Is Your Advertising Working Hard Enough?
Is Your Advertising Working Hard Enough?
There are many facets to understanding whether your advertising strategy is getting the job done. Is it reaching the right people? Does it leave a lasting impression on your consumers’ minds? What impact is it making on consumer perceptions and attitudes about your brand? Does it move people to take action? If you need to understand the answers to these types of questions, then conducting advertising effectiveness research is right for you. Gathering consumer feedback on ad campaigns before, during, and after launch helps marketers make data-based decisions about their communication strategies, ad expenditures, and media mix. Make sure you have a winning strategy for assessing your next advertising campaign by reviewing this seven-step checklist.
1. Set meaningful objectives for your advertising campaign
It should go without saying that driving sales is a key advertising goal. However, determining what proportion of sales is attributable to advertising is extremely difficult. That’s why it’s so important to identify meaningful objectives for your ad campaigns. Are you looking to improve brand perceptions? Perhaps increasing unaided brand awareness is a core ad objective. Whatever your business situation, setting meaningful objectives is necessary to assess the effectiveness of your advertising to impact consumer attitudes and behaviors.
2. Prioritize your core target audience
Not all customers are created equal in the eyes of marketers. For instance, a company may know that their most profitable customers tend to be Millennial parents. Although their products have appeal to a wider audience, their ads may be targeted more specifically to their core customers. Be sure to include a robust sample of your high-priority target audience in your research in order to assess advertising effectiveness with confidence.
3. Select the right metrics to measure
Measuring brand awareness and ad recall are essential, of course. However, be sure you capture the necessary level of detail to make decisions about future advertising strategies. Depending upon your specific campaign objectives, include questions related to brand consideration, perceptions, or purchase interest. The metrics you include in your ad research need to tie back to your business situation as well as your advertising objectives. A successful study will give you the feedback you need to validate your ad strategy and assess your campaign’s effectiveness.
4. Gather feedback to refine message communication
Take steps to optimize your advertising before the communications are launched. Gathering feedback on your brand’s positioning strategy, key messaging, and ad concepts can help you refine your campaign. Whether you host a series of focus groups, collect input from an online community, or conduct a quantitative survey to evaluate multiple ad executions, you can learn a lot about how well specific elements of your advertising resonate with your core target audience.
5. Get the timing of your research right
Consider conducting a pre-advertising survey to capture a baseline measurement of brand and ad awareness. Then, schedule your post-advertising survey to take place immediately following the end of the ad flight. If you have the ability to adjust the reach, frequency, or placement of your advertising during the flight, you may consider conducting a survey part-way through to assess its mid-flight performance.
6. Measure a test market vs. a control market
Another way to evaluate campaign effectiveness is to compare test market results to a control market where the ads were not run. This is a common practice when deciding whether to expand a regional campaign. The key is to carefully select the control markets to minimize potential variations in responses based on factors like: demographics, differences in category attitudes based on regionality, similar competitive landscape, comparable market share (for both your brand and close competitors), or market size.
7. Gather feedback on competitive advertising for context
Consumers don’t evaluate your products and services in isolation. Be sure to capture key metrics for your close competitors to add context. When analyzing the research results, it’s also helpful to include information on the media spending level, reach, and frequency levels for both your ad and competitive activity, if available.
Ad expenditures are among the most difficult to justify yet are an essential way to support and nurture brand awareness and perceptions. For that reason, it’s important for marketers to gather consumer feedback on the impact of their advertising efforts within the context of an overall brand assessment. Doing so will provide critical information about what’s working well, what needs improving, and why.