Insight April 3, 2018

How to Track and Measure Brand Awareness for Print Campaigns


Brand awareness is the extent to which customers are able to recall or recognize your brand, product or service. But when we talk about brand awareness, we’re really talking about the first step in building a relationship with potential customers. Relationships of any kind are built on trust — and people can’t trust you if they don’t know you.

So, what’s the best way to build brand awareness (and relationships) with your target audience?

What does the research show?

Looking to reach the millennial market? Don’t dismiss traditional media. In a study by Quad/Graphics, the data suggests that even though millennials are the most digital-savvy generation, they pay more attention to direct mail, retail inserts, catalogs, and magazines than digital/mobile advertising.

When you think about the sheer volume of email and digital ads, it makes sense that direct mail can cut through the noise. Imagine reading every email you receive every day. Seems overwhelming, right? What about the advertisements you receive in the mail? Does it feel a bit more manageable?

According to the one study, direct mail household response rate is 5.1 percent (compared to .6 percent email, .6 percent paid search, .2 percent online display, .4 percent social media). But response rates aren’t the only advantage of print.

Studies show that people are 70 percent more likely to recall a business seen in print compared with digital advertisements. The Centre for Experimental Consumer Psychology at Bangor University used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to prove that the brain perceives physical material to be more genuine. Thus, print creates deeper impressions on the brain. This allows you to create a lasting impression that increases brand awareness with your target audience.

How can you measure brand awareness campaign efficacy?

When it comes to digital marketing versus print advertising metrics, there is no comparison. The sheer volume of data available for digital marketers can make it seem like print campaigns are outdated and impossible to measure with any accuracy. But savvy marketers know that print is still one of the best forms of advertising for increasing brand awareness and engaging your audience.

Here are two ways you can track and measure your efforts:

  1. Use Unique URLs, Coupon Codes, or Contact Information

If your goal is to get customers to visit your website, make a purchase, or reach out for more information, it’s important to tie those actions to a specific advertisement.

  • Using a unique vanity URL will allow you to track web traffic tied to the ad.
  • Including a promo code won’t give you the total number of ad impressions, but it will allow you to track sales that result from the ad.
  • Setting up a single point of contact (unique email or phone number) for your print campaign enables you to track the unique number of responses.
  1. Monitor Sales and Advertising Mix

It might seem archaic, but one of the easiest ways to measure print ad effectiveness is to watch your sales. Monitoring sales before, during, and after an ad runs can tell you a lot about its effectiveness.

If you run an ad in the local newspaper and see a 100 percent lift in sales in the weeks following the ad, you know your print campaign is likely working. If your sales numbers don’t change, you know your ad was not as effective. This method works even if you use multiple forms of promotion, as long as you track your advertising mix (e.g., asking customers how they found out about your business and tracking that data).

Whatever medium you choose, customers are more likely to read, engage with, and recall your print advertisements. Don’t forget about digital, though. Integrated campaigns tend to be even more effective.