How to perform advertising research to measure campaign impact

Effective advertising campaigns can improve the perception of your brand, increase sales, and attract new customers.

Find out if your target audience is receiving the right message. Avoid spending money on ineffective advertising. Or, ensure the effectiveness of your ad campaigns—all with advertising research

Let’s review what advertising research is, how and when to conduct it, and analyze its impact on your brand.

What is advertising research?

Advertising research is a type of market research concentrated on the performance of ad campaigns. It is used to identify what ads will be the most effective before an ad campaign, monitor brand health while it’s running, and analyze the success of a campaign after it is finished.

Goals of advertising research

The overarching goal of advertising research is to increase your understanding of your customers, so that you can provide ads that show how and why your product best meets their needs. This type of research can also help you determine the effectiveness of your ad campaigns and help you increase the cost-effectiveness of launching those campaigns. The most common reason companies do advertising research is to find out if the advertising they do is meeting company objectives.

Advantages of advertising research

Advertising research yields benefits throughout the campaign development process across three main stages: pre-launch, in-light, and post-campaign.

Pre-launch: developing your ad campaign

Pre-campaign advertising research includes in-depth research of your target audience, concept and theme testing, message testing, copy, and creative testing, and more. All of the research before the campaign launch is dedicated to getting to know the target market better and determining what advertising will have the most impact. A great deal of your data will come from market research surveys.

The stages of development included in pre-campaign advertising research are:

  • Explore
    • Developing a deep understanding of your target audience
  • Plan
  • Develop
    • Testing your campaign concepts

Know and understand your target market

Before even considering the creative aspects of your ad campaign, it is important to know who your target audience is and the different segments it contains. This allows you to create general ads for your entire audience and targeted ads tailored to your segments.

Market segmentation

Divide your target market into groups based on common characteristics that make sense for your advertising campaign. Collect demographic information to build accurate buyer personas. These personas will identify to your team what market segment they are targeting with their advertising messages. 

Common market segmentation examples include demographic, psychographic, behavioral, and geographic segments. Your segmentation will depend on your brand, product, and goals.

Usage & attitudes

Look deeper into your target market segments with usage and attitudes surveys. Find out who is buying your product, where and how often they purchase it, how they use your product, attitudes toward your brand, and other in-depth insights into your target market. Your approach may be one of understanding your product category shoppers, market sizing, brand insights,  customer segmentation, or a combination of these.

Use the collected data to further understand your market segments and their shopping habits and identify needs that can be addressed in your advertising.

Drivers & barriers

An examination of drivers and barriers reveals what consumers perceive as advantages and identifies barriers to purchase. For example, you may find that a key driver for a chocolate purchase is taste, and a barrier to purchase is unattractive packaging.

This information can be quantitative and qualitative survey questionnaires.

Determine campaign objectives

Now that you have a thorough understanding of your target market and its segments. It’s time to start planning your campaign. The first step is to determine your campaign objectives. Set a specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time-bound goal.

To help you set your objectives, take the time to assess your brand before your campaign begins.

Measuring brand health pre-campaign

To determine the current status of your brand health, you’ll need to measure:

  • Brand positioning
  • Brand awareness
  • Brand consideration and purchase intent
  • Brand loyalty
  • Brand attributes
  • Brand reputation
  • Brand perception

All of these factors yield metrics that, together, provide you with a picture of your brand’s overall performance before the campaign begins. The Brand Tracker market research solution offered by SurveyMonkey collects all of this data and makes it easy to analyze your brand health.

Test your campaign ideas

Test your messaging and creative with a sample of your target audience before you launch so you’ll know what works for your target customer segments. This allows you to make revisions and adjustments before launch for the best possible results.

Early-stage idea screening

Present your early-stage ideas to a sample audience to gather data on their reactions. Find out if the theme and creative you have in mind appeal to a representative sample of your customer segments before investing in fleshing out the full campaign. 

Message testing

Does your message resonate with your target audience? Are your claims believable? Find out with messaging and claims analysis and update the campaign as needed before launch.

Ad testing

Once you’ve determined that your message and creative are on-target, you can move forward with confidence as you create your advertising campaign. 

Once the campaign is ready, put it in front of your target audience again with our Ad Creative Analysis for fast, accurate feedback that you can use for your final creative and messaging decisions.

More types of creative testing provided by SurveyMonkey:

In-flight: optimizing your campaign

Congratulations! You’ve launched your campaign. It’s time for more research, but this time it’s geared toward monitoring your campaign’s performance while it’s in flight.

Conducting in-market ad testing

You’ll likely have more than one version of your campaign running. Conduct tests to see which one performs better with your target audience.

A/B testing

This is also known as split testing or bucket testing. A/B testing is a method of comparing two advertisements against each other to see which one performs better. Data analysis will determine which variation performs better for sales conversions.

Monitoring brand health

You have a baseline look at the brand you created before launching your campaign. Now, you should monitor your brand's health to see if it’s affected by your advertising.

Monitor social media channels for @ mentions of your brand, and track what is being said. You can also watch for hashtags that mention your brand name or product name. Social listening tools can help you collect data from all channels in one location.

Brand health tracking

Our Brand Tracker will help you spot trends and monitor metrics related to brand health. Your dedicated dashboard makes it easy to understand the impact of your ad campaign.

New product awareness

If your advertising campaign is for a new product, are your customers aware of it? Measure with the Brand Tracker to find out whether awareness of your product is rising as your campaign runs.

Testing new ad variants

Ads not performing as you’ve predicted? Run some research on variants of the current creative and messaging. Use our Ad Creative Analysis tool for more A/B testing.

Post-campaign: performing advertising research to measure campaign impact

Was the campaign successful? It’s time to research your campaign’s impact.

Metrics to consider

There is no exact way to measure the effectiveness of an advertising campaign. Still, there are several metrics that will help you determine whether your ads are achieving their purpose.

Behavioral campaign metrics:

What did your target segments do in response to your advertising campaign? Find out with these metrics.

Impressions

The impressions metric indicates the number of times the ad is displayed or shown. This shouldn’t be confused with the number of viewers that have seen the ad. This metric should be readily available from the platform you’ve posted your advertisement to—Google, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

Share of voice

The share of voice metric allows you to compare brand awareness on various platforms against your competitors. This is a good gauge of your brand’s visibility. 

Reach

Reach indicates the total number of people who have seen your advertisement. This is similar to the number of unique visitors to your website. Reach is the total number of unique viewers for your ad. 

Engagement

Depending upon where your ad is being shown, engagement metrics can include clicks, likes, comments, and shares. Basically, whenever a viewer takes an action on your ad.

Conversions

A conversion metric is whenever someone who views your ad takes the desired action that usually moves them forward in the customer journey toward a sale. Examples of conversions include clicking an ad and making a purchase, requesting information, providing their email address, signing up for a newsletter, or completing a form.

Conversion rate = total number of conversions / total ad interactions

Cost per acquisition

The cost per acquisition (CPA) metric indicates how much it costs to get one customer to take an action that leads to a conversion. It is used in pay-per-click (PPC) ads, affiliate marketing, display advertising, social media advertising, and content marketing.

CPA = total advertising cost / total number of conversions

Reducing your CPA increases your return on investment (ROI). 

Survey-based campaign metrics

Some metrics require you to conduct surveys to acquire the necessary information.

Purchase intent

The purchase intent metric will provide an estimate of whether and how much your customers intend to purchase in the immediate future. Your advertising should positively affect purchase intent—measure purchase intent metrics with post-campaign ad testing surveys.

Brand awareness

While you’re measuring purchase intent, check out brand awareness. This is the degree of customer recognition of a brand by its name alone. This should increase after a successful ad campaign.

Brand association

Brand association is a person’s mental connection between a brand and a quality or concept. For example, most consumers associate the Nike brand with athletic performance.

Brand lift

Brand lift is a summary of the positive effects your brand has experienced since launching the ad campaign. Organic search traffic and surveys to obtain direct customer feedback both factor in evaluating brand lift.

Start your advertising research today

Don’t start an advertising campaign without doing your research first! Successful brands use research before, during, and after advertising campaigns to ensure positive performance. 

SurveyMonkey offers ad testing solutions for real-time results that confirm your ad effectiveness. We also provide a variety of other market research services. Take a look and get started on your successful, research-backed advertising today!

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