Goodbye Cookies, Hello Brand Lift Studies: Measuring Ad Success

As the digital landscape evolves with the phase-out of third-party cookies, explore how brand lift studies offer a new, impactful way to gauge advertising effectiveness.
A woman with curly hair stands with her arms crossed, looking thoughtfully to the side. Surrounding her are icons of a thumbs-up, a recycling symbol, a heart and credit card, and an upward arrow, all set against a blue background.

Today, advertisers are confronted with a significant challenge – the forthcoming phase-out of third-party cookies. These data pieces have long been pivotal for measuring advertising success, tracking user behavior, and optimizing campaigns. However, as privacy concerns escalate and browser restrictions tighten, advertisers must seek alternative methods to assess campaign effectiveness. Brand lift studies have emerged as a viable solution, offering new ways to measure success in the absence of cookies.

The phase-out of third-party cookies

The digital advertising landscape is currently experiencing an ongoing phase-out of third-party cookies, driven by the increasing emphasis on user privacy and data protection. Google has said they plan to begin phasing out cookies in 2025. This transition aims to provide users with more control over their online data and limit invasive tracking practices. Advertisers now face the task of reevaluating how to measure success, optimize campaigns, and secure a meaningful return on investment. Brand lift studies have emerged as a powerful alternative for filling the void left by the dissipation of cookies. 

Understanding the benefits of brand lift studies

Brand lift studies serve to gauge how advertising impacts consumer perception, awareness, and sentiment toward a brand by comparing the behaviors and attitudes of exposed and unexposed groups within a target audience. Benefits include: 

  1. Holistic Assessment: Rather than fixating on the click-through rates and impression counts that have long been the bedrock of digital marketing, brand lift studies enable advertisers to measure the qualitative impact of their campaigns, shedding light on the emotional and psychological connections forged with audiences.
  2. Adaptive Measurement: Brand lift studies allow advertisers to tailor measurement strategies to align with campaign objectives, whether focusing on brand awareness, favorability, or purchase intent. These studies offer actionable insights to optimize advertising efforts accordingly.
  3. Unbiased Insights: Unlike cookie-based metrics reliant on online user data, brand lift studies provide impartial insights into campaign performance. By comparing the behavior and attitudes of exposed and unexposed groups within a target audience, advertisers can comprehend the actual impact of their advertising on brand metrics, ensuring more reliable, accurate measurements.
  4. Cross-Channel Analysis: Leveraging brand lift studies enables advertisers to evaluate the cumulative impact of campaigns across various channels, shedding light on the effectiveness of both digital and traditional media. This holistic view supports optimized budget allocation and aids in campaign decision-making.

PBS brand lift studies offer brand campaign measurement

PBS has addressed the challenge of measuring the effectiveness of cross-platform buys for PBS corporate sponsors by providing brand lift studies for clients who opt-in to this service. Through audience surveys before and after campaign launch, these studies assess the impact that a PBS sponsorship has on key metrics such as brand awareness, ad recall, brand favorability, and purchase consideration, enabling brands to gain a deeper understanding of PBS’s impact on their business. For one large mobile communication company, their brand favorability and purchase consideration doubled after their American Experience national corporate sponsorship ended.* 

Embrace change in the absence of cookies

As the advertising landscape evolves towards a future devoid of cookies, the adoption of brand lift studies presents an opportunity to refine measurement practices. By leveraging these studies, advertisers gain key insights into their campaigns’ impact on consumer attitudes and deliver more meaningful experiences to their target audience. 

Contact us to learn how a PBS national corporate sponsorship can lift up your brand. 

*KANTAR Media/SGPTV Viewer Attitudes & Behaviors Study, April 27 – May 16, 2020 (AMERICAN EXPERIENCE viewers vs. adults that don’t watch AMERICAN EXPERIENCE)

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