You know that feeling, when you read or say a word so many times that it begins to lose all meaning, and stops looking and sounding like a real word?
That’s exactly what happens when you’re embedded in the process of designing a new advert for your brand; you spend so long looking at the same stills, listening to the same audio and reading the same copy that you become blind to the impact the advert would have on someone viewing it for the very first time.
According to The Drum, the UK’s advertising spend is increasing year on year, with no signs that this trend will slow in 2018. Despite nation-wide spend estimated to reach £22.7bn this year, there also seems to be an increasing number of campaigns that miss their mark, some more dramatically than others.
Even the biggest brands (McDonald’s, Skittles and Pepsi) are still failing to test their creatives rigorously enough to save them the shame of a pulled advert and public apology.
It’s vital that your advertising budget is backing the right horse. Consumer intelligence is the simplest and quickest way to ensure you know how your advert will perform, optimise this before the advert goes live, then track its impact once public.
When you’re blind to your own advert, consumer intelligence can enlighten you as to the reaction of your consumers and the population at large, and might just reveal an opinion your team weren’t expecting, but can subsequently plan for.
There are numerous possibilities when it comes to how and why you should test your video and audio creatives by embedding them into a consumer intelligence survey.
Below are 5 uses of creative testing that can help reduce the risk involved in launching a new advert, and might just save you from a campaign misfire, while maximise Return on Investment:
1. Test new creative
Historically, the worst public reactions have been to video adverts over any other channel, and it’s easy to understand why; it’s a delicate line to tread, requiring the right visuals, audio and copy to come together to resonate with consumers in the desired way.
Even when video adverts spring from consumer insights, if the end product isn’t also tested by that same pool of consumers, there’s room for misinterpretation and misapplication of the initial findings.
Add to that the complexity of nailing the audio, visual and copy elements of the advert and suddenly there’s a clear case for testing your video advert with consumers before it reaches the wider public.
Each element requires budget, so while the pre-planning stage might be thorough, to reduce the risk of rejection when being pushed to market, it’s vital the finished video creative is also tested with consumers. Taking this action could have saved M&S from being caught up in confusion over the audio in their Christmas advert, back in 2017!
2. Launch a campaign in a new medium (for instance, audio)
Audio advertising is a growing field; the pool of consumers who’ve switched from screens in favour of earphones is expanding. Back in 2017, we predicted that audio advertising would boom in 2018, and our vision looks on track to be realised.
Not only is the podcast industry growing year on year, but radio is also making a positive resurgence, meaning there are lots of consumers out there with their headphones on and ready to listen! Even those not actively listening in are still susceptible to audio advertising, the rise of home AI devices such as Amazon’s Alexa and the Google Home provide extra audiences available to be reached uniquely audibly.
In response, many brands are taking their first steps into audio advertising, while others are re-exploring the area after ditching the channel back when video famously killed the radio star.
There’s the possibility that consumers will interact in unique ways with adverts in an untested medium; for instance consumers may listen more passively to audio adverts than video, as there are added distractions when your advert only touches consumers via one sense. This will impact the content of the advert which is most widely accepted, as it will need to command attention.
The creative will also need to fully explain your message (and brand) in just one medium, without the aid of visual cues, which is a second challenge which needs to be tested to ensure a successful shift from video to audio advertising.
It’s clear, then, why testing the reception of an advert, and your brand in general, in a new audience is important. You’ll likely (hopefully!) have conducted consumer intelligence which led you to launch advertising in audio mediums, so now you need to test the types and content of adverts which are most willingly received by this subset of consumers.
3. Trial a new strategy in the same channel (for instance, dynamic audio)
For those who already advertise on radio, in podcasts and via audiobooks, you may want to explore the exciting new possibilities of dynamic audio.
Dynamic audio utilises the power of personalisation – pushing contextually relevant messaging to individuals based on their demographics including location and gender, but also factors such as time of day and the weather.
It can be a powerful tool in the right hands but, again, if exploring this for the first time, you’ll want to test the creative to ensure you’re reaping the benefits from this potential goldmine.
You can trial dynamic audio with Attest thanks to our brand new dynamic audio feature. Using the known demographics of our respondents to ensure the creative received is applicable to their circumstance, you’ll be able to garner the response to both the content of the advert and the level of personalisation.
A Million Ads are a digital audio advertising agency who use Attest to test their dynamic creative and personalised elements. By embedding the personalised adverts into the survey questions, ensuring only the applicable respondents received each unique version of the audio, A Million Ads have been able to gather real, actionable data to optimise these adverts.
4. A/B test two channels or campaigns
You can use Attest to clone multiple surveys and A/B tests with the same effort as creating just one survey. These can be direct comparisons between the success of a video versus an audio campaign, between two or more adverts that are currently live to see which is most memorable for consumers, between two or more potential future campaigns to see which is most positively received or on-message, or A/B test between two distinct audiences for insights into the variance of opinions. The possibilities of A/B testing are (virtually) endless.
A/B testing using Attest is incredibly simple. Write your questions using our easy survey builder, then clone the survey and attach one creative to one survey, and the other creative to the second survey.
With a single click you can select exclusive audiences so that each respondent is only able to see one of the surveys. We find brands are then able to use these results to decide which creative should win out, and where ROI will be greatest.
5. Know when it’s time for a change
Similarly to how focusing on one campaign can blind you to the impact of it, you can also become blind to the ongoing reactions to your adverts. You may grow tired with your creative more quickly than the public because of your continued exposure to it, and push to develop a new campaign before the current one has reached its full potential.
Conversely, you may have high hopes for your campaign and keep it running while the public grow increasingly ambivalent towards it.
The most reliable way to assess the fatigue of your campaign is to track consumer reaction to it over time. You can also run an A/B test to compare public reaction to a live advert versus a brand new campaign, to indicate whether it is the right time to change tack.
Other measures such as message recall, brand lift and purchase intent can be used at regular intervals to see if your current campaign is still producing the results you need, or whether it’s getting a little tired.
Throughout your consumer intelligence project, remember that your advert won’t exist in a vacuum. By only considering the reaction of one audience you pave the way for another audience to be alienated by your advert.
Creative testing is most useful when the audience is wide and representative of everyone who could possibly catch a glimpse of your advert. You’re already blinded to your advert by your involvement in its design, don’t put blinkers on as well!
By simply embedding your creative into a survey using Attest’s survey builder, you can run the insightful tests outlined above. Doing so will reduce the risks involved in major advertising campaigns, ensure you avoid misfires and secure the highest possible ROI.
At Attest we can help you create surveys to test, and track the success of your advertising creative, get in touch to get started!