Communication effect research seeks to determine whether an ad is communicating effectively. Called copy testing, it can be done before an ad is put into media and after it is printed or broadcast.
There are three major methods of pre-testing. The consumer feedback method asks consumers for their reactions to proposed ad. They respond to questions such as these:
1. What is the main message you get from this ad?
2. What do you think they want you to know, believe or do?
3. How likely is it that this ad will influence you to undertake the action?
4. What works well in the ad and what works poorly?
5. How does the ad make you feel?
6. Where is the best place to reach you with this message? Where would you be most likely to notice it and pay attention to it? Where are you when you make decisions about this action?
Portfolio tests ask consumers to view or listen to a portfolio of advertisements. Consumers are then asked to recall all the ads and their content, aided or unaided by the interviewer. Recall level indicates an ad’s ability to stand out to have its message understood and remembered.
Laboratory tests use equipment to measure physiological reactions – heartbeat, blood pressure, pupil dilation, galvanic skin response, perspiration – to an ad; or consumers may be asked to turn a knob to indicate their moment-to-moment liking or interest while viewing sequenced material. These tests measure attention getting power but reveal nothing about impact on beliefs, attitudes, or intentions. The points given below describe some specific advertising research techniques.
Pretest critics maintain that agencies can design ads that test well buy may not necessarily perform well in marketplace. Proponents of ad pre-testing maintain that useful diagnostic information can emerge and that pretests should not be used as the sole decision criterion anyway. Widely acknowledged as being one of the best advertisers around, Nike is notorious for doing very little ad pre-testing.
Advertising Research Techniques:
For Print Ads: Starch and Gallup & Robinson Inc., are two widely used print pre-testing services. Test ads are placed in magazines, which are then circulated to consumers. These consumers are contacted later and interviewed. Recall and recognition tests are used to determine advertising effectiveness.
For Broadcast Ads: In-home tests: A video tape is taken or downloaded into the homes of target consumers, who then view the commercials.
Trailer tests: In a trailer in a shopping center, shoppers are shown the product and given an opportunity to select a series of brands. They then view commercials and are given coupons to be used in the shopping center. Redemption rates indicate commercials’ influence on purchase behavior.
Theater tests: Consumers are invited to a theater to view a potential new television series along with some commercials. Before the show begins, consumers indicate preferred brands in different categories; after the viewing consumers again choose preferred brands. Preference changes measure the commercials’ persuasive power.
On-air tests: Respondents are recruited to watch a program on a regular TV channel during the test commercial or are selected based on their having viewed the program. They are asked questions about commercial recall.
Many advertisers use posttests to assess the overall impact of a completed campaign. If a company hoped to increase brand awareness from 20to 50% and succeeded in increasing it to only 30%, then the company is not spending enough, if ads are poor or some other factor has been ignored.