Most of us are familiar with the old adage: “Half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don't know which half.” In the current digital age, marketers have access to a myriad of ways to measure campaign effectiveness, but sadly, this phrase continues to ring true for the vast majority of us.
Contrary to popular belief, it’s entirely possible to understand which live campaign elements are driving the best outcomes, it’s simply about focusing on the right data - and this is where brand research can shine a very bright light on your media strategy.
In the past, conducting in-depth consumer research was expensive and time-consuming. Today, thanks to tech innovations in online research, campaigns can and should be designed using insights garnered from robust brand research.
Gone are the days of relying solely on performance metrics (such as click-through-rates). This is no longer enough to gauge how a campaign influences consumer purchase intent. Brand research can provide the tangible insights that deliver a real understanding of how consumers truly feel about a brand. This information can then be used to reshape both targeting and creative strategies - and ultimately drive better marketing outcomes.
When used in a systematic way, here’s how brand research can take your media strategy to the next level:
1. Use real-time insights to boost campaign success
Travel brands spend millions of advertising dollars each year and continue to struggle with ROI attribution. The nature of travel advertising makes it increasingly difficult to measure campaign effectiveness - a consumer exposed to a travel ad may not travel to that destination for months or even years.
Brand research can uncover consumer sentiment towards an active campaign in real-time. This means that travel marketers can find out exactly which elements of their campaign have the most impact on how consumers feel about a particular travel destination.
In a recent study for a tourism client, we were able to identify a previously untapped traveller segment with a very unique customer journey. This meant that the targeting scope was broadened in subsequent campaigns and overall campaign conversion rates increased significantly.
In a highly competitive market, being able to reduce media wastage and make better decisions about budget allocation is critical.
2. Ask the right people
In order to have the highest impact, the right depth of research is required. Talking to a diverse range of consumers is the only way to achieve an unbiased result.
This approach really paid off for one of our clients in the education space. Their campaign strategy targeted men in the building industry, so they served 90% of media impressions to a male audience. While the campaign was running, our analysis found that campaign engagement and conversion rates were much higher in women. Further research found that many of the male builders’ female partners were engaged in support work for the business - including researching which courses were required to upskill in the building sector.
As a result, our client shifted the remaining budget towards a female audience and saw conversions increase dramatically. These critical insights gave them the opportunity to rethink their targeting strategy and act on it in real-time with quantifiable results.
3. Understand spend versus impact
Brand research is the most effective way to help marketers optimise their media spend. This doesn’t just mean spending on the right channels or on the right segments – it can also mean making sure overall spend is funneled in the most effective way and reflects the required key performance indicators.
One recent utilities client used a $30k/month budget to target consumers nationally. Our brand research found that the media budget was spread too thin for what the campaign was hoping to achieve. By changing the geographical parameters to focus on more densely populated areas across the eastern seaboard, it allowed for a more concentrated budget allocation, and therefore, driving better results.
The research empowered our client to secure additional budget, which was then used to target the remainder of the target audiences. The result? Key brand metrics significantly improved across the areas of brand awareness, ad recall and purchase intent.
It’s clear that brand research plays a critical role in the formation of an effective media strategy. Without it, budgets can clearly be misused, or worse still, blatantly wasted. It eliminates the guesswork and provides a proven way to get the most out of digital advertising. Brand research makes it possible to pivot based on real-time insights, before progressing too far down the line with media spend.
Anna Meiler is Head of Sales & Marketing at Pureprofile.