The Next Generation of Brand Lift Studies

Sep 1, 2022 | Audience Intelligence, B2C, Social Audience Retargeting

Ever wonder how a specific group of individuals might perceive your brand? Especially after running a new campaign or receiving negative press? If so, conducting a brand lift study might be in your future.

By definition, brand lift studies survey a specific audience and/or customer group to evaluate if brand perception has changed as a result of a specific event, good or bad.

Methods most marketers leverage to conduct brand lift studies

There are a variety of methods and services that marketers can leverage to conduct brand lift studies based on their main objectives. Some brands may employ brand lift studies to understand the effects of negative press on brand perception, while others want to understand if brand perception has changed overtime due to a new product line or partnership. Regardless, here are a few methods that are commonly used in order to gather these insights:

Forced Exposure

Many marketers will take a similar approach to their survey outreach as they do their demand generation, running retargeted ads across platforms like Google, social media sites, and even Amazon and Spotify. After exposing a subset of their target audience to a relevant piece of content, they are then invited to take a survey to provide their feedback around the brand or its products and services. In tandem, a control group will be surveyed so that an analysis can be run comparing the perception of those that had been served the advertisement versus those that were not.

One major downfall of this approach is the inability to effectively measure the impact of negative press. No marketer wants to expose more of their target audience to less than favorable news if they don’t have to. Additionally, this method doesn’t show the real impact of organic exposure to earned content with results that aren’t always accurate.

Pre and Post-Campaign Targeting

Another method that marketers may employ to better understand the impact of their earned media efforts is focused more on the timing of their survey outreach. By targeting their ideal audience to take a survey prior to a PR launching or a campaign kicking off, they can gather a view of brand perception for that snapshot in time. Post campaign, they can target their ideal audience once again and see if there has been any lift in brand health resulting from their efforts.

Unfortunately, when it comes to this approach, there is no guarantee that those surveyed post-campaign were actually exposed to the earned content which may skew results.

Social Listening Platforms

Frequently, marketers will do their best to measure the impact of their earned campaigns by tracking resulting conversations, brand mentions, and sentiment on social media. While it may be helpful to note the increasing volume of positive or negative mentions post-campaign, or to read through people’s comments on specific coverage, there are challenges with this approach. When it comes to social listening, there is no guarantee that the people whose opinions are being taken into account are representative of your target audience. For example, if there is negative feedback from someone that looks nothing like your ideal buyer, then this is far less impactful than if it is coming from someone who fits your target audience.

Collectively, most brand lift studies require casting a wide net in hopes of reaching your intended audience, spending valuable time and budget purchasing email lists, running generalized ads or hosting your survey on a survey site. The good news is, there’s a more targeted solution to reaching your audience by identifying exposed and engaged audiences.

Ability to identifying exposed and engaged audiences for survey outreach

When you can identify individuals exposed to and/or engaged with your campaign or earned media coverage, you’re able to target spend on those opinions that matter most. Up until now this hasn’t been possible. Marketers can now leverage a social audience insights platform (like Silhouette™) to understand an individual’s behavior across social platforms–including the influencers, media channels and brands they have an affinity toward and actively engage with. Silhouette’s Identity Graph is then able to connect those exposed and engaged audiences to real, verified individuals making their profiles actionable for survey targeting and outreach.

A brand lift study in-action

Let’s look at an example of a petcare brand who came under fire for its product’s potential harmful effects on pets and a certain population of pet owners. In response to the backlash, the brand ran a counteractive messaging campaign to address the negative press; however, they wanted to understand if brand perception had changed among those who had been exposed to their counteractive messaging. Partnering with StatSocial, the brand was able to get an aggregate view of the audience exposed to the new positioning around their product’s safety, resulting in the ability to deploy brand surveys to those exposed audience members. They also surveyed a control audience to see if results differed between the two groups.

The petcare brand’s ability to identify those exposed, eliminated the need to run long screeners and target spend to only those who came in contact with the campaign.

Ability to take further action post brand lift

Depending on the results of your survey, good or bad, you might want to target that same audience with messaging to either change perception or increase the chance of future purchase. By identifying those who engaged with or were exposed to your campaign, marketers can model off of these audiences to deploy highly targeted ad campaigns.

Final thoughts

Being able to fully understand how your brand is perceived is key to your overall business and marketing strategy. For the first time, marketers have the ability to go beyond their CRM and traditional survey targeting methods to reach those who actually came in contact with their marketing and earned media campaigns. If you’re looking to start identifying exposed audiences for survey targeting and outreach, schedule a demo with our team.


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