Unwrapping the Top Ad Testing Tactics
- Test early and often
- Familiarize yourself with the metrics
- Test multiple versions
- Leverage custom audiences
- Improve through guidance
- Compare with others in your category
Ad testing strategies support creative effectiveness
As we near the end of 2022, it’s an opportunity for brands to reflect on their marketing successes this year and identify goals for the new year. Ad testing is one tactic that can help brands maximise their marketing budgets by predicting the effectiveness of advertisements and further improving them – and there’s still time to test before the year wraps up. Testing has come a long way over the years, and today can mean the difference between a campaign that drives market share and profit growth and an expensive investment that doesn’t yield results.
There are numerous ad testing strategies to consider, including:
Test early and often
Testing in the early stages of development can ensure that creative is heading in the right direction. Gaining feedback on storyboards and animatics can guide future iterations of an ad so that the final result is engaging and memorable for viewers. Use an ad testing tool or an idea testing platform that provides insights on emotional response, brand recognition and key associations to determine whether the intended message is being received and where gaps may exist.
Familiarize yourself with the metrics
Different tools offer different metrics, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of the main outputs and how they factor into overall ad effectiveness. Too many types of data can be overwhelming and make reports more difficult to understand and quickly review.
“An easy question (How do I feel about it?) serves as an answer to a much harder question (What do I think about it?).” – Daniel Kahneman
Look for an ad testing platform that keeps the metrics simple yet rooted in evidence as part of your ad testing strategy. Emotion-based metrics are better at predicting campaign success because the more people feel, the more people buy. For commercial gain, advertisers must entertain.
Test multiple versions
Test multiple versions – You might have different iterations of the same ad and want to know which will offer the best investment. Perhaps one version uses voiceover more heavily while the other relies more on dialogue. Or maybe one ad incorporates a classic 80s song and another uses the latest chart-topping hit. Either way, testing slightly different versions can highlight which ad elements are working in your favour. You can also use testing for film and static ads within the same campaign to ensure that a similar emotional response is being felt for video, print and outdoor activations.
Leverage custom audiences
Testing against a nationally representative sample gives you a clear and objective view of how effective your ad will be in market. Brands and agencies can also test against custom samples that will provide additional insights from specific groups. Whether it’s a product that is being marketed specifically to Gen Z or Millennials, or an ad focusing on the disability community, there are opportunities to test with these audiences so you can compare how your marketing is performing among a niche group and the general public.
Improve through guidance
While straightforward reports certainly make it easy for marketers to make sense of the data (and to share this information with executive teams), a deeper dive can also be helpful as part of an ongoing ad testing strategy. Being able to lean on experienced research teams can help your organisation learn what’s working and where there might be room for improvement, like story arc, the inclusion of fluent devices, soundtracks and more.
Compare with others in your category
Testing your own creative is a great way to understand how it will impact your brand health over the long term. It’s also important to watch how your competitors’ ads are performing to determine if they’re likely to gain, lose or maintain market share. The ad testing platform you use should allow you to benchmark your company, competitors and category so you can track performance over time.
The above ad testing best practices can take your creative from ineffective to exceptional in no time. In fact, ad testing is a gift that keeps on giving because it predicts the long-term impact of advertising and gives marketers confidence in their investment. Getting creative effectiveness right can help a brand increase market share growth, even in competitive categories.