Sparked by the rise of mobile, the worlds of performance and brand are converging. Consumer attention on mobile doesn’t differentiate between brand and direct response (DR) ads: Everything is a brand experience, and everything is about performance.

Many advertisers today struggle to balance short-term sales activation with long-term brand growth. And while both are critical to marketing success, traditionally these strategies have been viewed as distinct. Often performance marketing/DR and brand teams are in their own silos, with their own budgets and their own distinct—and perhaps conflicting—goals and priorities.

But advertisers who adopt the strategy of performance branding—driving performance outcomes while simultaneously building strong, consistent and memorable brands—can drive significant value and bridge the gap between brand and DR.

To better understand the connection between brand and performance marketing on Facebook, we partnered with marketing agencies in North America and Europe on a meta-analysis of 35 brand lift studies with 34 advertisers across 10 verticals. The research effort found there is a brand halo effect driven by performance media on Facebook’s platforms: Advertisers can measurably benefit by expanding their strategies to build their brands while DR is the primary goal.


The research found that Facebook platforms, due to their high audience engagement, help deliver holistic marketing value. Advertisers running DR campaigns can

Source: Facebook meta-analysis of 35 brand lift studies with 34 advertisers across 10 verticals (Sep 2018—Jan 2019).
© 2021 Facebook, Inc. May not be reproduced without prior express permission. All Rights Reserved. Best practice recommendations solely to help inform ad campaign strategies; not intended as a warranty or guarantee of results to be achieved. Marketing outcomes depend on a variety of factors and will vary.


Key to driving brand awareness through DR media is optimizing campaigns for mobile. Advertisers who build creative assets for mobile experiences see better performance across areas such as brand awareness, brand familiarity and ad recall.


In the study, 57% of the brands saw brand awareness uplifts for their competitors as well as for themselves. A key reason for this was lack of branding: In the absence of a distinctive, recognizable and mnemonic visual ID, the entire product category was lifted.

In other words, failing to showcase the brand identity benefits the most salient brand in the category more often than not.

This highlights why it is critical for advertisers to establish brand identity in their creative when seeking to build brand through DR campaigns. The branding—clearly embedding the name of the specific product in the consumer’s mind—is what will help promote the individual brand instead of the generic category.

Ensuring brand identity is especially important for:

  • Brands that are new and young to the market;
  • Brands in a crowded and competitive marketplace with strong established competitors.

Ultimately, the research shows that DR campaigns on Facebook can drive both performance outcomes and brand outcomes. But doing so effectively still requires good execution: To meet their goals, advertisers should pay close attention to how well-optimized their creative is for mobile and how clearly their branding is conveyed.

This post originally appeared on Facebook For Business (March 25, 2021).