How to measure a successful campaign

Is your ad helping or damaging your brand? After seeing your ad, do viewers like your brand more? And do they then purchase that product or service?

We will show you our method for answering these questions by using three examples of ads which critics from the Advertising Execution section of the Médiář website ranked among the TOP TEN of 2019. Here in our research agency, we are not so interested in whether the ads are funny, creative, or film-driven. We took at the data. All we want to know is if these ads are working?

Are sales rising with the campaign?

In an ideal world, companies would test whether a certain idea fits them well. Then they would bring that idea to life and test it as a finished project. Only then would they launch the ad on all forms of media, watching closely just how much their sales data have risen. The only problem is… this process comes with a very inherent challenges.

First off, campaigns come with inertia, and sales results aren’t written until the month after the given ads have stopped interrupting ironing housewives from their regularly-scheduled soap operas. And how can a company find out in time if these viewers were then so annoyed with the ad that they would rather avoid purchasing anything from that given brand in the supermarket? Or, on the contrary, if it would be advisable for that company to put more money straight into what turned out to be the most ingenious ad spot of all time? And what if the company’s goal is not just to “sell more”, but to address a new target group of customers or change its image? What then?

The answer is found in taking a look at the more gentle of behavioral indicators.

What is going on in the human brain?

The human brain needs to make hundreds of decisions a day. It is only capable of comparing approximately three alternatives at the same time, and even performing this action costs a large amount of glucose. This is why we attempt to reduce our cost and exertion to some extend. At times when they’re not actually needed, conscious analytic processes (slow thinking) aren’t even engaged at all. Instead, the brain quickly reaches into the subconscious for a already prepared solution (fast thinking).

Have you noticed that brands never argue? The Red Bull team doesn’t use a table of ingredients to explain to its customers that its energy drink contains (just an example) 33.35 ml more “butt kickers” than their competitors’ cans. Instead of this tactic, Red Bull plants symbols into our brains. “It gives you wings.” Adrenaline, extreme sports, energy. You know the brand’s colours and logo. And that is the exact reason why, as your eyelids are started to droop when driving late at night from Brno to Prague on the D1 motorway, you stop at a petrol station and reach straight for one of their drinks. Even if there are other drink options there, your mind is already made up.

The decision-making process had already played out in your subconscious. That’s how things go in 95% of purchasing situations. These decisions aren’t being made at random, however, a few rules do apply when it comes to the subconscious.

The holy trio of subconscious rules

Scientists have described dozens of behavioral effects with the help of experiments. There are, however, three key rules for measuring the effectiveness of a campaign. How exactly do we work with them when measuring a campaign?

Efekt dobrého pocitu - Výhody a rizika nabídky vnímáme podle toho, jakou cítíme spontánní emoci.

We compare the strength of the positive emotion people touched by the campaign have associated with a given brand.

Efekt kontrastu - Lépe si pamatujeme věci, které vyčnívají.

In order for a campaign to be successful, the target group needs to see it as being distinct; it needs to capture their attention. We measure whether the target group was captivated by a given concept, and how many people even noticed the campaign at all.

Efekt snadného zpracování - Věci, které náš mozek snázee zpracuje, se nám líbí více.

A campaign that helps a brand is understandable and clearly linked to the given brand (thanks to its symbols). Which is why we have people match a campaign to the brand, where we then measure that campaign’s actual reach.

Indicators we pay attention to

What impact can a campaign have on the strength of a brand? It can change the awareness of a brand, meaning people actually begin to notice it. A campaign can change the emotion felt towards the brand; people start to like the brand. It also changes the salience; the brand spontaneously comes to people’s minds when they’re in a purchasing situation, which translates to them choosing that brand over others.

For every campaign, we also follow its reach and ability to captivate. In other words, the number of people who saw the campaign and are then able to correctly match it to the brand.

You don’t necessarily have to like a brand for it to come to mind when you’re looking to buy something. Example: Alza. You hate their little green mascot, but when you want to buy a phone, the contrast and easy procession of emotions prevail, meaning you automatically go to the Alza website.

The individual indicators usually (but not always) follow each other in this way:

1.

I have to know the brand

Awareness

2.

I like
the brand

Good feeling

3.

The brand comes to mind

Salience

4.

I buy something from this brand

Clientele

Let's talk about the following advertisements:

This wouldn't happen to you on a train

Finally, a normal insurance agency

This wouldn't happen to you on a train

Czech Railways (České dráhy): known by pretty much everyone, and understandably so. Yet, almost no one likes them.

Emotion

14% very positive,
38% positive

Salience

the brand spontaneously comes to mind

Awareness

no point in calculating this for Czech Railways

We ride the train all the way from enthusiasm to boredom

The video immediately captures viewers within the first few seconds, as Ondřej Vetchý is seen unsticking his sleepy face from the foggy window. It is entertaining, and almost one third of viewers want to see more. The only problem is… the viewers would never even guess that the climax of the ad has already come and gone. They laugh at the jokes about the “Parenica cheese”, the way the police officer says “get out of here”, and the “breakfast” one-liner at the end. However, these moments are not the high point. And yet, overall, the video leaves one third of viewers feeling happy, and another 42% said they liked the ad, which is a truly outstanding result.

The best case scenario would be if some powerful moment was still waiting for the viewers at the end of the ad, so they can associate a positive emotion with the slogan and brand, which are shown in the last shot.

Czech Railways - Check the Results!

All the indicators unequivocally say: This is a good campaign! People’s interest was captured, they associated it with the Czech Railways brand, and those who saw the ad now like this domestic transportation company a little bit more.

Contrast effect

number of people who saw the campaign and remembered it

Easy to process

people who saw the video and were able to match it to the brand

Impact

+6% positive emotion towards the brand,
+ 18%
salience

So... what were the symbols?

Let’s take an even deeper look at the individual symbols seen in the ad. Brand symbols can be a lot of things: a slogan, a well-known face, the environment, a melody, a colour, a smell, a shape, a logo… A symbol could pretty much be anything. For instance, Air Bank’s symbols include the bright green colour and the actor Tomáš Měcháček. We recognize McDonald’s at first glance thanks to its two yellow arches, and we can match Alzák to the brand without hesitation just by hearing his voice.

An ideal symbol is one that only belongs to one brand (contrast), it is known by a large number of people, and people like the brand more because of it.

People are successful in matching the slogan, “This wouldn’t happen to you on a train”, with the brand. Plus, the one-liner has improved how they feel toward the otherwise unpopular Czech Railways. The slogan symbolizes the fact that trains are more comfortable, you get both a pillow and breakfast, and you get to relax because there’s nothing for you to take care of. We recommend sticking with the slogan in other campaigns. The fact that they even managed to come up with some funny jokes is a good bonus, but they don’t really have an effect on the emotions associated with the brand.

CONCLUSION: We are in complete agreement with the experienced writers over at Médiář; no matter how you slice it, this was a great campaign. People liked it, they are able to match it to the brand, they remember the slogan, and, most important, it helped to improve the brand’s likeability.

TIP from us: One more joke would fit well at the end, something that boosts the good emotions right as the slogan and brand name appear. This would help to deepen the ad’s overall effect. Even though people really like the actor Ondřej Vetchý in this role, he doesn’t work as a symbol because we already have his face cemented in our minds as the Vodafone guy.

Finally, a normal insurance agency

The insurance agency Direct has been on the Czech market among powerful competition since 2007. The agency isn’t very well-known. The people who are able to recognize the brand, however, are building a good feeling towards it.

Emotion

6% very positive,
19%
positive

Salience

the brand spontaneously comes to mind

Don't know the brand

You see the products, but there's no emotion there

We didn’t measure these short product videos the same way we would with other ads. They are simple, straightforward, but even the most sensitive of people don’t feel any type of significant emotions toward the brand or ads. For these reasons, the test results were completely flat. We just showed pictures of the campaign (the storyboard) to the respondents and continued on as usual.

Finally, a normal ad?

The largest issue is the conversion rate. One fifth of people registered the video, but only 6% of them were able to match the ad to the brand. The area where the ad did succeed is in awareness: if it wasn’t for this ad, practically no one would even remember what Direct is.

Contrast effect

number of people who saw the campaign and remembered it

Easy to process

people who saw the video and were able to match it to the brand

Impact

+17% positive emotion towards the brand,
+ 24% salience

Symbols – Normal, cheap, online insurance agency

It is difficult to find any symbols in the animations. The slogan is the most distinct: “Finally, a normal insurance agency”, and it is more or less unique. It doesn’t, however, do the most important thing – improve the emotion felt towards the brand. This is because the formula is basically empty. What exactly is a “normal insurance agency”? What can I expect out of a “normal insurance agency”? Are you unsure? Don’t worry, so are we. On a symbolic level, this message is illegible for our brains.

In addition, only the components of Direct’s products are shown in the ad: arranging your insurance online and a contract without a hitch. These are things that pretty much any insurance agency could promise its customers, meaning Direct is unable to stand out in people’s minds from the other agencies in the industry.

CONCLUSION: It’s here that we disagree with out colleagues over at Médiář, who gave this campaign the fourth spot out of ten on its TOP TEN list. Albeit the campaign improved the brand’s score a little, the overall effectiveness, at least in terms of the indicators we are looking for, was practically non-existent.

TIP from us: The ad needs more symbols, which will help this small brand stand out amongst its strong competition and do more to speak to our subconscious, telling us that Direct is able to help us like no one else can.

Slow is the way to go

Royal Crown Cola: this brand underwent a monumentous rebranding in 2018. It’s by no means a masterpiece, but it has its fans.

Emotion

6% very positive,
16%
positive

Salience

the brand spontaneously comes to mind

Don't know the brand

Contentment, well-being, and tobacco from America's south

After the first few seconds, the ad immediately captured the attention of one fifth of people. Their enthusiasm, however, slooooowly began to wane from lukewarm interest to mild boredom. Viewers are brought in from the start by the atmosphere, the contentment, and well-being, yet they inevitably begin looking in other directions after awhile. When the video’s finale then hits the screen, some viewers even commented by saying: “finally, it’s over”. It’s right at this moment, however, that fireworks of emotion, catharsis, laughter, or tears should be going off, so the viewers are then able to recall the slogan and brand. And yet, the brand did manage to arouse enthusiasm in 19% of viewers and another 41% liked the ad, which isn’t bad at all. Actually, it’s quite good!

If you don't love it, case closed

Even though the ad’s reach wasn’t the largest, it did bring a moderate increase to the positive emotions felt towards the brand. For a brand that was relatively unknown by most consumers, the campaign was successful in significantly pushing salience for the brand upward. This translates to a higher number of people thinking about the brand when they are in the mood for a sweet, caffeinated drink.

Contrast effect

number of people who saw the campaign and remembered it

Easy processing

people who saw the video and were able to match it to the brand

Impact

+4% positive emotion towards the brand,
+40% salience

The Royal Crown name isn't very processable for people. Not many Czechs are able to write the name in English correctly, which is an understandable setback. Our energy-saving minds don't like subjects that force it to overthink.

Symbols - the American south, where slow is the way to go

The symbols of the southern environment and atmosphere are quite original. RC Cola took the bet that “the best path doesn’t always have to be the shortest”. And the distinct style of the ad works to some extend. Both the American south and the slogan “slow is the way to go” are sufficiently contrasting associations, which no other cola or soda brand on the market is using, meaning no one is there to pull the attention away. However, another reason there is no fight over these symbols is that they practically aren’t helping to improve the emotions felt towards the brand in any way.

We then have to ask ourselves: what is the business goal of this brand? The goal for Kofola, for example, is to act as a complimentary product, an alternative. They most likely don’t have the ambition to force Pepsi or Coca-Cola out of the drink fridge. A graph that would only show the target group would then come out looking significantly more favourable. Even though we measured these brands for the Contagious Starter 2020 conference, but never for the actual brands themselves, we lack the necessary data for further analysis.

CONCLUSION: The campaign does well to work with a challenging component – implementing the environment as a brand symbol. So far, RC Cola has been successful in this. Overall, most people like the ad and it is most likely the cause of even more positive emotions felt toward the brand, at least within the target group.

TIP from us: One more distinct element should be added, apart from the environment and slogan. Maybe a well-known face would help.

The conclusion for all conclusions

If we were to rank these three ads in the Behavior Honour List, we would switch up the order. Czech Railways, Royal Crown Cola, and then the Direct insurance agency. It is here we slightly come to a crossroads with the experts from Médiář, but, otherwise, we have nothing but good to say – every campaign was successful!

Our Director of Research, Vojta, spoke about on how we measure campaigns at Data Breakfast:

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