Data & Analytics

Using Lift Analysis to Measure Campaign Metrics


Even in today’s technology-obsessed culture, direct mail campaigns are still a go-to way for many marketers, brands, and businesses to advertise to consumers. And what’s more, they’re still effective. 

Wondering how you can measure the exact effectiveness of your own direct mail campaign? The answer is lift analysis—one of the best and most accurate ways of measuring the success of a direct mail campaign according to the metrics that matter most to businesses. In this guide, we’ll explore everything you ever wanted to know about using lift analysis to gauge the impact of your marketing efforts. 

What is Lift Analysis? 

If you’ve ever launched a promotional campaign for your brand or business, you might be familiar with lift analysis as a term. But what does it mean? What exactly is lift analysis?

To put it simply, lift analysis is the fairly straightforward process of tracking a given marketing campaign and gauging the success of its strategy. In lift analysis, success is measured by the amount of “lift,” or the percentage of increase, of a given metric during or at the end of a promotional campaign. 

When it comes to direct mail marketing, metrics that might be considered include:

Lift analysis is also a popular method of measuring the success of digital marketing campaigns, like email campaigns and in-app ads. In those cases, the analysis might also measure metrics like:

By comparing the actions of consumers who receive a specific marketing campaign with consumers who do not, lift analysis provides a reliable way to determine whether your direct mail, email, and ads are reaching consumers and converting them into customers.

How Does Lift Analysis Work for Direct Mail Campaigns?

Generally speaking, lift analysis works by comparing the performance of two groups of consumers, a control group and a treatment group, at various stages during and at the end of a specific advertising campaign. 

If you’re new to lift analysis, you may wonder: How do businesses know when a customer is responding to a specific direct mail campaign or when a customer is converting for other reasons? What can lift analysis tell you about your marketing efforts or campaign in particular? 

For a more in-depth look at lift analysis—including how exactly it works, how to use it, and what it can reveal about your campaign—let’s break down the process, step by step.

Step One: Establish a Control Group

Before you officially launch your direct mail campaign, you first need to establish a control group. The control group is composed of consumers who do not receive your mailed marketing materials. 

The people in the control group should represent a percentage of your target consumers, taken from your target list. In most cases, 10% is a good starting point but the exact amount may depend on the total potential audience. 

Control groups are an important part of any marketing strategy—but when it comes to how incremental lift analysis measures the success of a marketing campaign, they are absolutely crucial, as we’ll see later.

Step Two: Establish a Test Group

Working from your list of targeted consumers, you’ll then create a test group. The test group is everyone who receives your mailed promotion. 

In most cases, the test group will be larger than the control group, but the most crucial thing is that both the test and control group are fair, random groups of the same larger target population.

Step Three: Include an Incentive or Promotional Offer

The promotional offer is key when it comes to lift analysis. While tracking these promotions isn’t the most accurate measure of attribution, the incentive provided by your mailer can be one of the strongest factors driving a difference in response rate between the two groups.. 

The promotional offer should be unique to the campaign. You can: 

Step Four: Compare Groups

Finally, incremental lift analysis compares the performance of the test group with the control group to gauge the success of the campaign. Success is expressed according to two values:

Having a control group is crucial to this step, for it’s the only way to accurately gauge the incremental lift of your direct mail marketing campaign. This is because incremental lift analysis compares the conversion rate of your test and control groups. The results can help you decide whether the lift in conversions was worth the money you spent on the campaign itself.

Why Is Lift Analysis An Effective Measurement Tool?

When it comes to measuring the success of a direct mail campaign, lift analysis and multi channel attribution can give you an accurate idea of whether your advertising strategy is connecting with consumers and where from. By tracking performance metrics like conversation rate and ROI, you can better identify which strategies are most effective in increasing your sales.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. Here are some of the other reasons why lift analysis is an effective measurement tool:

Why Use Lift Analysis?

The longevity of direct mail marketing campaigns, in some form or another, speaks to their effectiveness. But recent studies also suggest the following benefits of direct mail marketing campaigns:

However, to experience these benefits for yourself, you need to be able to accurately measure the value of your individual campaigns. This is what makes lift analysis so valuable. It’s one of the best ways for brands and businesses to measure the success of their direct mail marketing campaigns—not just in the short-term, but in the long-term, as well.

Yes, lift analysis can give you crucial insights into the immediate results of your direct mail automation campaign, but it’s equally important to know how various campaigns perform over months or even years. Some long-term questions you can answer with lift analysis include: 

For Fully Personalized and Dynamic Direct Mail Campaigns, Choose Poplar

When it comes to measuring the success of direct mail marketing campaigns, lift analysis can be an incredibly valuable tool. But lift analysis can only tell you how well your campaign performs. Wouldn’t it be great if there were an equally simple way of designing and launching a direct mail campaign in the first place?

Fortunately, there is. With Poplar, you can create dynamic direct mail campaigns in minutes and track your campaign’s performance over time, all from our API-enabled, programmatic platform. Plus, after we help get your campaign off the ground, we’ll work with you to randomize a control group and use lift analysis to make sure you’re getting the most out of your campaign. 

With personalized campaign options, retargeting capabilities, and best-in-class pricing, we’re changing the game when it comes to direct mail marketing and making it easier than ever to get started. Isn’t it about time you took advantage of the opportunities direct mail marketing can offer your brand or business? Get started today, and experience the benefits for yourself, with Poplar.


1. Goodway Group. How to Measure Incremental Lift. 

2. Direct Mail is Hot Again. Here’s How To Use It.,times%20larger%20than%20email%20campaigns

3. Yellowhead. Incremental Sales.