The Future of Brand Lift Studies Is Brand Intender Rate

May 19, 2020

By Stephen Jepson

Golden Sikorka/

Actions speak louder than words, right? Traditional brand lift studies are valuable, but they fail to give brands a complete picture of their audience, or the impact of their marketing. Brand intender rate (BIR) is a new way to look at campaign performance and optimization. It’s a behavioral KPI that measures user behavior post-ad exposure, so brands can determine what tactics, channels, and messages are moving consumers down the path to purchase.

But for brand advertisers, measuring meaningful actions is challenging, because many behaviors take place in walled gardens. The ability to see beyond the walls — walls that are getting increasingly high, particularly as major players update their cookie and privacy policies — is critical to measuring BIR.

Relevant actions to measure include:

  • Search activity: after a user saw an ad, did they search for the brand or related info?
  • Website traffic: did the user visit the brand’s website?
  • Online shopping behavior: did they search or make a purchase on a site like Amazon, Target, or Walmart?
  • Social media activity: did they behave differently after seeing an ad on Facebook, or search for more information on YouTube?
  • Other third-party site activity: did they visit a relevant publication or service to obtain more information, such as Autotrader for the automotive space, or Fandango for movies?

These digital actions encompass the full customer journey, post exposure to advertising, and, in aggregate, comprise the brand intender metric: an assessment of a campaign’s ability to drive intent, as measured by action. Using this metric, brands can optimize their spend or media planning based on the partners that are driving the most behavioral brand intention, which are early indicators of business outcomes.

Measuring BIR also enables marketers to move beyond last-touch attribution models to paint a more accurate picture of the path to purchase, and to better understand what drives behavioral lift. Let’s say a user sees an ad on YouTube that piques their interest, so they go to their favorite search engine to seek out more information on the brand or product. Without tools for connecting the dots, the marketer will attribute the search behavior as organic lift only, rather than to the effective video ad.

BIR could be the future of "brand lift" measurement, and a key to running more efficient and effective advertising. But identifying intenders requires access to a fully permissioned, user-level database of digital behaviors. Most brands either don’t have the data to measure BIR, or they have it, but it comes from disparate sources and is hard to aggregate. To get to the truth, brands will need to obtain a single source data set — and the ad measurement landscape will need to develop tools for helping them get it.

Stephen Jepson is EVP of advertising effectiveness at DISQO.

The views and opinions expressed in Marketing Maestros are solely those of the contributor and do not necessarily reflect the official position of the ANA or imply endorsement from the ANA.

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