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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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.