Let’s face it, ads aren’t going anywhere – they’re just too important.
In the digital world, they provide the main revenue stream for many ‘free’ media services (Facebook to name a big one), so you can enjoy them without spending a dime.
Pretty great stuff for the consumer, though the price they pay is being served content they may not want.
But regardless of the channel, it’s the job of advertisers to get inside the minds of their audience, ensure their ads tap into their interests, and, importantly, minimize any intrusion.
The media world would be a better place if more time went into deep audience research, testing ads, and optimizing campaigns. Here we show independent agencies how it’s done using the latest tech.
Top-line trends in consumer opinion
In our global media landscape report, we take a look at advertising today and assess how people perceive ads across different mediums – from social media to billboards.
Here are the highlights:
- Ads on social media are considered more “intrusive” and “excessive” than on other channels – but they’re challenging TV for effectiveness.
- Ads on TV are considered “entertaining” and “informative”, but their effectiveness is dwindling.
- Over the last five years the percentage of people who discover brands via TV has declined from 43 to 31.
You wouldn’t want to turn your (or your client’s) whole ad strategy upside down over one trend. We know advertising is nuanced and there are plenty of exceptions to the ‘rules’.
But this does signal more research is needed before starting a campaign.
Consumers aren’t passive – they’re shifting to new channels, and they’re taking note of ads they see (for good and for bad).
There’s a need for smarter spending.
With more of the marketing mix and investment moving to digital, all eyes and ears are pointed to one question: “How do I make my ads more effective?”
Beyond the initial creative development and ad research brands may undertake, they’re also using creative ad testing to optimize their campaigns more and more.
This way, less spend is lost when it comes to activation.
And with more affordable and time-efficient pre-testing solutions now coming to the fore, the reasons for brands not to pre-test their ideas are few and far between, with effective ads saving them huge amounts of spend in the long run.
How’s advertising testing actually done?
While a pre-test can offer some key insights into what might work for your audience, the post-test is where the real learnings come into play.
Through in-depth studies that quantify the effectiveness of your media campaign, analyzing audience reactions and responses, you can:
- Evaluate the true impact of your campaign
- Measure your ROI accurately
- Identify the metrics that need more attention
Insight of this kind represents the holy grail when it comes to marketing – knowing precisely how every part of a campaign collectively drives sales, and what happens when you adjust them.
GWI uses a control versus exposed method to quantify the impact of online advertising over various time periods. Unlike other studies of this kind that rely solely on passively-derived data collected through website analytics, GWI does something different.
Leveraging the world’s largest survey on digital consumers, exposure to your campaigns is measured without the need for recall or recognition questions.
The finer details
Those who have seen the ad (exposed) and those who have not (control) are both sent an identical, bespoke survey, framed around the ad campaign objectives and the brand metrics you want to measure.
The difference in opinion between these two groups is what quantifies a campaign’s impact.
This process is carefully designed to ensure a representative audience of your campaign is surveyed and all key metrics considered so your advertising works to its fullest potential.
This is done by analyzing market share and matching your client’s target audience (right down to the minute details) with real panelists to ensure the tested subjects are an exact replica of the audience you’re targeting.
Everyone loves a process, so here it is step-by-step.
- Analyze campaign objectives
- Tag the campaign to track exposure
- Create a bespoke survey around objectives and brand metrics
- Survey the exposed group
- Match the exposed group to unexposed panelists
- Survey the control panelists
- Compare responses of the two groups
- Analyze the difference between responses to quantify the impact
- Produce report on effectiveness of advertising
Beyond behaviors, demographics, reach, and frequency
For today’s independent agencies to stay ahead of the curve and improve the quality of their digital campaigns, there’s an underpinning need to move beyond basic analytics – the stuff that’s easy to come by, but only scratches the surface.
Media outlets often have their own stats, which tell their side of the story. And after all, they’re trying to make a sale.
With a deeper understanding of who your client’s audience is, the markets they should be reaching out to, and what’s working, you’re baking in a greater degree of reliability into each campaign.
Incorporating trusted survey data, given to you directly from the people you’re targeting, lets you grasp the motivations behind their actions – helping you get to know your client’s audience on a personal, more meaningful level.