Youtube Brand Lift Study Tool for Your Advocacy Campaign

by The Campaign Workshop

YouTube Brand Lift

YouTube Brand Lift: Measure The Impact of Video Ads

Introducing the Youtube Brand Lift Study -Today, we’ll talk about a little-known but very powerful tool for advocacy campaigns - the Youtube Brand Lift Study. Standard metrics such as views and clicks are great ways to track how many people have viewed and interacted with your video ads online. However, they don’t always give you the best insight into how your ad campaign has impacted your target audience’s feelings towards your issue. That’s where YouTube’s Brand Lift can come in.

The Youtube Brand Lift Study is a free tool that allows you to measure the impact your video ad campaign has on consumers’ perceptions of and attitudes towards your brand - or, in this case, toward your specific issue.

How Does it Work?

In order to measure the impact of your ad, the Youtube Brand Lift Study randomly splits your target audience into two groups: an exposed group (who are served ads) and a control group (who are not served ads).

Then, Google calculates the “lift” by measuring two types of results: 

  • Survey answers: Soon after each group has (or hasn’t) been served your video ad, users will be presented with survey questions, which you will help select (more on this below).
  • Organic searches: Google will also track each groups organic searches for the issue after they have (or haven’t) been served the ad.

In both cases, the brand (or issue) “lift” from the video ad is the difference in responses between the two groups.

Choosing Your Survey Questions - Which Metrics?

When you create a Youtube Brand Lift Study, you have the option to ask anywhere from one to five questions. There are five categories of questions you can ask, each of which will measure a specific metric. The metrics and their associated questions will look something like as follows:

  1. Ad recall: Which of the following issues have you seen online video advertising for recently?
  2. Awareness: Which of the following issues have you heard about?
  3. Favorability: Which of the following issues do you care about?
  4. Consideration: Which of the following issues would you consider supporting?
  5. Intent to Vote: Next time you have to vote, which issue will you be most likely to support?

Although you can’t choose exactly how the questions will be phrased, you can decide which metric(s) you would like to be measured, as well as what the answer options are. For example, in 2017 we did a Brand Lift Study for DC Vote, an advocacy organization committed to achieving statehood for Washington, D.C. In this study, we measured ad recall and favorability. The survey questions & answers we used in the campaign are below:

Q: Which of the following issues have you seen online video advertising for recently? (ad recall)

  • Support DC Statehood (target answer)
  • Protect the Environment
  • Promote Tax Reform
  • None of the above

Q: Which of the following issues do you care about? (favorability)

  • DC Statehood (target answer)
  • Campaign Finance Reform
  • Eminent Domain
  • None of the above

In order to get the best results, Google suggests selecting answer choices of similar advocacy issues, such as “protect the environment.” This allows you to truly find out whether your ad has helped your specific issue stand out.


How Much and How Long?

The Brand Lift Study itself don’t cost money. However, Youtube does require a minimum spend, which varies by region and metric. Generally, minimum spend will vary from $3,500 for one question (to measure one metric) to $56,000 for five questions (five metrics).

In terms of runtime, the minimum is one week. However, it is recommended that you run your campaign for at least two weeks to get the best results.

How Do I Set It Up?

Once you have decided what metrics you would like to measure, your budget, and your runtime, it’s time for you to contact a Google rep, who will help you set up the study. It is important that you do this BEFORE turning your campaign live. Once a campaign has started, it is too late to start running the Brand Lift Study.


Analyzing the Results

After your ads have run on Youtube long enough for Google to collect statistically significant results, they will send you a Brand Lift Report. Here’s what the report will give you, and what you should focus on:


  • Executive Summary: The executive summary will provide you with your campaign’s reach and frequency, and most importantly, the percentage “lift” that was measured in each category that you measured. The results will also be accompanied with some broad comments and recommendations. For example, in our DC Vote Brand Lift Study, we saw that our ads provided over a 450% lift in Ad Recall and nearly a 30% lift in Favorability, both of which were marked as best in class according to Google’s standards. Because, in this case, the ad provided significant “lifts” on both metrics that we measured, Google noted that we have a powerful ad that we should ensure reach as wide an audience as possible.


  • Metric Highlights: There will then be a slide dedicated to each metric that you measured. In each slide, results will be broken down further by demographic, device, and exposure level. Google will then, again, give you recommendations based on these results. For example, in the DC Vote Brand Lift Study, we found that on the ad recall metric, females saw a higher lift than males after being served the ad. Thus, Google recommends creating an extra budget or increasing bids for the female audiences. Similarly, we found that our ads resulted in the largest “lift” when served to 18-24 year-olds, so Google recommended increasing bids and budgets for this age group to maximize our reach across this age group.

Got Questions?

Wondering whether a Youtube Brand Lift Study is the right tool for you? Have more questions on how exactly it works? Drop us a note!