Moving Beyond the Click to Measure and Optimize Brand Lift

The industry is quickly moving beyond the idea of the online channel as a direct response vehicle measured by click-throughs to utilizing it as a branding vehicle, where the true potential of digital advertising can be realized. As an increasing volume of brands’ budgets move to digital, advertisers will seek to more accurately measure the total impact of their campaigns. They will also turn to real-time bidding channels for higher efficiencies, which will accelerate the need for top of funnel metrics.

I recently sat down with Dan Beltramo, CEO and co-founder of Vizu, to discuss how advertisers can better understand and optimize how their online ads impact viewer perceptions of key brand attributes.

Adrian Tompsett: For both brand and performance advertisers, what are the benefits of running Vizu’s brand effectiveness platform as a standard component of campaigns?

Dan Beltramo: The primary benefit of leveraging Vizu’s brand effectiveness platform is the ability to make online brand advertising more efficient and increase online brand advertising ROI by understanding and optimizing relevant sales funnel brand metrics such as awareness, brand affinity, and purchase intent. Up till now, brand advertisers have had to rely on inappropriate metrics like click-through rates (CTRs), inferior measures of convenience like engagement rates, or stale custom research reports to measure the performance of their branding objectives. Brand lift metrics, or the lift in performance of the branding objectives, bring the same metrics used to measure and optimize advertising effectiveness in the offline world to the online medium in a more robust way.

Moreover, there is also a huge opportunity for CMOs to get a clear understanding of how their direct response campaigns are impacting their brands. The addition of brand measurement to a DR campaign provides insight into how that campaign is actually moving the needle towards future purchases and building the upper funnel, which is lost by the easily measured but overly simplified CPA metric. This data is incredibly valuable in understanding the impact that DR campaigns are having on your brand, and enables the advertiser to optimize, making smarter and more timely branding and DR decisions.

AT: Should folks running branded campaigns be considering running in the real-time exchanges?

DB: Absolutely. The first part of running an effective branding campaign is being able to reach the right audience. Programmatic bidding across the now hundreds of billions of available real-time impressions represents a highly cost efficient opportunity to reach your target audience, wherever they are on the Web. Rather than buying a specified bucket of impressions, systems automatically redistribute the advertiser’s budget, buying only those impressions that work best for your campaign. The result is a more efficient and effective way to extend and complement premium buys.

AT: How does “brand optimization” work? What is it?

DB: Online brand advertising optimization is the ability to tune various aspects of an online media buy to generate the greatest amount of brand lift for the given media spend. Once you have a reliable measurement system in place that can identify and measure the elements of a campaign that drive brand lift, you can better optimize the campaign. Once you understand the relative brand lift by creative, media placement, audience segment, frequency, and many other attributes, it becomes a relatively simple process to use more of what is working and less of what is not working so well. In fact, even the simplest heuristic such as reallocating the impressions of the bottom performing 25 percent of a campaign’s creative to the remaining creatives can yield dramatic results. On average, we’ve seen that just doing that in previous purchase intent campaigns can improve brand lift by an average of 40 percent.

The bottom line is that you can’t optimize what you can’t measure, and Vizu’s platform enables real-time branding objective measurement and optimization. Not measuring every campaign for brand lift is a missed opportunity.

Beyond optimizing individual campaigns, leading advertisers and their partners are building institutional knowledge and benchmarks that inform subsequent advertising campaigns based on the data they acquire when they implement consistent, reliable measurement systems.

AT: Are there any privacy concerns that advertisers should worry about with using in-banner surveys?

DB: One of the benefits of in-banner surveys from a privacy perspective is that participation is entirely voluntary. The data collected via brand surveys is not used to target a specific individual. It is used to inform the types of impressions and placements that work best for a brand advertiser’s campaign. In-banner surveys are focused on measuring reaction to an advertising objective, and need not request nor collect personally identifiable information.

AT: How do you see the use of in-banner surveys and online brand measurement evolving over the next couple of years?

DB: Brand lift will begin to replace CTR as the currency of communication regarding brand advertising performance. Once the entire brand advertising community focuses on the same objective and measures performance the same way, a new era of collaboration and creativity will be unleashed. Dollars that were previously wasted on ineffective advertising and dollars that were held back from online media for lack of any accountability will be reallocated to media outlets and programs that really build brands in quantifiable and meaningful ways.

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