Applying the Feedback Loop to Advertising Research

“The only way to win is to learn faster than anyone else.” – Eric Ries

There’s a rite of passage book for business courses called “The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses” by Eric Ries. And one of the critical components to Ries’s strategy was to understand the Build-Measure-Learn Feedback Loop. The feedback loop serves as a scientific model for businesses to realize that creating value by testing ideas is essential. By using the Build-Measure-Learn approach, businesses can focus on eliminating uncertainty, so they can fail fast, and most importantly, fail cheaply.

The Lean Startup approach shows brands how to find ways to continuously approve on their business aproach by creating a cycle of testing and building, measuring to learn from the results.

By using testing to support your R&D can allow for further experiment or iteration, and eventually, offer detailed specifications on how to build, use, or enhance it.

Honestly, advertising research is no different. Like the Build-Measure-Learn feedback loop, ad testing can let businesses act fast, agile and efficient when it comes to product or creative testing. 

Let’s dive into how marketers can look at advertising research through the same lens as Eric Ries’ Feedback Loop.

Advertising and the Feedback Loop

Applying the Lean Startup Approach to ad research is quite simple.

Use the feedback loop to build your advertisements (build), ensure they are engaging with the right audience (measure), validate assumptions and apply the insights to your entire campaign or marketing mix (learn).

When building an advertisement campaign, is it not essential to clearly define the strategic objective? What is the motivation for developing the ad campaign?

This stage is where testing ideas are important.

In addition, this may be where you employ several market research techniques to further your insights exploration to help inspire new ways of understanding how your brand, product, or service may appeal to the masses.

One goal of ad testing is to ensure it provides insights that help move your ads from creative to production.

Often, the first stage of advertising research is the broadest.  And compared to other methods of advertising research, this stage is often exploratory.

When undertaking advertisement development market research, conduct an audit of existing research could help reduce costs. It will also increase your campaign’s engagement and help you identify need areas without breaking the bank.

Building advertisement creative from a gut check is rarely a good idea.

And a common mistake by creative teams is to ignore existing research in hopes that fresh eyes will find new ways to validate the content.

To combat personal biases, brands will often hire a market research firm to summarize mounds of secondary research that already exists or perform other advertisement pre-testing methods, such as concept research or product market research.

Pre-testing can give your creative team the feedback required to understand how to improve the execution of your campaign.

When testing a more drafted version of your advertisement, such as the copy, creative or storyboard, the pre-testing can flag what is required to improve the final campaign’s execution.

This type of feedback is key to measuring the effectiveness of the overall ad design and other budget needs like where the advertisement should be, how the media buy should be spent, and if the testing is just for one variation or the entire campaign.

While there are many turnkey frameworks available for pre-testing, businesses will often work with market research firms to structure their concept research around ad effectiveness, recall, engagement, and predictive buying behaviour among their target audiences.

Market research firms can even support your pre-testing by helping identify your target personas and showing how to target them based on various segmentation methods.  

“If we do not know who the customer is, we do not know what quality is.” – Eric Ries, The Lean Startup

Learn When to Pivot

Advertising research is not meant to hold up your campaign launch. But, even more importantly, it should not end when you launch your campaign. Marketing strategy often requires continuous evaluation and feedback, and advertising research is no different. Thus the research should be viewed as a large part of the overall strategy, and it should continue to provide actionable results after launch.

Think about it this way: when you think about campaign evaluation, you think about all aspects of the ad campaign – your media buy, channels used, materials developed, and even societal factors that can affect your results.

When you are learning to pivot, you need to plan for post-testing or continuous benchmarking.

Advertisement research lets you set those benchmarks and test against them for recall throughout the entire campaign. Of course, shorter initiatives may not require testing after launch. But long-term campaigns with various channels, messages, and stakeholders may require a more continuous approach – like a feedback loop, perhaps?

Advertising market research is essential to successful advertising.

Research can help you reduce the risk and the cost associated with developing new research – should it ever have to come to that.

Although there are many stages of advertising research, ad testing allows marketers to create their continuous feedback loop. It can simplify the creative process in a way that helps marketers determine where they need to focus their ideas (build), what benchmarks they should track (measure), and when they should adjust the creative or move on (learn, and repeat!).

Advertising Research should do more than test your creative – it should help define the future success of the message you are trying to get in front of your customers. 

If you would like to know more about how Insightrix can help you create more effective advertising using advertisement market research, contact us at info@insightrix.com.

If you’re interested in more information about the types of ad testing services Insightrix provides, download the whitepaper here.


Advertising Research – How Important is it? 

Catch EP07 of SoMR where we explore why organizations test their ads, and how the practice has changed over the years.