Bang for Your Buck: Measuring Advertising Effectiveness
Advertising is an expensive affair and every marketer hopes to ensure that the money invested in advertising bears results. The traditional way of measuring the effectiveness of advertising was through sales. Other methodologies include exposure, perception of the audience and brand recall when a consumer is buying a similar product. Above all, an advertisement should be able to stimulate demand for the product or service.
Ad effectiveness can be tested at any stage of the process. However, testing an advertisement before introducing the product into the market provides maximum safety by eliminating marketing spend. It’s critical to test advertisements thoroughly, as future marketing strategies are dependent on initial campaign results. There are various techniques to evaluate advertising effectiveness.
In an opinion test, a focus group of potential consumers rate the product or service on various criteria, such as objective, theme and in direct comparison to competition. In a portfolio test, customers are asked to view the ad carefully and are then tested on how well they can recall its contents. In a KPI check-list test, the agency and the client check that every activity, such as brand awareness, customer retention and changes in brand perception, are monitored separately, each with an assigned KPI, providing an overview of the customer journey.
For instance, a large Saudi Arabian chemical company had planned a global campaign to increase brand awareness in foreign markets because the company was relatively unknown outside its home country. The company approached the agency to test the effectiveness of its advertising campaign before the launch. The agency collected a combination of qualitative and quantitative insights from prospective customers, which included business leaders, consultants and journalists. The agency also conducted telephonic interviews and focus group sessions, covering major target countries. 16 ads were tested, detailed insights were gathered and each ad was ranked. Consequently, the number of ads was reduced to 10, helping the client make a definitive decision on the creatives and media placement.
Post ad-placement, a company can do little to change the campaign, but can still gain useful data on ad effectiveness for future marketing efforts. Brand recall and recognition tests evaluate ads based on the receptiveness of the advertisement in the minds of the target audience. The sales test represents a controlled environment where different ads are compared to another while also comparing the effectiveness of the medium of the ad in real-world conditions. Advertisers try to ensure that all the essential ideas of the campaign are communicated to audiences across every channel and study feedback from consumers in the form of views, interactions and conversions.
Measuring ad effectiveness is necessary to avoid potentially expensive mistakes. Evaluations performed by agencies in the early stages of a campaign are particularly beneficial as the agency’s consistent expertise in dealing with such issues can help resolve them quickly. Such testing can give a company an edge by reducing risk and providing them with relevant insights that could help save cost and polish the brand’s image. Technology and research agencies are evolving innovative tools and techniques to evaluate advertisements, ensuring better returns on investment. Marketers need to select the right agency and media owners, who can provide the right measurements against each dollar spent on advertising.