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Forward thinking content marketers have long realized that simple counting and consumption metrics – everything from pageviews to social shares, to time on site – don’t cut it anymore.

Meanwhile, a million new metrics have sprung up to vie for your acceptance. While analytics firms like Chartbeat are pushing for engaged time and scroll depth, companies with more of a brand publishing focus are concentrating on measuring brand lift. But what exactly is brand lift, how can we break it down and which of its components are applicable to your content campaigns?

Breaking Down Brand Lift

Brand lift can mean a number of things depending on who you ask. At its heart, brand lift refers to how much more people want to do business with your brand as a result of your marketing campaign.

Google defines it as “… [to] understand how your ads are affecting consumers’ awareness of your brand and how well your ad is recalled, and using search data you can measure the lift in brand interest. “

Web strategy firm Viget characterizes it as “…an increase in interaction with a brand as a result of an advertising campaign, and is primarily used to identify a positive shift in customer awareness and perception.”

They go on, “Brand lift metrics typically include: awareness (of the brand, product, or offering), attitude (opinion on quality, value, and appeal), recall (ability to remember), favorability (likelihood to recommend) and intent (likelihood to purchase)–all of which can be a challenge to measure.”

That last phrase absolutely nails it – a challenge to measure. While all these questions get to the heart of what marketers want to know, they’re not nearly as easy to measure as something like page views and click-throughs.

Awareness vs Recall vs Intent

I’ve found that marketers are most keen to have their content affect three major factors for potential customers: awareness, favorability, and intent. In other words, they either want their storytelling to make the world more familiar with their brand, make them view their brand more positively or ultimately up the likelihood that shoppers choose their brand when it comes time to purchase.

Deciding which metric (or metrics) is best for you really comes down to where the company or product being promoted is at in its lifecycle. Is this a brand new offering that the world has never heard of before? Choose awareness.

Do people know about your brand, but underestimate its strengths? Consider measuring favorability.

Or maybe you’re comfortable with those former two but are really trying to push consumers to buy. Well then, you want to measure (purchase) intent.

Analytical Tactics

Unlike simple metrics such as unique visitors or Facebook shares, these new metrics can be more complicated to measure; you can’t just plug in Google Analytics, throw your office intern at it and call it a day. You need to understand what your content consumers are thinking and feeling, you need control groups to compare that to and you need to make sure you’re not contaminating your data. If you’re ready to get wonky, we’ll dive into some best practices for brand lift analytics in our next piece.

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Our publication contributors combine decades of experience with unique insights into the content promotion and distribution industry.
Chad Pollitt Partner, VP of Audience Native Advertising Institute
Jay Baer Marketing Strategist, Speaker and Author
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Michael Ferrari Online Marketing Consultant Pen Cap Online Marketing
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David Tile Founder & Director Nimble Media

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