Insights Article

The importance of advertising research
15th September 2019

The importance of advertising research

When thinking about memorable adverts, we often think of those amusing or beautiful ads which are shared on social media and get millions of views on YouTube. Unfortunately, not every advertising campaign can win Cannes Lions or go viral, but that doesn’t mean that it cannot be successful in other ways.

The most effective way to make sure your advert is successful and that you get the best return on investment, is to pre-test your creative before you launch it.

In his timeless book ‘On Advertising’, which is still considered to be an advertising bible, D. Ogilvy highlights the importance of research for creating a good advertisement.

“Advertisers who ignore research are as dangerous as generals who ignore the signs of the enemy.”

While the book refers to the initial consumer research such as segmentation, pre-testing is another important stage of learning what your audience likes, and it helps you to optimise your advert before investing your marketing budget.

So why is advertising research so important?

  1. The cost of advertising can be high, and you don’t want to waste your money on a creative that won’t attract engagement. Ad testing is an inexpensive and efficient way to find out if you should invest in a particular creative or a concept, or whether you still need to tweak it to have more of an impact.
  2. If you have tailored your creative to a specific audience, the ad testing then allows you to analyse feedback from your desirable segments and test your creatives or concepts against them specifically.
  3. The number of advertising channels and platforms are growing fast, and you really need to understand how to optimise your creative based on the audience requirements for each channel.

At the end of the day, there are loads of best practice guides available for each type of creative. However, to really see how well your creative works across each channel and for your specific audience, you should pre-test your creative concepts. This is where a market research agency, such as Clusters, can help.

How does pre-testing work?

To find out how people feel about your creatives or creative concepts, you need to look at a combination of advertising appeal and memory. Both of these metrics need to work together. You don’t want to end up with something that generates short term interest, but isn’t memorable, or a campaign that is memorable, but generates negative comments or misunderstandings.

Let’s look at these two pre-test metrics in more detail.

Advertising appeal

  • Enjoyment and understanding. Does the creative spark joy from your audience? Do they understand the message?
  • Relevance. Can your audience relate to the messages in your ad?
  • Credibility. Do people believe the claims that the creative is making?

Advertising communication

  • Differentiation. Is your creative any different from the sheer volume of advertising seen every day?
  • Branding. Do people remember your brand after seeing the ad, or do they remember your biggest competitor?
  • Communication. What does your ad say to your audience about your brand?

Using a combination of these metrics will give you a clearer idea of how to improve the performance of your ad campaign and get the best return on investment.

Here at Clusters we specialise in ad testing and ad tracking. If you’d like to learn more about these services, please drop us an email at

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