Brand Awareness is the extent to which consumers are familiar with the distinctive qualities or image of a particular brand of goods or services.
Brand Awareness is also the state of consumers at the top of the sales funnel (link). Before they can purchase your product or service they must be aware of your brand.
Radio and TV ads, billboards, display marketing, and certain other digital advertising strategies can help raise brand awareness. However, sometimes brand awareness can be gained through publicity and word of mouth. Once someone is farther down the funnel, brand awareness campaigns can still be useful in securing their business.
When setting up digital ad campaigns, brand awareness is often one of the goal choices. When selecting brand awareness as a goal you shouldn’t expect any direct calls or sales from such an ad (unless your product is so incredibly good that just hearing about it drives people to the stores… and no matter how you good you think your product is, it’s not this good). These ads are laying a foundation for mid and bottom funnel ads. Spending ad dollars on brand awareness campaigns in isolation can waste a lot of money.