Proof by Lucid: Tracking Brand Awareness in Real Time

“Cross-media measurement” is something we hear a lot, and it’s the sweet spot for our Proof product suite. Generally, though, this refers to digital media measurement only, and a great marketing mix goes further than that. We used Proof to look at measuring brand awareness generated by live event spend and placement.

Historically, events have been something of a black hole for marketing measurement. Brand lift is usually measured by some combination of viewership (if it’s streamed or broadcast), on-site attendance, and post-event surveying.
The Proof team wondered what kind of data you could get during an event with access to a large enough data platform. So we started with a televised live sports game with some brand exposure, a little thing they called Super Bowl 50.

We chose eighteen brands – a mix of perennial super-brand advertisers with first-, second-, and third-time Super Bowl advertisers. The companies ranged in size – from Pepsi and Doritos to Squarespace, Bai, and WeatherTech.
We surveyed 100-200 people every 15 minutes – totaling about 3000 people by game’s end – measuring their awareness of each of these brands. The results were very clear and consistent, providing both validation on real-time event measurement for brands, and some surprising insights.

Our takeaways:

Most interesting for Super Bowl advertisers: It’s easy to assume that smaller brands would see huge lift directly following the airing of an ad. This turned out not to be true. In fact, brand lift during the Super Bowl was not immediate. Smaller brands retained and actually grew mindshare over periods from 90 minutes to over two hours- good news for first-time advertisers with great creative.
Outerwear brand Marmot went from a pre-game brand awareness score of 14% to a high of 27.8%, and held this awareness well – by the time Peyton Manning was deflecting retirement questions, Marmot brand awareness was 23.8% – still a lift of nearly 10%. Brand lift started after the ad aired and steadily increased, peaking nearly two hours post-spot. Marmot was one of the more praised spots, by consumers and ad peeps alike – creative matters!

Second-time advertiser Avocados from Mexico saw a nice move from a pre-game 48% brand awareness to a high of 55 percent. Again, this high point in brand awareness happened more than 90 minutes after the “Avocados in Space” ad aired. At game end, Avocados held at about 50% awareness.

We don’t know how this “slow growth” works, but we’ll definitely be analyzing it as we push the possibilities of real-time human answers at scale.

It’s not surprising that well-known brands would see only slight lift at best; there’s already broad awareness and the baseline is high. These brands do see some very small immediate lift from Super Bowl spots as opposed to the longer impact curve of lesser-known advertisers.
First-time advertiser PayPal saw a tiny 1% awareness increase immediately post-ad, and Doritos, with a 93.4 percent awareness average through the game, saw slight bumps of 2 to 3 percent after each of their two commercials. Super Bowl sponsors Pepsi (with a huge presence at halftime) and Budweiser (airing multiple spots for Bud and Bud Light) maintained very steady brand awareness, with Bud at 90.7% average awareness and Pepsi at 92.2%.

A note, and cautionary tale, here: your own creative can also take you down. Squarespace, with its third-year spot starring Key & Peele, saw a pre-game awareness of 29.8% move only slightly, to 31% at game’s end.
In contrast, sophomore advertiser, a competitor to SquareSpace, did see a bump from its ad. awareness averaged 24% prior to the ad’s airing.  In the 45 minutes after’s ad aired, awareness rose steadily, cresting at 30.6% one hour-post-ad.
in the consumer responses collected, people who named the ad as one of their favorite ads referred to it by name as “the ad”. With Squarespace, the majority of game watchers citing the ad remembered stars Key & Peele and didn’t mention Squarespace by name. The creative obscured the Squarespace brand (and indeed, the branding is very low-key in the spot overall).

In this infographic, you can see the brands cited in this article, as well as the airing times of the most talked-about Super Bowl spots (Mountain Dew “Puppymonkeybaby”, Heinz’s wiener dogs, Honda’s singing sheep) and see a clear picture of rising and falling awareness – all measured during the event.
Proof by Lucid Super Bowl 50

To conclude…it IS possible to measure brand lift during an event, in real time. The Proof team had this data by the time the Broncos broke out the champagne.
Four million people streamed the Super Bowl this year, which made surveying easier, but 60% of respondents were on mobile devices. The world of measurement is mobile now; we’re confident we could easily have measured a non-televised event or a televised one which was not streamed.

(Some notes on methodology here: This is an early “Lucid Labs” look at the measurement of brand activity during live events, intended to help us understand what is possible. For a non-internal study we’d use a significantly larger sample. There is most definitely a margin of error in terms of exact numbers with this size study. However, across all eighteen brands we surveyed, we saw the same trends as are highlighted above.
Lucid and the Proof team are committed to pushing the boundaries of research technology and to constantly improving the direct consumer information available to brands. We do a lot of experiments. While these are interesting early findings, they not conclusive and are not presented as actionable; the great thing here is that we do see a real path to adding even more platforms to cross-media measurement.)

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