Brand Awareness campaigns on Facebook – 7 things you need to know

Building GREAT Brand Awareness campaigns is difficult. Many brands struggle with strategy, creatives and not being able to report the impact of such activities. The measurement part is particularly tricky as the effects of our marketing campaign is not easily measurable. In this article, I will help you with this. We will start with planning, then discuss targeting and creative to finish it off with great examples of ads. By the end of this article, you will understand how to build brand recognition, trust, and familiarity with Facebook. Let’s start!

What is Brand Awareness?

To understand the key elements of Brand Awareness, first we need to make it clear what it is.

Brand awareness, in short, is audience familiarity with your name, symbol, and logo. To give you an example, if I talk about Apple, do you know what company I am talking about? Could you distinguish Apple products from Samsung? Could you tell me what values are driving Apple? Making sure your audience knows the answer to these questions is the basis of Brand Awareness.

Campaigns with the objective of increasing brand awareness are mostly optimized towards reach. This means we want to show our message to as many users as possible. A very simple way of measuring brand awareness is by doing surveys in which we ask users «Which of these brands have you heard of?». The answers gives a percentage of users who recognize us. With the Brand Awareness campaigns, we try to increase this number. 

However, before starting brand awareness activities you need to think about a few key points.

Purpose: What does your brand stand for? What is the impact of your business?

Personality: How would you define your brand using human traits?

People: Who is your audience? Can you define them?

Promise: What can your customers expect from doing business with you? 

After replying these four questions with clear and thought out answers you are ready to move to the next part.

How to select the best Facebook campaign objectives for brand awareness

Knowing your options is the base of successful campaigns. Facebook gives you several objectives that you can use to optimize your campaign. Let’s talk about all of them in terms of Brand Awareness.

Reach objective – with this type of campaigns facebook will try to reach the maximum number of users in your budget. I recommend adding frequency capping to this to obtain the best results. Viewing you ads once is often not enough. I recommend setting it to 3-4 per 7 days to get best results.

Brand awareness objective –  helps you reach the people that are «most likely to recall your ad». This is the definition straight from Facebook, however in practice can we with full confidence show our ads to people who are likely to remember it? I rarely use this objective because it lacks control over frequency.

Video views objective – uses facebook machine learning to get the most views for your videos. We can select which of the two delivery options we want to use ThruPlays or  2-Second Continuous Video Views. In Brand Awareness Campaigns I recommend using ThruPlays, as they are optimized to longer interactions with your video. Machine learning will try to get the most complete views for videos shorter that 15s and at least 15s viewed for longer videos.

Post engagement objective – with this objective facebook optimizes your campaign towards an audience likely to interact with your ad. The objective here is to get more Page likes, event responses, or post reactions, comments or shares.

When planning the ad objective take into consideration the Estimated Ad Recall Lift metrics. It measures how many people would remember seeing your ad if facebook asked them within two days. It must be underlined that this is an estimated metric and not a real survey sent out to users. This metric will only appear with objectives 2), 3), 4), we cannot get the data for «reach» campaigns. You can read more in Facebook support.

How to target your audience

Planning a brand awareness campaign is the easiest part of the equation. As mentioned in the user acquisition funnel guide, the most important thing is excluding people who already know your brand. 

For this to work properly, you need to have a few audiences set up:

  1. User who visited your website
  2. Users who engaged with your page
  1. Users who engaged with your instagram profile
  1. Customer list

When we have all these audiences created we can go ahead and plan our campaign. The ists that we just created will be used as exclusions in the targeting phase.  

Before you start please take a minute to think about you audience and explore their interests with Audience insights. Although if our list is too small, we will not get a lot of data. Event if facebook is not helpful we still can create a user persona.

  1. Who is your audience? Demographics like age, gender.
  2. Where are they located?
  3. What are their interests?
  4. What tone will they understand? Formal or informal?
  5. What devices are they using ? Desktop or mobile and what brand?
  6. Which type of content do they interact more with? What content is used by your competitors?

When you answer these questions you already have an idea of how to approach this topic. The next step is setting this up in the Ads Manager and excluding the audiences mentioned earlier. This is what we call a Fresh Traffic / Prospecting / Cold Traffic campaign. The goal here is to reach audiences that did not have contact with your brand.

Creating powerful ways to engage your audience with Creatives and ad formats

To create powerful and impactful experiences for your audience you need to keep one thing in mind – Stop the scroll. This is a statement, I read somewhere and I completely agree. We are overwhelmed with interesting content on the internet. The algorithms of facebook and other social platforms are optimized to keep us engaged with the app. We as advertisers need to create content that will stand out and stop the scroll.

Creatives can be classified as focused on product and focused on brand. As you have guessed, in brand awareness campaign we focus on the latter. However, you cannot just slap your logo on an aspirational image and say it is fulfilling its purpose. There additional aspects of creatives to consider.

Let’s start with best practices recommended by the social platform

  • Use high-resolution images – this is a no brainer, dont upload 200x200px images, they will not get accepted. Facebook encourages high quality imagery.
  • Show your product or brand. People scroll through Feeds and lose interest quickly, this is why it’s important for a brand to show from the start what you are about. Design your creative creating interest from the first look.
  • Avoid too much image textremember the 20% rule
  • Preview your ads – before publishing, you have the possibility to review your ads in different formats to see if the message is appropriate. 

Some time ago facebook conducted a study regarding driving brand awareness. There are several interesting points that I think you should also take into account when preparing creatives:

  • Focal point : The image has one obvious focal point
On the left an ad from Miles & Louie with 1 focal point, on the right an ad from Paese Romania, without one focal point.
  • Brand link : How easy is it to identify the advertiser?
Razer and Tommy Hilfiger both use specific colors in their ads in order for the client to easily identify the advertiser.
  • Brand personality : How well does the ad fit with what you know about the brand?
  • Informational reward : Does the ad have interesting information?
I wanted to use these ads from Bose to illustrate brand personality and informational reward. Both of these points come into play with the presented creatives.

  • Emotional reward : The ad appeals to you emotionally
  • Noticeability : While browsing online, this image would grab your attention
Another example from the headphone market. This time Jabra grabs our attention from the first frame and give us an emotional connection to the people working out. We can feel that what they do is difficult but Jabra is their product of choice.
  • Call to action : This ad urges you to take a clear action. In terms of call to action I always think it’s better to include it than not, but the decision is up to you.

While I think this study is interesting, I want to point out it is based on users scoring the creatives and can be biased. Even if the study has some potential flaws, I think their findings are correct. Here are the two most important conclusions from my point of view:

  1. Objective is important. Direct-response advertisers achieved higher call to action while brand-focused advertisers scored higher on brand link, emotional reward and noticeability. 
  2. Focus should change based on objective – Top performers for online conversions focused on either the product (informational reward and call to action) or on the brand (brand link and brand personality).

With this in mind let’s discuss also additional point to consider when designing your creatives:

  • Design with device in mind – for Instagram stories you have 1080px by 1920px to use (aspect ratio of 9:16). Use the space that Facebook gives you! Don’t use your creatives made for landscape mode.
  • Consider keeping the user inside facebook’s ecosystem – One incredibly important factor is, when you create campaigns for mobile the user never leaves Facebook’s apps. People flow eseamlessly between Facebook and Instagram and WhatsApp. This is a very powerful feature that you also need to consider. If you design this correctly you will not have problems with page speed, pop-ups asking the user if they want to continue or other friction potins.

As for formats this page from facebook has a great overview of all the formats available. 

What to say in brand awareness campaigns 

A picture is worth a thousand words. This saying should be your main focus when designing brand awareness campaigns.

As this is the first step of the funnel I would ask the user to «purchase» and neither would I ask them directly for their email. First of all get noticed, then make the user «discover» our brand on his own. As he will get familiar with the brand, website or instagram account we will be able to reach him again with an offer. 

In this phase focus on your brand. Who we are. What are we about? What are we selling? How can we help? To whom are we talking? What are our values?

I really like the ad shown below. It does not have a direct call to action. It just shows the product and relays the message, and it’s enough to get noticed.

The is no one formula for your creatives. Below I wanted to share some ideas what can you say in the campaign:

  1. Say what you are about – what are your values, what makes you unique
  2. Show how you impact your clients life – how our product can change your life
  3. Provide social proof or use clients testimonials – use user generated content to prove your product works
  4. Entertain the audience – become something memorable
  5. Be emotional – establish a connection with your audience
  6. Problem, Agitate, Solution (PAS) – create the problem and a solution in the same ad.

Measuring brand awareness with facebook

Measuring brand awareness campaigns is not simple. We cannot always directly connect an impression of an ad with future purchases. Below I wanted to present a list of metrics that you should check when running a brand awareness campaign.

  • Post Engagement – can be a like, a comment, link click or share. Basically any action connected with a particular post. There is also a metric called cost/post engagement, which also helps you to determine the success of your creatives.
  • CTR – the higher the click-through rate the better your ad resonates with your audience. We can measure two CTRs: All clicks and Link clicks. The former is measuring «interactions inside the ad», the latter is measuring «outgoing clicks». Both are relevant and should be measured. 
  • Conversion Rate – how well does your creative convert. It can be a purchase conversion or a landing page view. Select one metric and don’t change it between the compared campaigns.
  • Cost Per Click — you should check this metric always and optimize it to be as low as possible.
  • Cost Per Thousand Views (CPM) — tell you how much are you paying for reaching a thousand users. The lower the better. 
  • Ad Reach and Frequency — this metric tells the story of how many users saw your ads and how many times they saw it, in the selected timeframe.
  • Estimated Ad Recall Lift (People) – is the estimate of the number of additional people who may remember seeing your ads, if asked, within 2 days. This metric is only available for assets in the Brand awareness, Post engagement and Video views Objectives.
  • Video Views – can tell us how many people saw our ads. Is available with video creatives.
  • Facebook likes / Instagram Follows – write down the number of users following your page and see if after the brand awareness campaign how much did the number increase.
  • Traffic to your website – did the organic and direct traffic increase. This can be connected to your brand awareness campaign.

You can read more about measuring on facebook here.

The secret of successful campaigns

I presented a lot of different aspects of brand awareness campaigns, and I feel there is only one more thing to say. Test and learn. Every brand is different, every creative can have different results depending on the targeting. It is important to test your strategy, learn from it and optimize. The only one you should compare yourself to is yourself from yesterday. 

Ideate, plan, execute, report, optimize. 

This is the strategy of winning brands, make it your strategy!

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