Increasing Impact & Engagement through Advertising Testing

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One of the most popular evergreen topics on C3Centricity is advertising testing. Therefore, in light of the exp anding channel options available to marketers today, I think it’s time I proposed an updated perspective.

There are countless posts which discuss how to A/B test a campaign on FaceBook or how to  pre- and post-test advertising. What seems to be lacking is an objective view of IF  you should be testing your advertising at all. So this is what I want to discuss here. I hope you will find it helpful in reviewing your own opinions concerning advertising testing. 


Should You Test Advertising?

If you work on the client side and ask your colleagues in an advertising agency, most of them would probably scream NO! That’s not very surprising. Countless teams have suffered at the h ands of market research and the over-zealous testing of their creative – in a usually very uncreative way.

There have been many attempts at defining metrics to evaluate advertising. One of the biggest challenges from my perspective is whether or not you should test a campaign or each individual ad separately. But more on that in a moment. First I want to review the actual decision to test.

Should you test an ad built to increase awareness in the same way as one built for encouraging trial, purchase, repurchase, loyalty or advocacy? My answer would be a very Swiss “It depends”.

Firstly you have to be clear about why you are advertising in the first place; what your campaign is trying to achieve, its objectives.

It still amazes me how many companies develop a new campaign simply because that’s what they do each year. Hopefully, each new campaign has a link to the preceding one, but even that is not always obvious.

Therefore start by identifying with whom you want to communicate and why. And share this information with your ad agency; it’s surprising how many clients don’t! Remember to give as complete a description as possible of your target audience, including the who, what, where and why. (Our 4W™ Template is great for storing all the information in a one-pager)


When to Test Advertising

Many companies have a st andard process of testing ads before they can be aired. This is usually referred to as copy-testing. An ad must appear in the “top quadrant” on both impact and persuasion before it can be used. While this is admirable for its thoroughness, it often results in multiple ads being developed, to ensure that at least one of them meets these criteria. The feeling is that more is better. If you test two, three or more ads, you can then hope for a “winner.” What’s wrong with that?

Well, in my opinion, quite a lot.

You’ve just wasted a lot of time, money and energy in developing multiple ads, when you know you’ll most probably only use one. Continue Reading

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