Stop Working with a Marketing Agency for Ad Concept Testing - Do This Instead

person typing on laptop looking at advertising testing results

When most brands think of concept testing in advertising, they turn to marketing agencies or an in-house team.

This can lead to biased, unreliable results. We’ll explain why this is, and a better alternative to conducting concept testing surveys.

It’s no secret that the ROI of your company is huge. In fact, it’s been documented that professionals who compute marketing ROI are 1.6 times more likely to get a higher budget for future marketing endeavors. Who doesn’t want that? 

I’ll cut right to the chase. Working with marketing agencies for ad concept testing could be impacting the ROI of your advertising efforts. It is instead better to rely on market research companies to execute these studies.

But wait, what does a market research company know about marketing and advertising?

Perhaps they don’t – what they do know is an abundance of knowledge and expertise in surveying consumers.

If you are looking for market data that is unbiased with zero preconceived notions, I recommend hiring a third-party to conduct ad concept testing surveys.

We discuss this topic in the video below, as well as at length in the following post.


Rely on Online Survey Experts

Remember! Ad concept surveys are not necessarily about creating marketing copy and design. You can leave that to an in-house marketing team or agency.

Moreover, ad concept testing revolves around collecting feedback from your target audience that drives changes to the ads. 

This is something market research firms live, sleep, and breathe.

As a result, research firms already have an established streamlined process for online survey projects. They can execute and recommend industry best practices to deliver the most effective results.

If you’ve never conducted an online survey, it might seem intimidating. Don’t worry–it’s not.

Our market research company covers everything you need for successful results. After we give you a quote, we’ll take you through the main processes of design, fieldwork, reporting, and more. 

Many advertising and marketing agencies do not know the key components of a successful ad concept testing survey, such as:

  • The appropriate survey length to encourage higher response rates.
  • Recommending using monadic testing or sequential monadic testing.   
  • How many design concepts you should test in one survey.
  • Surveying customers vs. non-customers.
  • The goal number of response rates to achieve a low margin of error.

These types of factors can be the reason your ad concept survey project succeeds or fails.

💡 The Key Takeaway: You can still rely on an ad agency to create your vision. However, a market research company will provide its expertise to design, field, and analyze quality surveys.


Choose From Monadic or Sequential Monadic Design

When you use a third-party market research team, you can enjoy the benefits of either monadic or sequential monadic survey themes. 

Monadic surveys

Monadic surveys are short and sweet. Respondents will only be shown one example of a concept you’re testing out, thus avoiding bias. As with shorter surveys, you’ll likely get a higher response rate. 

Additionally, shorter surveys cost less money to create.

Since respondents are focusing solely on a single concept, they’ll be able to notice fine details about things they like and dislike, as their attention is undivided.

Sequential monadic surveys

In a sequential monadic survey, respondents will be shown all of the concepts you’re testing out. You’ll be getting feedback for each concept, from the entire group of respondents, unlike the monadic format. 

With a larger group of respondents viewing all your ad concepts, this means further accurate, clear feedback to use going forward. 

Sequential monadic surveys can also use compare-and-contrast questions since respondents are seeing all concepts.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Relying on market research experts means relying on expert recommendations for which type of survey design is best to test your unique ad concepts. Learn more in our blog post, What is Monadic Testing and Sequential Monadic Testing in Market Research?


No Skewed Data to Avoid Extra Work

More times than not, data and feedback collected from ad concept testing will result in changes needed to be made to marketing messaging.

Whether this is the layout, color scheme, or content - there will be necessary modifications to maximize the success once the ads are live.

Let's look at this from two perspectives.

The Perspective of a Marketing Agency

As I mentioned, any feedback that comes back from an ad concept testing survey results in changes that need to be made by the marketing agency.

These are changes that they won't be able to charge you for. Why would they want to showcase every little recommended change if it results in more time and work on their end?

Again, time and work they cannot charge you for.

The Perspective of a Third-Party Market Research Firm

From the perspective of a market research firm, like Drive Research, we don't care about how many changes need to be made.

Our team understands the reason brands invest in ad concept testing is so they can later see an increase in ROI.

Therefore we care about delivering quality data and recommendations for leveraging these consumer insights to achieve that goal.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Ad agencies can't charge you for changes that need to be made to design and copy based on consumer insights, therefore who's to say they won't fudge the results in their favor?

Recommended Reading: 6 Unique Benefits of Ad Concept Testing


Eliminate Preconceived Notions

For experienced marketing and advertising professionals, there are natural preconceived notions that develop over time.

They create advertising campaigns based on best practices and what has been successful in the past.

While businesses should not see this as negative for outsourcing marketing needs, it can deter the results of concept testing in advertising.

How so? There are likely key questions that need to be included in an ad concept testing survey that can be overlooked when conducted by marketing teams.

This is because they think they already know the answer based on secondary research or past experiences.

However, consumer preferences and buying behaviors are constantly changing. What worked for marketing campaigns last year might not work today.

As a market research company, we have zero preconceived notions about your advertising campaigns.

We bring in a fresh, third-party perspective and let consumer feedback speak for itself. Market research companies don't assume anything when it comes to customer feedback.

Instead, they ask unbiased questions specific to your industry and target audience. This will surely result in a few surprises that can skyrocket your marketing efforts.

💡 The Key Takeaway: Third-party research teams are always thinking ahead about what to include in an ad concept survey. You’ll receive fresh, helpful data from key demographics that will boost your next campaign.


Remove Biased Opinions

Lastly, when testing advertising concepts with a market research firm, there are no biased opinions or presentations of the data that would persuade you to ignore the findings.

In other words, marketing agencies created these ads that are being tested.

If results show that consumers would not be likely to purchase the advertised product after seeing the ads, it is hard for the marketing team not to take this feedback personally.

Think of it light this...

  • Marketing teams put time, money, and effort into creating these advertising concepts.
  • They likely think they will pass the ad concept testing with flying colors.
  • However, there are many instances where brands must reevaluate the designs because the survey shows it will result in little return.

A marketing agency could look at this poor feedback and disregard it completely. They could potentially not tell you the full story of the results.

In contrast, a market research company has no stake in the game.

We create, field, and analyze the survey data as is. There is no skewing or fudging the percentages to work in our favor.

For this reason, it is imperative to have a third-party conduct test and measure different marketing campaign deliverables.

💡 The Key Takeaway: You’re not getting biased results with a market research firm. Marketing agencies could potentially not share all the findings of a study, therefore leaving you in the dark with certain information. With a third party, you can have total faith that you’re getting every last drop of feedback.


Conduct Ad Concept Testing with Drive Research

Drive Research is a full-service market research company located in Upstate New York. Our team of senior market research professionals works with brands from across the country to design, field, and analyze ad concept testing surveys.

To learn more about our services, or to receive a project quote – contact our team today!

  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

emily carroll about the author

Emily Carroll

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.


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