What is Ad Testing?

Ad testing is the process of vetting an advertising strategy by sending part or all of an ad to a representative group of a brand’s audience. Advertising is a costly, and sometimes high-stakes, effort for businesses to take on, so ad testing is a great way to gauge how an audience will react to a specific set of ads so companies can spend their ad dollars in the most cost-effective way possible.

Additionally, ad testing helps businesses get to know their audiences better because it shows exactly what strategies and messages are the most impactful on their consumers, which allows them to tailor their marketing to them. Understanding the fundamentals about your audience can also allow brands to evaluate the true impact of their campaigns, identify which metrics need more resources to perform effectively, and measure ROI much more accurately.

Many companies use software to run ad tests, but often, their software doesn’t show everything that they will need to paint a full picture of their ads and brand touchpoints. To take your advertising efforts to the next level, you just need to develop the right strategy and have the best tools on your side. Does your company need help running ad tests? Compass by The Harris Poll is your best bet. See how Compass can help your brand by requesting a free demo today!

 

How to Perform Ad Testing That Reveals Key Insights For Message Development

 

 

Choose Your Target Audience

Once your company has committed to starting an ad testing initiative, you’ll need to start ad development and determine your target audience for each ad you want to test. After all, who you’re sending your ads to is just as important as the ad you’re sending.

You won’t want to send an ad to your entire audience, so it’s important to choose a market segment that will represent the whole of your audience. That way, you’ll have a good idea as to how successful an ad will be and you can either send it or course-correct until it’s ready to test again.

To find the right demographic for a specific ad, take a deep dive into your consumer demographics and find segments that you think will respond the best to it. It’s important to take your time during this step because, if you send an ad to the wrong demographic audience, you won’t get accurate results. But, with a little time and research, you’ll be able to create the best possible segments for your upcoming ad tests.

 

Set Goals for the Campaign

Now that you’ve determined your target audiences, it’s now time to set measurable and attainable goals to evaluate upon the completion of the ad test. Setting these goals helps your company define what success looks like before and after testing. Examples of some goals your company could set are overall ad engagement, increasing sales, improving brand reputation, and raising brand awareness.

Depending on where your tests land, you can readjust your goals to have higher or lower thresholds of success, or redefine them altogether if the tests don’t yield the desired results. This is the time to find out what metrics are most important to your marketing goals and what metrics will help you understand your audience’s behavior better than you did before.

 

Run the Test

You’ve defined your goals, chosen your audience, and developed a compelling message – now it’s time to start ad testing. It’s best practice to run several tests before, during, and after an ad launch so you can get the most accurate results. Additionally, there are various types of tests that you can run at this stage, namely those that measure an ad’s ability to inform, persuade, or convert an audience.

Inform tests are run to see how well an audience understands and retains key messaging metrics. Persuasion tests measure how effectively an ad can change the brand perception and opinion of your audience. And, lastly, Conversion tests are run to see how much of your audience is compelled to make an action, like signing up for a demo or purchasing a product. There are many benefits to each test, but it’s important to only run them if they meet the goals you’ve already set.

 

Analyze the Results

Once the tests are completed, analyze the results of them in order to determine whether or not they met your goals. To begin your evaluation, answer the following questions:

 

  • Did the ad help achieve the goal?
  • Which ad had more effective messaging?
  • Did certain segments of your audience react differently to the ad?

Then, divide your report into two sections: your overall findings and the individual ad’s performance. The overall findings of an ad test will illustrate which ads had the best initial reactions from your audience and which are the most likely to lead to the consumer performing an action. Individual ad results will allow your team to dig deeper into the details of each individual ad to identify any weak spots so you can strengthen your overall message.

 

How Can Ad Testing Improve Your Messaging Development?

Along with helping your company figure out how to best distribute ad spend, ad testing can also help to improve your company’s message development. Message development is the process of creating the key message you want your audience to take away from an interaction with your company. It’s a vitally important step for your company to take so it can continuously push your marketing efforts to the next level.

The overall goal of ad testing is to help your company send out the strongest, most influential message to your audience. In order to do that effectively, you need a robust brand tracking tool that provides data-driven insights by your side. So, trust in Compass by The Harris Poll to deliver all this and more. Learn more about Compass today by requesting a free demo with our team!

 

Amir Kanpurwala

Author Amir Kanpurwala

Amir has over ten years of experience in management and marketing consulting and across a variety of industries, including pharmaceutical, consumer product and retail, financial services, education, and technology. Prior to joining Harris, Amir was a VP of Corporate Strategy at Wells Fargo, focusing on devising and implementing strategy to grow top line revenue.

More posts by Amir Kanpurwala

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