LONDON: Most marketers in the UK find it more difficult to measure the impact of branding than direct response and many lack confidence in the KPIs they are using, research has shown.

A study by Visual IQ – Branding Measurement in Today's Accountable World: A Tale of Two Marketers – surveyed more than 500 brand marketers across the US and UK and discovered a relative lack of accountability and confidence when it comes to measuring branding metrics such as "engagement".

Specifically, 71% of UK-based brand marketers said that branding metrics were very or extremely important to campaign measurement and optimisation.

But only one in five (20%) rated their organisation as being very good at measuring which combination of digital channels and tactics would produce the greatest lift in branding metrics.

When asked what obstacles they face when it comes to measuring brand performance, more than half (51%) of marketers said they lacked advanced measurement tools and/or methodologies, while 37% were unable to calculate a single engagement score metric.

"As branding initiatives don't necessarily result in conversion, measuring their success has always been far more tricky than with direct response tactics, as it's harder to link to real business outcomes" explained Vanessa Tadier, general manager/Europe, Visual IQ.

"The industry has significant work to do in addressing the challenge of accurately measuring the impact of branding initiatives," she added.

A failure to do so may have major implications for a brand, according to Les Binet and Peter Field, who have warned of the dangers of focusing on short-term effectiveness, something that is more likely with the range of measurements now available to direct response.

There has always been a tension between the short and long term, they wrote in Market Leader, "but it is now becoming a major threat", thanks to big data and quarterly reporting by public companies, and may even undermine a brand's long-term business success.

A long-term brand-building approach will take time to deliver its full benefits – longer than six months – but it will drive year-on-year efficiency improvements, they stated.

Data sourced from Visual IQ, Market Leader; additional content by Warc staff