How to Create Effective Supermarket and Grocery Store Ads

grocery cart icons all connected to each other

Supermarkets and grocery stores receive a large amount of in-person foot traffic.

And with over 60% of in-store shoppers open to buying a new brand, it makes them a prime audience for an effective advertising campaign.

That being said, there are many moving parts to creating successful supermarket and grocery store ads. Compelling ad copy, purposeful imagery, and a well-designed layout all play a role in capturing consumers’ attention.

To assure all elements of your marketing campaign work together, retail brands should first conduct market research to understand what branding truly resonates with their target audience.

Take for example a recent campaign evaluation survey Drive Research conducted for a Southern California grocery store. They were interested in testing the effectiveness of a specific product during the holiday season.

In this post, we’ll cover these key points of our study:

  • The client’s challenges and objectives
  • Our solution 
  • Research steps
  • Measuring the project results

Keep reading to learn how the supermarket leveraged the survey data to improve the ROI of the ad messaging.


The Supermarket’s Goal for Advertising 

Drive Research had partnered with the California supermarket on past projects. Therefore, we were already quite familiar with this client and their product offerings. 

Since we were already aware of the types of grocery store market research that worked with the retailer, we got a head start on the project. 

To learn more about the first project read, How to Survey Grocery Store Shoppers and Boost Retail Foot Traffic. 

The objective of creating an effective grocery store advertisement 

The store had multiple versions of a 30-second ad for a specific product, two holiday-themed, and two in English and Spanish. The supermarket wanted to measure the ad recall of recent campaigns, as well as gauge reactions to ads within that campaign. 

This kind of feedback is hugely important when businesses are testing out a new advertising campaign or creating one from scratch.

For instance, studies have shown that 70% of consumers appreciate and prefer ads that have a personal touch. A custom survey can determine if your target market shares the same sentiment, or showcase other factors that are most appealing to them.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Our client wanted to measure ad recall for a recent campaign to learn if it helped with awareness and recognition of a specific food product.


Our Solution 

Similar to the first market research study conducted with the grocery store, we recommended using a campaign evaluation survey.

The questionnaire would be sent to shoppers in the southern California area, as that is the target market for the client. 

This form of quantitative research aims to gather quick, measurable insights from a large group of targeted respondents.

For this reason, online surveys are one of the most popular types of market research methods, because it provides actionable statistics that are both cost-effective and quick to gather.

For other methodologies, watch our video 3 Market Research Options for Grocery Stores

💡 The Key Takeaway: While there are many options for grocery store market research, to meet the client’s advertising objectives we recommend utilizing a campaign evaluation survey with targeted shoppers.


Approach to Surveying Supermarket Shoppers

We held an accelerated kickoff meeting with the client, as this project was similar to the previous one we conducted for the supermarket. 

Getting right into it, we drafted a slightly updated survey, with varied wording to differentiate it from our last project and focus on the new product. 

After the survey was developed and approved by the client, Drive Research began to program the questionnaire and get it ready for fieldwork.

The survey was fielded using online panels among 1,000+ respondents in our California location. Quotas were set up to get an even amount of participants in each of the regions, based on the number of store locations.

For example, roughly over half of the store locations were in Los Angeles county. With that knowledge, we made sure over half of the respondents are from that area. 

It was very important to get this done soon after the campaign ended because we wanted to make sure we captured ad recall from the recent campaign. After going through fieldwork, we closed the survey and cleaned the data. 

Next, we jumped into the analysis and reporting. Much like our previous project with this client, we delivered a PowerPoint report that included key findings from the survey. 

💡 The Key Takeaway: The market research project included a kickoff meeting, survey design, survey programming, fieldwork, data cleaning, and reporting. With Drive Research executing the study in its entirety, the client was able to remain focused on day-to-day business objectives.


How the Results Helped Design the Supermarket Ads

In total, there were 1,074 respondents. The survey took around 5 minutes to complete and featured 30 questions. 

The survey helped drive decision making for future grocery store ads by answering questions such as:

  1. Do you remember seeing any advertising for Vallarta Supermarkets in the past month? 
  2. Where did you see or hear the advertising for Vallarta Supermarkets in the past month? 
  3. What messages or topics do you remember from the advertisement(s)?
  4. Did the advertisement(s) you saw in the past month mention [food product]? 
  5. Please take a moment to review the below video advertisement. Once you have finished watching the video, select the point on the scale that best represents your impression of the advertisement. (Scale is from negative to positive) 
  6. How did this advertisement featuring [food product] impact your likelihood to visit [Client Name] when preparing for your next party or fiesta? Select one.
  7. Have you ever made  [food product] at home? Select one.

Survey Language 

An interesting facet of this project was that we created surveys in both English and Spanish. 

We wrote the survey in English and then sent it off to be translated into Spanish. An extra step in programming, this method of translation works well. 

This is also an example of why it’s important to consider demographics when conducting a market research survey. Since the area where the survey was conducted has a high Hispanic population, we made sure to be inclusive of language. 


Margin of Error

The margin of error on this project was fairly low, at 3%, due to the larger size of the survey. 

This means that if you do the survey, with another random pool of the same respondent size the results are going to yield within plus 3% or minus 3% of what you received. This number is considered very reliable. 

Recommended Reading: What is Margin of Error? 


Project Length 

Overall, this was a quick project. 

Taking roughly four weeks, this specific project went quickly due to our established relationship with the client. With ad campaign surveys, it’s important to move fast so you can take advantage of the window of time respondents see the ads.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Using data to create effective supermarket and grocery store ads is far superior to relying on assumptions and best guesses. It helps increase the ROI of your campaigns and put money behind something that is already vetted to be a success. 


Contact Our Retail Market Research Company

Hopefully, this unique case study gave you some insight into how an ad campaign evaluation survey can benefit your grocery store, food product, or retail organization. 

If you’re interested in conducting a similar study, contact Drive Research. We are a national market research company based in New York that partners with retail organizations across the country. 

Want to know more about our market research services? Reach out to us through any of the 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

tim gell - about the author

Tim Gell

As a Research Analyst, Tim is involved in every stage of a market research project for our clients. He first developed an interest in market research while studying at Binghamton University based on its marriage of business, statistics, and psychology.

Learn more about Tim, here.


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