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October 2018

Using Search to Measure The Impact of Above the Line Brand Advertising Campaigns

At Brainchild we are commonly part of a larger team tasked with launching brand advertising campaigns using channels such as television, print, radio or outdoor. The challenge is demonstrating the impact of these campaigns on Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) such as leads and revenue.
One approach is to attack the problem from multiple angles using search.
To do this consider the following tactics:
1) Benchmark overall organic search traffic for the 90 days prior to the brand campaign launch.  If the  campaign is running in distinct DMAs or geographies, further segment by the areas where the campaign will air. Since advertising would probably generate searches for a particular brand, the home page of the brand's website can serve as a proxy for a landing page. Using the home page is also necessary since 99% of organic search keywords are not available in Google Analytics data. 
2) Benchmark total organic clicks, impressions, CTR (click through rate) and position for a "market basket" of the top branded queries (e.g.; brand name + model car) for 90 days before the campaign launch. This data can be pulled from the Google Search Console, one of the few places where you can get keyword level data. This data cannot be segmented by geography but will be indicative of any pre/post changes. 
3)  Benchmark the full list of landing pages from organic search traffic for the 90 days before the campaign launch. Further segment by any geographies as indicated above. 
4) Consider running a paid search campaign in test markets one week before the launch of the brand campaign. Include at a minimum, the five most popular branded queries set to exact match.  This would provide a data set to compare to the data coming out Search Console, and would allow you to be sure you could accurately measure a lift in branded queries post brand launch.  Also put that same branded campaign live in a non-test market as a control over the same time periods.  Paid search also is immune to any algorithm changes that could affect organic search data.
Data would be analyzed for all of the above pre and post brand launch in order to measure any corresponding lift in traffic, click through rates and revenue. If available, data from the same time period can be used for any required seasonality adjustments.