Advertisement Copy Testing

Almost every firm spends thousands of rupees on advertising every year; it is very much pertinent to know the effectiveness of the advertisement copy. The main purpose of every advertising is to arouse the interests of the people in the firm‟s product can everyone be perused by the same advertisement? Or will the same advertisement satisfy all types of people? The simple answer is in negative because people differ so greatly in their wants, in the economic and other motives which actuate them, and in the various ways by which their interest is aroused. It is why some advertisements are more effective than others. The amount is spent on advertising not only because the advertisement does not get to the right people but because it carries an appeal which does not interest those to whom it goes. An often quoted remark about advertisement is that half the money spent on advertising is wasted; but no one knows which half.

For this purpose, advertising copy research is done to see how will an advertisement succeeds in attracting the attention and stimulating the desire and action of the people for whom it is made and how will it delivers the intended message about a product or an idea. Advertisement copy is done to be sure of its effectiveness.

Advertisement copy testing is a tool involving a procedure where the effectiveness of an advertisement is measured before it appears in its final form, during and after its exposure to the audience to determine whether and to what extent, it has accomplished its assigned task. In this way, the advertisement copy testing is a method used to control the effectiveness of future advertising. It addresses the following questions;

  • Will a proposed copy theme be effective at achieving advertising objectives?
  • Does the set of advertising’s that makes up an advertising campaign create the Desired interest level and image? And
  • Will an individual advertisement attract the attention of the audience?

Types of Advertisement Copy Tests

The various methods of advertisement copy testing are;

  1. Pre-test methods
  2. Post-test methods
  3. Concurrent methods

1. Pre-Test Methods

Pre-test method refers to testing the potentiality of a message or copy before printing or broadcasting. It is useful because the concepts in advertising may appear to be simple and effective to the advertiser or advertising to be simple and effective to the advertiser or advertising agency. It may be difficult from the layman’s point of view. All the elements in the advertising copy requires careful pre-testing to see that the matter it intends to be conveyed has been really conveyed, “prevention is better than cure”. Pre-testing methods are adopted on this basis. The following are some of the pre-testing methods.

  1. Checklist Method: The copywriters use checklist method to test the effectiveness of advertising copy. The purpose of this method is to ensure that all elements of the advertising copy are included with due importance in the advertisement. As it is a pretest method omissions can be included in the copy before release of the advertisement. A checklist is a list of good qualities to be possessed by an effective advertisement. The researcher has to compare the advertisement with the checklist and tick the items present in the advertisement copy. Accordingly a copywriter can draw specific conclusions and make suitable changes in the advertising copy.
  2. Consumer Jury method: This method essentially involves the exposure of alternative advertisements to a sample of jury; of prospects and the securing of their opinion and reactions to the advertisements. This test is designed to learn from a typical group of prospective customers gathered in one place or a sample of prospects that are independently, visited by interviewers or contacted by mail their preference for one advertisement over the other or for several advertisements out of a group. Advertisements which are unpublished are mocked up on a separate sheet and these are presented before the consumer jury either in personal interviews or group interviews.
  3. Sales Area Test: Under this method advertising campaign is run in the markets selected for testing purposes. The impact of the campaign is evaluated by actual sales in the selected markets. The market with high sales is considered the best market for effective sales campaign. In other markets suitable changes are made in the advertising campaign.
  4. Questionnaire Method: It is a list of questions related to an experiment. It contains questions and provides space for answers. The draft of an advertisement along with some relevant questions is to be sent to a group of target consumers or advertising experts. Their opinions are collected and analyzed to find out whether the proposed advertisement is satisfactory or not.
  5. Recall test Method: Under this method, advertising copies are shown to a group of prospects. After few minutes they are asked to recall and reproduce them. This method is used to find out how far the advertisements are impressive.
  6. Reaction test: The potential effect of an advertisement is judged with the help of certain instruments, which measure heartbeats, blood pressure, pupil dilution etc. Their reactions reveal the psychological or nervous effects of advertising.
  7. Readability test: All the listeners of advertisements cannot read it equally. So respondents are drawn from different socio-economic and geographical backgrounds. This method is used to find out the level of effectiveness when and advertisement is read.
  8. Eye movement test: The movements of eyes of the respondents are recorded by using eye observation camera when advertisements are shown to them in a screen. This helps to find out the attention value of advertisement.

2. Post-Test Techniques

The following are the post-test techniques for measuring the effectiveness of the advertisements;

(1) Recognition Test – It determines the readership of the advertisement in the newspapers and journals. This test is conducted by personal interviews with readers, and magazines or newspapers. The interviewers locate the readers of the particular issue of the magazine in question. They, then, go through the magazine page by page with the respondent indicating those advertising elements which he or she recognize as having read. The data collected by this test indicate the proportion of qualified readership of a publication who claims to have “seen”, “read some” or “read” most of the elements of the individual advertisement. These measurements may also seek to obtain quantitative data regarding the parts of an advertisement which were seen or heard.

(2) Recall or Impact Test – The recognition test measures the stopping power of the advertising but goes not tell us what the readers understood or retained of the advertisement. The recall test is designed to measure the impression of readers or viewers of the advertisement. If a reader has a favorable impression of the advertisement, he will certainly retain something of the advertisement. The measures of interest would be obtained by interviewing the readers or viewers or listeners, days after the advertisement or commercial is appeared in the newspaper, or on T.V. Interviewer asks the questions from the readers / viewers and in response to the question asked, the reader reveals the accuracy and depth of his impression by his answers.

(3) Psychological Analysis – The whole process of advertising is psychological in character. It is therefore, natural to apply some psychological tests to measure the effectiveness of the advertising. Four psychological testing techniques are most commonly used –

  • Tests of Readability and Comprehension: It this technique, by means of a series of penetrating questions and by other techniques developed by psychologists, the ease of readability and comprehension is determined, in advance of publication. It is determined by the interviewer under this method whether and to what extent the readers have gone through the advertisement.
  • Tests of Believability: An advertisement message effectiveness can be measured by the degree of credibility the readers have in the product. A scale technique is generally employed to measure the credibility by putting several statements or product claims before. the consumers and are created by them. The statement or product Claims gets the highest priority votes may be taken as the most effective statement or claim.
  • Attitude Tests: A number of attitude tests are developed by the psychologists who can be applied to copy testing. Typical consumers are exposed to sample advertising messages, either printed or oral. The interviewer then asks series of penetrating questions, to determine the attitude produced by these various message. Psychological reactions such as age, involvement, the eye of person who would use the product and the personality of the product reflected by the advertisement being tested, are obtained. The researcher looks especially for elements in the advertising which arouse psychological hostility.
  • Triple Hostility Tests : These ties in advertising with recall by seeking to learn the extent of the consumer association with the product, the brand name and copy theme. The test is useful only when the advertising features a specific theme or slogan, which the reader may remember. This procedure is sometimes known as theme penetration.

3. Concurrent Methods

Under this method, tests are conducted while the consumers are exposed to different types of media. For instance, a magazine reader may be observed while reading the magazine, which carries an advertisement. The concurrent methods are;

  • Consumer diaries: Under this method, diaries are supplied to a few selected customers. They are also informed to record the details of advertisements they listen or read. The diaries are collected periodically. The result obtained from such a survey reveals the effectiveness of advertisement.
  • Co-incidental surveys: This method is also called as co-incidental telephone method. Under this method, samples of customers are selected and calls are made at the time of broadcast of the advertisement programme. The data obtained and analyzed will give a picture about the effectiveness of an advertisement.
  • Electronic devices: Now day’s electronic devices are widely used to measure the effectiveness of an advertisement. They are mainly used in broadcast media. These are auto meters, track electronic units etc.

The following methods are also used to measure the impact of advertisement on the sales volume.

  1. Historical method: Under this method, recorded facts related to sales before and after advertisements are compared. If an advertisement is followed with more sales, advertisement is considered to be more effective.
  2. Experimental method: Under this method, the entire sales territory is divided into three or four sub-areas. The advertiser spent different amount for advertising in different areas. Then collects facts regarding sales from these sub-areas The result is used to measure the effectiveness of advertisement in boosting sales. Following the result obtained, the advertiser prepares his advertising budget for future action.

An advertiser has to adopt some follow up measures to increase the effectiveness of advertisement. For this consumers may be contacted through direct mail after the advertisement is placed.

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