Two colleagues using a software tool to measure brand lift metrics related to a recent campaign.
June 8, 2023

What Are Brand Lift Metrics and How to Track Them

by Michael Brenner

Brand reputation, brand perception, brand awareness—these are all critical measures of how your audience feels about your B2B brand, and they are most effectively measured using brand lift metrics.

Brand lift metrics measure exactly how your marketing and ad campaigns impact the way your brand is perceived by your target buyers and how far your campaigns are reaching. As a marketer, you can use these metrics to go beyond strictly quantitative performance measures to gain a more holistic understanding of where your brand stands with potential customers.

Read on to take a deeper dive into brand lift metrics—what they are, why they matter, 5 metrics to prioritize, and tools to help you track them.

Quick Takeaways

  • By definition, brand lift metrics measure the impact of marketing and advertising campaigns on brand perception and performance.
  • Brand lift focuses on three primary areas: awareness, consideration, and preference.
  • Key brand lift metrics to measure include brand reach, brand recall, message association, purchase intent, and brand favorability.
  • Brand lift is most effectively measures using a data analytics software tool in combination with platform-specific tools (ex: Facebook and Google)

What are Brand Lift Metrics?

Brand lift metrics measure the impact of marketing and advertising campaigns on a brand’s perception and performance. They provide insight into how effectively a campaign influences consumer behavior and overall brand awareness.

Typically, brand lift metrics are measured before and after a campaign to assess changes in key performance indicators (KPIs). They also often use A/B testing and control groups to clearly demonstrate the brand lift impact of a campaign. The flowchart below from TikTok, which has brand lift study capabilities built in, shows how brand lift measurement can be incorporated  into social media ad campaigns.

Flowchart showing how brand lift can be incorporated into an ad campaign on the TikTok platform.

Image Source

The value of brand lift metrics is that they offer a higher level and more holistic assessment of marketing campaign performance—they go beyond surface-level metrics like click rates, views, and open rates to evaluate whether campaigns are really impacting the way and the extent to which consumers recognize and think about a brand.

There are three primary categories or focus areas brand lift metrics aim to measure by tracking KPIs related to each. They are:

  • Awareness — How many people have been exposed to your brand and can recognize and recall it
  • Consideration — How well brands associate your message to their needs and consider it as a potential solution
  • Preference — How favorably consumers perceive your brand in general and compared to other brands, and the likelihood they’ll make a purchase

Over time, companies can use brand lift metrics to see the trajectory of their brand awareness and perception with key audiences, and make smart decisions about how to shape it in their favor. At the same time, they can more quickly recognize barriers and issues preventing brand lift and address them head-on.

5 Brand Lift Metrics to Measure

Brand Reach

Brand reach measures the size or extent of the audience you reach through your marketing efforts. It tells you how many people have been exposed to your message through your various communication channels, and involves tracking specific KPIs such as social media impressions, website traffic, and page or ad views.

Brand reach is like a starting point metric—it’s simply measuring how far your message got, giving you a baseline to measure other metrics like impressions, recall, and intent. It can be measured with marketing automation tools that track ad and content performance.

Brand Recall

Brand recall metrics gauge the effectiveness of a marketing or advertising campaign in terms of how well viewers remember seeing or hearing ads and content. It assesses your brand’s ability to leave a lasting impression and be remembered by your audience.

Unlike brand reach, ad recall requires conducting surveys to measure. Common and effective tactics for doing so include:

  • Recognition Surveys — Conducting surveys where respondents are presented with the ad and asked if they remember seeing it before.
  • Prompted Recall — Providing prompts or cues to the respondents to jog their memory about the specific ad. This could be in the form of showing visuals or key elements from the ad, playing the ad jingle, or presenting a brief description.
  • Unaided Recall —Assessing if respondents can recall the ad without any prompts or cues. This method measures spontaneous recall and helps determine the strength of the ad’s impact on the audience.
  • Split-Brain Testing — This experimental technique involves presenting the ad to one group while withholding it from another. Both groups are then surveyed to compare the recall rates between those exposed to the ad and those who were not. This method helps isolate the impact of the ad in driving recall.

To see how these surveys are conducted in practice to measure brand reach (and other metrics we’ll cover next), check out the below examples from Facebook and Google.

Message Association

Message association evaluates the extent to which the campaign successfully conveyed the intended message or brand attributes. It measures whether viewers associate your brand with the desired values or qualities communicated through the campaign.

In this way, message association expands on brand reach and brand recall to evaluate whether the ability for consumers to view and remember your brand is actually having a positive impact. Like brand recall, measuring message association requires surveying your audience.

Purchase Intent

Purchase intent indicates the likelihood of consumers to make a purchase from your brand after being exposed to your campaign. It evaluates the influence of the campaign on the intent to purchase or the likelihood of conversion. This metric is helpful for measuring how effectively your marketing efforts translate to revenue and growth for your company.

Purchase intent can be measured by survey or by tracking behavioral indicators such as visiting a product or pricing page, or creating an online shopping cart.

Brand Favorability

Brand favorability assesses changes in brand sentiment after your campaign. It measures whether your campaign had a positive, neutral, or negative impact on consumers’ perception of your brand, and is important for informing future action around brand engagement.

Similarly to message association, brand favorability provides context around metrics like reach and recall to tell you whether your ability to reach and engage audiences is ultimately impacting your brand in the way you intend.

Examples From Top Platforms

The best way to understand how brand lift metrics are measured in practice is to see how it’s being done on top platforms, like Facebook and Google. The two videos below take deep dives into Facebook and Google brand lift studies (respectively) and offer valuable insight into how you can structure and execute your own.

Tracking Brand Lift Metrics Effectively

Measuring brand lift metrics requires a somewhat sophisticated approach. The concept of brand lift itself is nuanced, and the metrics used to measure it leverage a mix of quantitative and qualitative data. The best approach to tracking brand lift metrics is using an analytics or business intelligence platform with dashboard-building capabilities.

In combination with platform-specific tools like Facebook and Google brand lift studies, you can build a dashboard customized to your company and campaigns to measure the brand lift metrics most important and relevant to your objectives.

You can also measure brand lift metrics over time and across campaigns for a comprehensive understanding of your marketing strategy’s effectiveness, using insights to continuously improve your efforts and boost results.

Michael Brenner is a keynote speaker, author and CEO of Marketing Insider Group. Michael has written hundreds of articles on sites such as Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, and The Guardian and he speaks at dozens of leadership conferences each year covering topics such as marketing, leadership, technology and business strategy.