In today's world, the channels to disseminate an ad have vastly increased and so have the associated costs. Ads can be tested either before it is aired (Pre-test) or after it has been aired (Post-Test).
It is done before airing the commercial so that the probability of creating a successful ad increases. This gives a chance to understand the flaws, detect and eliminate weakness thereby helping the brand to reach its objectives through the advertisement.
This is done after the advertisement has been launched. Post-testing an ad is often useful in order to compare with other competing ads by other brands. It helps clients evaluate how their ad is performing when pitted against other ads in the same category and also if it stands out within the information that consumers are receiving from various sources on a daily basis.
The methodology for ad campaigns can vary, depending upon the client's budget and requirement. For television ads, respondents can be shown either ad-stills or a clutter reel.
Recalling the elements of the client's ad is called ACT (Ad Cut Through) i.e. the respondent was successfully able to recall certain visual elements of the ad when it was placed within a set of 4-5 ads -In a real life setting commercial breaks usually consist of about 4-5 ads. Recalling the elements of one ad within it shows that the ad is able to successfully stand out within the clutter.
BCT (Brand Cut Through) is when respondents can recall which brand was the ad for. Sometimes, if certain branding elements are not clearly visible, consumers may recall an ad but assume it is for another brand.
Based on the responses received, we advise clients to make changes in the advertisement so that it's brand is clearly recognizable. To take a popular example in India, people don't need to see an Airtel ad to recognize the brand of cellular service - they can identify the same just from the jingle. Other successful jingles in India such as Titan watches, Bajaj Scooters, Maggi Noodles have all capitalized on their brand recall successfully in the past.
Brands like McDonalds, Apple, Windows can even be recognized with only half of their logo.
How do we test if an Ad is successful?
Ad-evaluation studies require measurements against norms. Norms are industry standards for certain key questions that are asked to test the impact of an ad. They are arrived at by compiling the results from hundreds of different ad-testing studies and measuring the scores that respondents provide on certain key questions. An ad is considered successful if it scores higher than the average on its key metrics.
Norms for an ad vary by country, category, respondent demographics, methodology etc. A successful norms data base needs to have multiple studies within, in order to successfully filter a sufficient base for norms checking. To provide an example of why this is necessary:
Respondents in Asian markets such as Japan have a tendency to Top Box ie they provide significantly higher positive scores even on mediocre brands. Hence the norms need to be country specific.
High Involvement products such as 'Cars, Jewellery' tend to receive much more discriminating scores as compared to low Involvement products. Hence category level norms are important.
The Branded or Un-Branded Ad-Test Conundrum
If the objective is to test how the advertisement stands on its own, without the impact of the brand, i.e. based on its creative elements, ads should be tested without the brand logo. This will help check if, in a highly competitive context, brand recall is cutting through the clutter. There have been examples in the past of consumers identifying a great ad with a competitor brand thus negating the impact of the commercial.
If the objective is to measure the advertisement's impact along with the strength of the brand i.e. to simulate market reality, ads are shown with the brand elements.
Typically, new and emerging brands, mask their logos since they want to build share on the merit of their campaign and because they don't have large budgets to spend.
The Markelytics Edge
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We would be delighted to help you in any specific Ad-testing needs and tailor solutions based on the requirements of your brand. We assure of scripting a success story for you. Drop us a line and take a free consult of your brand from our global experts who hold extensive expertise and enormous research prowess.