5 Steps to Conducting an Ad Concept Testing Survey

We’ve all seen at least one advertisement that makes us wonder how much input real customers had in its development. 

It makes you wonder who signed off on it, and who they talked to while developing the ad concept.

My market research brain always makes me think, “Man, they could have really benefited from an ad concept testing survey.”

Don’t let this be you! Learn how and why conducting concept testing will set your marketing campaigns up for the best chance of success.

5 steps to conducting ad concept testing

Why Conduct Ad Concept Testing Surveys

Nowadays, it’s easy to think of an idea for an advertisement, streamline its development, and send it out into the world. We have everything at our fingertips!

Whether it’s through television, the Internet, or social media platforms, there are more ways than ever before to advertise to potential customers. 

That means a lot of potential revenue and even more customers!

But, like it always has been, patience is still key. 

It’s crucial that you test your ad concepts rigorously before giving final approval and sending them out to the public.

Learn more benefits of ad concept testing surveys in the video below.

5 Steps to Conducting Concept Testing

Whether you wish to do it in-house, or, as we would advise, outsource the project to a market research company, this section will guide you step by step through the process of conducting the perfect ad concept testing survey.

Step 1: Brainstorm 🧠

Looking to start off the process with something fun? How about brainstorming and getting together some ideas for your next advertisement?

Before you can start testing your concepts and getting feedback from customers, you need to first have some concepts to test!

Here’s a quick tip: Conduct some research when designing your ad concepts! If you already have some knowledge regarding customer opinions and perceptions while designing the ads, the easier it will be to get good feedback from testing the actual ad concepts later on.

Recommended Reading: Campaign Evaluation Surveys | How Today's Marketers Are Measuring Advertising Efforts

Step 2: Partner with a market research firm 🤝

Okay, you’re right, this step is technically optional.

But, if you heed our advice and decide to outsource this project to a third party, it’s important that you decide to work with a market research firm that has the proper background, experience, and capabilities to properly conduct an ad concept testing survey.

That’s why you’ll need to request a proposal from the market research firm and learn more about what their processes entail.

Understanding the firm’s customer reach, pricing structure, and timeline projections are all important aspects to consider when choosing a firm.

Our team is pretty passionate about brands partnering with a market research firm vs. a marketing agency when concept testing. 

Here’s why 👇👇

Step 3: Kick things off 🏈

After choosing your market research firm, you’re ready to get a kickoff meeting on the calendar.

At the kickoff meeting, the team from the market research firm will walk you through the expected timeline, go over your objectives and discuss your target audience for the project.

Another thing to keep in mind during this stage of the project is how you want to survey your target audience.

There are qualitative methods (like focus groups and in-depth interviews) as well as quantitative methods (like an online survey).

Each methodology has its pros and cons, and you’ll be able to consult with the market research firm on which one would be best for your project.

Step 4: Develop the survey and collect data ✍️

Developing the survey instrument is next on the list. After deciding on the methodology you wish to utilize for this project, you have to start thinking about which questions to ask to hit all of your objectives.

Typically, a market research company like Drive Research will draft the first round of your survey or discussion guide and wait for your approval before proceeding to the next step of programming online.

Make sure everything with the survey instrument looks good before moving forward - you could save your future self a lot of time and energy!

Sending the Ad Concept Testing Survey to Fieldwork

With an approved survey and a programmed version online, you’re ready to start fieldwork!

If you opted for the quantitative online survey, be sure to start by only sending your survey to a few respondents.

This allows you to make sure the survey is being understood by the respondents, and to make any necessary changes before sending it to the whole sample of respondents.

Step 5: Begin your analysis 📊

After you receive your desired amount of survey responses, you’re ready to close out fieldwork and begin analyzing the data to see which of your ad concepts took first place.

A word of caution: make sure you thoroughly examine the raw data before performing any sort of analysis.

If there are any responses that seem to be of poor quality, it could have an effect on the outcome of the data analysis.

In this final step, you’ll finally get what you’ve been looking for: the ad concept preferred by your customers and the rationale behind their decision.

If you’re working with an advertising and marketing research company, you’ll receive a file with the raw data, and a comprehensive report complete with an executive summary and recommendations.

Conduct an Ad Concept Testing Survey with Drive Research

Now that you’ve gone through the step-by-step process of conducting an ad concept testing survey, you’re ready to do it all on your own!

Do you feel like you need some help, or some guidance before taking on the endeavor yourself? Fear not, the experts at Drive Research are ready to help you find the perfect advertisement whenever you’re ready!

We are an advertising and PR market research company located in Syracuse, NY. Our team works with brands from across the country to administer ad concept testing surveys. 

Interested in learning more about our work? Reach out through any of the four ways below.


  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040


Devan Grant

Devan's love for learning serves him well as a market research professional. With two years of both quantitative and qualitative research in the healthcare space under his belt, he knows what it takes to answer some of the toughest market research questions.

Learn more about Devan, here.

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