Survey concept testing

Editor’s note: Emily Rodgers is the marketing manager at Drive Research. This is an edited version of an article that originally appeared under the title “6 Unique Benefits of Ad Concept Testing with Surveys.”

In this competitive B2B and B2C marketing landscape, many brands make substantial investments in concept testing. Why? While there are many benefits of ad concept testing with surveys, perhaps the most influential is its ability to deliver resounding success and increase ROI. As one of the greatest market research options for advertising and marketing efforts, concept testing is a mission-critical growth method for most organizations.

Is data needed for ad success?

Depending on your brand’s reach, ads have the potential to be seen by millions of people. Because of this, you’ll want to make sure the campaign resonates with viewers, makes an impression and leads them to take action. As a marketer, you probably already know that achieving all these things is easier said than done. That's where surveys can help. 

Before the ad concept testing survey template is created, it’s essential to understand how data will influence your ad campaign process. When we refer to “data-driven decision-making,” we mean using various metrics to ensure that your ad idea is relevant, accurate and clear. This can only help an ad campaign! Gathering a good amount of actionable data will let you know for sure just how well a campaign will perform. 

In marketing and advertising, data equals knowledge and confidence. This not only refers to having confidence in the actual data but having confidence in the quality of your ad campaign. 

With the data gathered via the concept testing survey, you can relax and know that your ad is already approved by your target audience. In other words, having a data-backed marketing campaign assures the ad will make an impact on consumers who see it. This can lead to increased business and an overall good reputation for your brand. 

Key takeaway: Using the data gathered from an ad concept survey will ensure your ad campaign features legitimate information. This has a host of benefits, from creating a trustworthy public image to feeling secure in your brand’s message.

Gaining insights through surveys

Whether your brand is promoting a new product, advertising to a new market or just debating between multiple different designs, concept testing surveys are never a bad idea. This type of market research provides exclusive, quality insights directly from your target audience. 

If you've been in the marketing or advertising industry for a while, you know many questions are asked before launching a campaign.

  • Will the ad copy and design resonate with our buyers?
  • What advertising channels should we utilize?
  • Does the ad draw people's attention?
  • Will the ad be memorable?

Sure, you can make assumptions based on past campaigns, but concept testing with surveys eliminates any guesswork. It promotes data-driven decision-making so you know you are investing in the right messaging.

The takeaway: Ad concept testing with surveys gathers important data on how well the public response will be. Before you spend all that money on your campaign, consider the potential impact a poor ad could have on your brand. 

Six benefits of survey concept testing

1. Increased ROI

What better way to predict the return on investment of a marketing campaign than directly asking target consumers if the advertising concept would drive them to make a purchase?

A/B testing alternative

Ad concept testing is similar to A/B testing. Essentially, marketers launch two advertisements with a slight difference. For instance, ad A is pink and ad B is blue. After a short time in the field, marketers analyze which resulted in more clicks, form fills, purchases, etc.

Questions to ask yourself:

  • How can marketers know if the pink or blue ads are the best possible concepts?
  • What if they conducted a survey and saw that the same ad but in green resonated more with their audience?

Even if your advertising campaigns result in three or four times your investment, conducting concept testing with surveys could be improved by 10 times your investment.

2. Surveys are a low-cost choice 

Online surveys are a cost-effective market research methodology because they are often administered via e-mail, market research panels or social media advertisements and there are fewer necessary costs compared to focus groups. Focus groups, while beneficial for concept testing, can be out of some brands' budget. They require qualitative recruiting services, a focus group facility rental, a trained moderator and higher incentives for participants.

On the contrary, ad concept testing surveys are simple in design yet still full of value. The only costs of outsourcing online surveys are related to design, programming, fielding and analyzing.

3. Target audience feedback

Oftentimes advertising and marketing concepts are presented to a team of internal stakeholders before launch. Feedback gathered from the presentation is used to make edits and adjustments to the messaging or design. While this is customary practice, brands must include an additional step before spending their budget on these concepts. You guessed it, concept testing with online surveys. The stakeholders reviewing these ads likely do not match your target demographic – and even if they do, they are too close to your organization to provide unbiased opinions. Ad concept testing surveys rely on insights collected from people who match your buyer personas. Your target audience's likes, dislikes and recommendations will prove to be more influential than internal leadership teams.

4. Gaining valuable insight

In addition to ad concept testing surveys being cost-effective, they also provide businesses with quick, actionable insights. A benefit includes short waiting periods before the launch of marketing campaigns. Quick, actionable insights allow you to start earning a return on your investment in as little as days.

5. Stay up to date on trends 

If there is one thing consistent about consumer trends, it's that they are always changing. How's that for an oxymoron? Especially with the impact of COVID-19, it is now more important than ever for brands to measure shifts in consumer behavior. Concept testing can include questions that identify these changing trends so your marketing and advertising copy stays relevant and competitive.

6. Understand how your target audience will act 

The goal of many marketing initiatives is to push people to act. Perhaps this is a form fill for an e-book or making an online purchase. Regardless of your objectives, concept testing with surveys can identify factors that drive your audience to take an intended action. 

Online surveys reveal key performance indicators of the ad concepts such as:

  • What is the likelihood of purchasing the featured products/services?
  • What are the perceived strengths of the products/services?
  • What are the perceived weaknesses of the products/services?
  • How much would you be willing to spend on the product/service?

This insight can also help create customer segments for specific demographics that are most interested and likely to convert to a sale.

Key takeaway: While testing an ad concept with market research is like A/B testing, the key difference is that concept testing gets down to the core of what will make an ad successful.