Advertising research - everything to know before starting a campaign or ad strategy

Ewa Sulewska
December 15, 2023

The marketing world is highly competitive. Agencies, freelancers and companies are in a neck-and-neck race to design campaigns that resonate with their audience needs. The key element in achieving this goal is an extensive research that needs to be conducted before your team begins their work. The advertising research process relies on tracking and analyzing market trends, A/B testing, evaluation of previous campaigns and more. This approach guarantees that your advertising budget is spent wisely and will maximize the chances of success.

The Crucial Role of Advertising Research

Advertising campaigns, the essence of the entire marketing realm, thrives on in-deep research. Understanding the nuances of consumer behavior, preferences, and responses to ads is crucial in this business. This is why advertising research forms  a solid base on which professional media planners build the most effective strategies.  

In the digital era, full of rapid choices and cheap entertainment, advertising research has become the guiding light that brightens the path towards engagement and conversion. It’s no longer about promoting of your product and services; it’s about creating an experience that profoundly resonates deeply with your customer. 

Best Practices in Advertising Research

First of all, let’s divide this process into two parts: pre-testing and post-testing. The role of pre-testing is to determine an ad’s effectiveness based on consumer feedback and behavior. Of course, in this part of research, it’s important to know your game and to pick your target audience very carefully. 

Post-testing focuses on examination of effectiveness. You can conduct it after the last ad stops rolling or during the campaign. Many marketers skip that part, but it’s truly important for future strategy and of course for the report you’ll have to prepare for your team or client.

Tracking Market Trends

Research in marketing should be constant. Keep an eye on the market trends, follow your competition and business gurus profiles. These are the best ways to identify emerging market segments, notice shifts of consumer preferences and gain insights how can you benefit from the fresh solutions. By getting this info, you can create ads to match your customers’ testes, ensuring your advertising strategy remain relevant.

Evaluating Previous Campaigns 

Before you even start thinking about a new strategy or campaign, take a moment to review your previous advertisements. Analyze its strengths and weaknesses, focusing on main metrics like reach, engagement, conversion and brand awareness, as well ass any other factors that were important at that time. If you can - compare your work with the competition to establish conclusions from your campaign.

Target Audience Analysis

To understand who you are targeting with your message is one of the most significant parts of advertising research. The key is to decide who you are talking to, so consider aspects like age, gender, place of living, as well as behavioral factors such as shopping habits and interests. Figuring out the target group allows you to create buyer personas. This marketing tool is helpful not only for meeting the needs of potential customers but also choosing the right channels to communicate with them. 

Testing the Right Message

When your ad is ready to conquer the world, it would be best to test it first. In many cases, the design passes through so many hands (and eyes) that it should be safe to go. Unfortunately, sometimes it may happen that the team spends so much time on it that they stop paying attention to certain essential aspects that a fresh eye will notice. This is a great moment to test your design.

To do so, don’t rely on friends or family; instead, just go with the flow of technology. Try eye tracking - it’s an easy way of verifying the advertisement's effectiveness. With tools like Real Eye, you’ll be able to spend your budget in the most proficient way, and show just the finest version of the final creation to the right audience.

Measuring Advertising Effectiveness 

Measuring campaign effectiveness is about getting a grip on how your ads are performing. By tracking impressions, clicks, conversions, and sales, advertisers can see how their ads are resonating with their audience and whether they're hitting their goals. With this intel, you can make smart, strategic moves to optimize future campaigns and drive results. It's like a data-driven roadmap to ad’s success!

There are a few ways of conducting post-testing research and the choice which one should you use is strictly dependent of the type of the campaign, its goal, and your budget. 

In digital campaigns, the most crucial factors might be CPM, CPC, reach, or conversion rate. But if you are planning to perform a huge campaign for your brand that, let’s say, has to convince customers to purchase the new product, it’s much more tricky. You can conduct a recognition test, that pushes users to identify several pieces of the campaign, or prepare a recall test. The recall test aims to check how well people remember the brand, product, or any other part of the ad after it is finished. 

Maximize Your Out-of-Home Impact

While there's a notion that billboards are on the decline, advertisers are actively proving otherwise. The advertising landscape is witnessing an evolution of out-of-home (OOH) strategies, embracing innovations like interactive lenticular printing and dynamic citylights.

OOH is far from outdated—it's adapting into a more engaging platform for advertisers. Crafting a top-tier OOH campaign that resonates and delivers ROI involves leveraging advanced methodologies.

One potent method? Conducting an A/B test using eye-tracking tools like RealEye. These tools dissect design elements—colors, fonts, imagery—offering a deep understanding of viewer engagement. It's not just about catching attention; it's about what truly holds focus.

Analyzing eye-tracking data unveils the gems: the sections of billboards that sustain viewer attention (want to learn more? - check out our study This insight is the key to refining content for maximum impact on the audience. This tool allows you to track if your design elements truly grab attention as anticipated. Just upload multiple ad designs to receive practical, data-powered insights from the eye-tracking system, often delivered by the next working day.

Unlocking the Power of Research in Video Advertising

All right, but can I run an eye tracking test in video ads, you may ask. Yes you can, and when you do, you may also want to check other Real Eyes’ features: facial coding. It provides valuable insights into how engaged viewers are with the ad, and which aspects of the video are resonating with them. Pretty cool, huh?

Facial coding is the technique of measuring viewers’ reactions through facial expressions. Using a basic webcam, the algorithm can detect human emotions by examining the facial features like eyebrows, eyes, and mouth. Next it’s interpreting them into human emotions such as joy, sadness, fear, disgust, and more. By using facial coding in your research, you can track and develop a more effective video strategy for your brand. 

If you feel the need to learn more about facial coding, check this case study: 

The Overview

Today, when user engagement and attention are so important, proper market research before starting to work on a new campaign is a must have. To keep up means to use all the resources the new tech gives us, so don’t hesitate to try them all! For example, in Real Eye, we give you a free trial to test our tools, and it’s a great chance to use them in your next advertisement. 

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