How to Use Market Research to Test Advertising Creative

We've said it before and we'll say it again. Market research and advertising go hand-in-hand. In a prior post our market research company talked about 4 ways market research can help advertising. Beyond using market research to help fuel creative: messaging, emotions, word association, etc. it can also be used on the back-end of creative and design. Once you have ads or creative mocked up, market research can help you choose the best go-to-market approach and campaign.

We'll explain the step-by-step process to do this.

Why guess which ad will be most effective? Beyond just using market research to fuel messaging and channels, research can also be used to help you choose between advertisements A, B, or C.

Step 1: Design Your Advertisements

Hopefully your design of your advertisements is based on research from the start. This could be profiling specific buyers, understanding which channels to market on, or using the correct motivational language or buyer decision-making criteria. Guessing on this? You shouldn't be.

However, once you have your ads designed, you'll likely have several variations created. Perhaps an A/B or an A/B/C option. Rather than basing the decision internally with your team or staff who have a horse in the race, think about using a third-party market research company to show the advertising options to real customers.

Step 2: Design Your Market Research Tool

You have a few options here but the 3 most common research tests are: (1) an online survey to customers or a targeted audience, (2) a web survey to a random population, or (3) focus groups. Each of these methodologies offer their own unique pros and cons.

The first option is reaching out to your customers or through a panel using an online survey. With this approach you have the opportunity to show visuals of the ad or a video embedded in the survey to collect feedback. The survey can test likelihood to purchase, likes, and improvements for the ad.

The second option is using a website pop-up survey. This is a great fit to test a landing page or intercept visitors on an e-commerce website if you want to test creative. It allows you to ask questions to users in real-time within the interface of the site structure you may be testing.

The third option is focus groups. This can be done in-person or online. As opposed to a high level measurement, focus groups are qualitative market research meant to explore deeper. In this setting you can show ads and creative to a group and ask questions to generate dialogue and feedback.

Step 3: Collect Feedback

Once you choose your approach and methodology, the next step is to collect feedback. In this step, you receive answers to the questions you drafted out in your survey or moderator's guide. The online survey or website survey feedback can be collected in as little as 24 to 48 hours. Focus groups typically take about 4 to 5 weeks to complete because you need to allow time for recruitment, logistics, and facility bookings.

Step 4: Begin Analysis and Reporting

Once your fieldwork is completed, the real fun begins. Another benefit of running advertising creative testing online is the results are typically available in real-time. Our market research company offers a passcode protected link where clients can login and view the data live. This helps you make initial decisions on the data without having to wait for the topline or summary report.

In the analysis you'll want to understand which of the ads (A, B, or C) was preferred and more importantly: "why"? Reviewing the ad creative not only allows you to choose the ad that will perform the best but also tweak ads to make marginal improvements. It's almost likely predicting the future a bit in helping you choose the best marketing path forward based on fact-based and evidence-based data.

Contact Drive Research

Drive Research is a market research company in Upstate New York. Questions about how our team can assist with your advertising and testing needs? Contact us using one of the 3 options below.

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