By Julia Baggott

While we tend to focus on conversions and the bottom line, upper funnel activity can be worth investing in. Find out more about Facebook’s Brand Awareness objective, and why it should be part of your full-funnel strategy.

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Often our focus, and our clients’, will be on lower funnel activity – the purchase, lead, or click that signals a completed user journey. However, focusing only on lower-funnel activity can be short-sighted, putting you at risk of exhausting audiences and choosing short-term success over sustainable long-term results.

To replenish these audiences, and continue feeding lower-funnel activity, you’ll need to invest some of your marketing in upper-funnel campaigns. One way to achieve this is with a Brand Awareness campaign, optimising towards users who are likely to remember your ad.

What is a Brand Awareness Campaign?

Brand Awareness campaigns optimise towards Estimated Ad Recall Lift (EARL). This is an approximated metric, which attempts to understand the proportion of users that you’ve reached that would remember your ad in two days’ time. While staying front of mind may be considered more valuable than a large reach or lots of clicks, as an approximated measure, it’s not perfect.

As well as being approximated, EARL is defined as ‘in-development’ – as the criteria that form the EARL score are subject to change, you should only compare Brand Awareness campaigns that happened at the same time. This can mean that it’s difficult to get a firm benchmark of what success looks like within a Brand Awareness campaign, as comparing campaigns from different time periods could mean comparing the results of two completely different calculations.

What is EARL measuring?

The EARL is based on a number of factors, primary dwell time: if User A typically spends 2 seconds on a post but spends 5 seconds on your ad, they’re probably taking it in. This method means that if a user typically spends a lot longer on posts in general, as we often see for older users, the algorithm won’t automatically infer their interest. For example, if User B typically spends 5 seconds on a post, and they spend 5 seconds on your ad, Facebook will assume a lower level of interest than User A.

In addition, Facebook incorporates more than a thousand signals, including the user’s likelihood of interacting with the ad, demographic characteristics, and the user’s relationship with the page. Finally, as part of full-scale Brand Lift studies, Facebook delivers thousands of polls to users, asking them whether or not they recall seeing an ad for a particular brand. This data is used to help Facebook understand what kind of ad users are likely to remember, forming part of your ultimate EARL score.

As a secondary KPI, EARL Rate is calculated as EARL divided by reach, reflecting the proportion of users reached that are likely to remember the ad. To measure the cost-effectiveness of your results, look at cost per EARL, and cost per thousand reached, both of which are available within the native interface.

Who should we be targeting?


Once you’ve built your Brand Awareness campaign, it’s time to work on audiences. Brand Awareness is relative to the reach objective at the top of the funnel, so targeting should be kept broad to achieve a wide reach. However, to avoid too much spend on users who are unlikely to be interested, try refining your audience slightly to increase your relevancy without sacrificing scale.

On one retail client, we overlaid a broad lookalike to previous purchasers to our interest-based targeting. This resulted in an average increase in EARL rate of 36%, and decreasing our cost per EARL by an average of 41%. In addition, with the ultimate goal of ecommerce, this meant that the users we were impacting were more likely to be potential future customers.

What should my creative look like?

Brand Awareness campaigns are a great example of the potential value in matching creative to your objective. While link ads are a mainstay of conversions campaigns, think about the factors that contribute towards our KPI, including dwell time and likelihood of interaction, and it’s clear that we might need something a little more creative. Look for interactive, attention grabbing formats – for example:

  1. Videos
    1. It’s not news that videos are more attention-grabbing than static images. The depth of storytelling enabled by videos allows your content to make a bigger impact, which will boost your EARL rate. If you don’t have video assets available, look at making your own through Facebook’s slideshow tool, or get in touch with our Creative team.
    2. Maximise your impact with asset customisation, using specific Story-sized assets – a Merkle Periscopix review found this to be the strongest placement for garnering Brand Awareness.
    3. As with video more generally, ensure that your brand is shown in the first three seconds, and that you’re prepared for users with and without sound.
  2. Instant Experiences
    1. Formally known as Canvas ads, Instant Experiences allow you to get creative – use a template or start from scratch, choosing elements to show off the best of your brand. By creating an ad that users want to explore, you’ll help them get to know the brand, and make it all the more likely that they’ll remember you.
    2. Instant Experiences are mobile-only – make sure you’re also running some desktop-friendly ads so no one’s missed.

Both videos and Instant Experiences have the benefit of being retargetable, with the option to create audiences of users who have engaged with your content. Include these audiences in your lower-funnel activity to encourage them closer to your conversion event.

How do I start?

Investing in your upper funnel activity through a Brand Awareness campaign can help to get your content in front of people who aren’t just going to see it or even click through, but who will remember your content. If you’re ready to start building your full-funnel strategy, why not get in touch with one of the team?

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