Brand Advertising: Increasing Brand Awareness Pays Off

January 29, 2019   /   by  Diane Callihan

Invest in Your Funnel for Long-term Rewards

There are two types of advertising – brand advertising, which is used to establish and build a connection with a user over time, and performance-based/direct response ads, which are used to drive an immediate action from a user.

Most of the ads we see daily on TV, radio, billboards, etc. are brand advertising - big companies like Apple, Coca-Cola or McDonalds reminding everyone how cool, refreshing or tasty they are (“I’m lovin’ it.”). But brand advertising is less popular online, because digital advertising is more often touted for its immediacy and measurable results.

Since brand advertising does not necessarily ask for viewers to perform an action, it is harder to track. Often brand ads, whether display, rich media or video, are run simply to be seen and make a favorable impression over time. The web is a highly performance-based medium, and most businesses value stats like click-thru rates, conversion rates, ROI and more.

Ad agencies may also point their clients towards performance-based ads for this same reason – they can prove that their campaigns are working through the numbers.

Brand Ads and Performance Based Ads are Complementary

But the truth is, studies show again and again that the more aware consumers are of your brand, the more likely they are to buy from you. People are more likely to work with or buy from companies they’ve heard of and trust.

Brand awareness – composed of Exposure, Influence and Engagement – is at the top of your sales funnel. Once prospects have heard of your brand, been influenced by and engaged with it, they are much more likely to take action (performance-based ads) and buy your product or service.

Lead nurturing techniques such as email, PPC and retargeting help move prospects further down the funnel towards purchase.

Businesses may dismiss brand advertising for its lack of immediate ROI, but building brand relationships over time is invaluable. And it may be driving sales that you’re unaware of.

For example, Gian M. Fulgoni wrote in a Comscore post, “We should be wary of attributing 100% of the credit for a purchase to a click on a search ad. Search might well have closed the deal, but there is often a lot of other marketing activity that led the consumer down the path to purchase.” Such as brand awareness.

Additionally, there are some metrics you can track for brand campaigns. Impressions are more important for branding campaigns because they measure how many people saw your ad. In fact, you may wish to run your campaign by cost-per-thousand impressions instead of cost-per-click, since you’re more focused on people seeing your message than acting on it.

Likewise, reach – the number of visitors exposed to your ad, and frequency – the average number of times a visitor was exposed to your ad, are key for brand awareness campaigns.

Click-through rate is helpful for search ads because customers are finding you through specific keywords, but for display ads, you may want to choose another metric to measure for success, such as conversions.

Brand Ads Cast a Wider Net

Those who run performance-based ads know that targeting is key to getting good results. But brand ads can cast a wider net. For example – you may think that Lexus should only advertise to people who are affluent enough to buy a Lexus. But they may also want to do some brand building with younger, well-educated consumers who may eventually move into that target market. Because, if some bright college kid falls in love with the Lexus brand, guess what they will buy when they're older and more established?

Again, brand advertising is the long game. It requires patience, persistence and a little faith. But when combined with performance-based ads, your brand can capture immediate ROI while also driving future sales.

Interested in seeing what brand advertising can do for your business? We can help. Let’s Talk.

Diane Callihan

Diane Callihan

With more than 20 years of experience writing for some of the country’s top brands, Diane helped to shape Roger West’s content strategy, lead generation, and PR efforts as Director of Marketing. She currently serves as President of Callihan Content Creation.