, is to determine the degree to which a campaign meets its objectives by viewing it through the eyes of the consumer.
When A&E Television wanted to promote its new crime series with an online ad campaign through media partner Horizon Media, Vizu was tasked with measuring both consumers' intent to watch and the actual viewership post-show launch. A&E and Horizon Media found that there was a more than 40 percent increase in intent to view the program from those who saw the ad campaign compared with those who didn't, and that these consumers were 13 percent more likely to watch the premiere.
Ask consumers for their opinion and you don't just get their point of view, but you cement your brand in their minds as well.
The Quiz Show Where Brands Are the Winners
Also in the business of measuring brand advertising effectiveness online, blurbIQ, Inc. - which launched just last year - takes a rather different approach. Instead of surveying consumers about their brand sentiments in response to a campaign, the company quizzes them on what they've learned.
Consumers are invited to interact with display ads that overlay branded video ads with related questions. While a potential customer is watching your video ad, she's also playing a branded game that serves to measure her awareness and ensure she's getting the message. Questions can range from those relating to specific terms or expressions mentioned in the ad, to logic-based conclusions. They can even be multiple-choice and provide the player with a "brand IQ" afterward. There are numerous ad unit sizes and formats to choose from and everything about the ads can be customized.
At a time when consumers employ social media to flaunt their allegiance to the brands they love and use their knowledge of products as social currency, asking them to share how they feel and how much they understand is apt to garner a positive response. Why wouldn't they care to participate in a poll or quiz when it's demonstrating the value brands place on their customers' opinion and point of view? And since consumers are increasingly open to sharing these things, marketers need no longer guess the success of their branding campaigns (or worse, opt not to measure them at all). Your customers will willingly tell you everything you want to know about the way in which you're advertising to them and what kind of response it incites.
All you have to do is ask.
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Tessa Wegert is an interactive media strategist with Enlighten, one of the first full-service digital marketing strategy and services agencies, serving such brands as Bioré, Bratz, Food Network, illy, Hunter Douglas, Jergens, and Olympic Paints and Stains. An industry veteran, Tessa has worked in online media buying and planning, marketing, and online copywriting since 1999. She is an active freelance writer specializing in interactive marketing who has contributed to U.S. and Canadian publications, including "USA Weekend Magazine," "Marketing Magazine," "The Globe and Mail," and "The Montreal Gazette." She is frequently quoted as an industry expert and speaks regularly at industry conferences and events.