19 Jan Why Should Marketers Do Ad Testing?
Ad testing isn’t a thing of the past
It seems like every time forward-thinking marketers bring up ad testing these days, they are dismissed by their older, set-in-their-ways colleagues.
Concerns of cost and timeliness, as well as the idea that ad testing (in nebulously described ways) diminishes the creativity of your advertising efforts are usually at the root of criticism of the practice.
While it may have been true at one point – before strides in technology and methodologies were made – practical application has lifted the practice of ad testing out of focus group rooms of the nineties and back into common practice for forward-thinking marketers.
This is because ad testing has evolved.
While today’s innovating front-line marketers are fixated on the metrics to help justify their advertisement choices, their executives and stakeholders simply want results.
Marketers believe ad results should be inherently data driven, but businesses are starting to see the need for their brands to be more daring and better represented in the media, so the expectation is much bigger than a marketer’s projected ROI.
New quantitative techniques and methodologies have been developed to create faster, more credible and more actionable quantitative testing protocols and to build and access deeper, more robust norms – making those criticisms mentioned earlier more than a little invalid and out of date.
But is advertisement research really worth the effort?
The short answer is… YES!
Criticisms of ad testing being a slow process are a little old school at best. At worst, belief in these criticisms can lead to quite damaging consequences.
There are many tools available to creatives interested in ad testing, and these tools can turn around actionable topline data within days – in some cases, even hours.
But because marketers are interested in disrupting the status quo, advocating for a trial and error process, it is an opportunity to take advantage of the unique strengths that targeted ads, such as those that social media advertisement platforms like Facebook or Snapchat can offer, rather than trying to fit the message into identical, untargeted standards you set for ad promotion.
Instead of creating ads to meet one standard, try to understand why people use the platforms to begin with, and speak to that.
According to the Wall Street Journal, marketers need to “mentally shift” their focus from how well their digital ads perform to industry standards. One way suggested is to adopt more viewable and better targeted ads – and the best way to get this done is to simply test the creative before it launches.
New methodologies in ad testing can even be accessed that will allow full integration of behavioural data, as well, to allow marketers to measure engagement through the quantification of likes, shares, retweets, etc.
It isn’t hard to think of how useful quantifiable metrics like these could assist forward-thinking marketers in the creation of creatives or whole campaigns.
But is advertisement testing worth the price tag?
Think about it this way… a lack of advertisement research can come at the cost of irreplaceable brand reputation.
Contrary to criticisms that ad testing results in less creative ad efforts, testing your copy prior to releasing it is a great way to ensure your creative is the best possible quality you can make it.
Testing copy ensures your brand message is being heard the way you want it to be understood. Think about the pain Spirit Airlines could have saved itself by testing its ads first, before it told people to visit the beaches of Ft. Lauderdale over the oil-soaked beaches of Texas in 2010.
Rather than creating a PR nightmare, the firm could have easily employed some testing to find out how terribly their campaign would be received – saving the company untold amounts of lost revenue and good will.
Ad copy testing is your best bet
Releasing any kind of creative into the world is a gamble, but you can mitigate the inherent risks by testing your ad copy beforehand. Make sure your copy is well received and that it will offer the best return on your media investment by testing it beforehand.
Can you think of any other ways ad testing can help your creatives?
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